Call for judges in the 2018 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults

Experts in and passionate advocates of children’s literature are being sought to judge the prestigious New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.

The call for expressions of interest in being a judge for the 2018 awards opens on 12 October and closes on October 30. A total of five judges will be appointed for the English language categories and will begin their reading in mid-December. The Te Kura Pounamu Award, for books entirely written in te reo Māori, is judged by a separate panel appointed by Te Rōpū Whakahau, the national body representing Māori within the Library and Information profession in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Nicola Legat, chair of the New Zealand Book Awards Trust, which governs the awards, said expressions of interest were welcomed from members of the public and the literary community. “In the past we’ve found our excellent judges amongst authors, publishers, academics, reviewers, critics, booksellers, librarians, and beyond. It’s a considerable undertaking, but one that offers rich rewards for those who rise to challenge, and who believe in the power and importance of books and stories written by New Zealand writers for New Zealand children,” she said.

One of the 2017 judges, Booksellers NZ communications manager and co-founder of The Sapling Sarah Forster, said of the experience, “It was a delight to discuss New Zealand’s wonderful children’s books with others from within the industry. It was also a valuable experience in terms of sharpening my critical capabilities and confidence in these. I would recommend it to anybody within the children's literature environment.”

The English language judges will deliberate over an expected 150 entries in five categories: Young Adult Fiction, Junior Fiction, Picture Book, Illustration, and Non-fiction. They will select five finalists in each, and also five Best First Book finalists, then a winner in each category.

The call to publishers to enter books for the 2018 New Zealand Book Awards for Children & Young Adults will go out on 28 November. Finalists will be announced in early June 2018 and the winners’ awards ceremony held in Wellington in August.

Expressions of interest forms and background information on the judging process and responsibilities can be downloaded below, or supplied on request by emailing

Judging panel general information – read this before applying

Expression of Interest form

Applications need to be submitted by 5pm on Monday 30 October, and should include the signed form and a brief resume demonstrating the applicant’s literary experience for the judging role. The judging panel will be selected by the New Zealand Book Awards Trust, which comprises industry stakeholder representatives.