Call for judges of the 2019 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults

The organisers of the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults are calling for expressions of interest from members of the children’s literature community who wish to be considered as judges of the 2019 awards.

Applications opened this week and will close on November 5. They are open to all those with suitable qualifications. A total of five judges will be appointed for the English language categories and will begin their reading in mid-December. The Wright Family Foundation 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, says the Trust welcomes expressions of interest from both the literary community and members of the public with relevant experience. “Our past judges have been authors, publishers, academics, reviewers, critics, bloggers, booksellers, teachers and librarians. Being a judge is a big job but over the years our judges have told us how rewarding they have found it. After all, what could be more important than becoming deeply involved in assessing the best New Zealand books of the year for young New Zealand readers and celebrating the importance of books and reading?”.

Jeannie Skinner, an experienced facilitator with the National Library’s Services to Schools, was the convenor of the 2018 judges and says of the experience, “As a judge, I had to read beyond my usual personal preferences and read more critically and thoughtfully. There was also the pleasure in discovering new authors and having lots of bookish conversations with my wonderful fellow judges. Please do consider sharing your enthusiasm for, and expertise in, children’s and YA literature and apply to be a judge. I thoroughly recommend the experience!”

The English language judges will deliberate over an expected 150 entries in five categories: Junior Fiction (the Wright Family Foundation Esther Glen Award), Young Adult Fiction (the Copyright Licensing NZ Award), Non-Fiction (the Elsie Locke Award), Picture Book and Illustration (the Russell Clark Award). They will select up to five finalists in each, and also up to five Best First Book finalists, then a winner in each category.

The call for entries in the 2019 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults will go out to publishers on 22 November 2018. Finalists will be announced in early June 2019, and the awards ceremony will be held in Wellington in August.

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

Judging panel general information – read this before applying

Expression of Interest form

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

The New Zealand Book Awards for Children & Young Adults are made possible through the generosity, commitment and vision of funders and sponsors Creative New Zealand, HELL Pizza, Book Tokens (NZ) Ltd, Wright Family Foundation, Copyright Licensing Limited, LIANZA, Wellington City Council, Te Papa and Nielsen Book.