2018 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards - longlist announced

Forty books traversing the cultural, historic, artistic and social landscape of Aotearoa New Zealand have made the longlist for the prestigious Ockham New Zealand Book Awards, announced today.

Ten books are longlisted in each of the four awards’ categories – fiction, general non-fiction, illustrated non-fiction and poetry. Together, they offer riches from both literary luminaries and our rising stars.

New Zealand Book Awards Trust chair Nicola Legat says the Awards received a large number of entries again this year and the standard was extremely high across all categories. “Clearly New Zealand publishing, and indeed our literature, is in excellent health. What to read over summer? Look no further than these 40 fine books."

The 2018 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards longlisted titles are:

Fiction (Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize):

  • The New Animals by Pip Adam (Victoria University Press)
  • The Beat of the Pendulum by Catherine Chidgey (Victoria University Press)
  • The Earth Cries Out by Bonnie Etherington (Vintage, Penguin Random House)
  • Salt Picnic by Patrick Evans (Victoria University Press)
  • Sodden Downstream by Brannavan Gnanalingam (Lawrence & Gibson)
  • Heloise by Mandy Hager (Penguin Random House)
  • Iceland by Dominic Hoey (Steele Roberts Aotearoa)
  • Baby by Annaleese Jochems (Victoria University Press)
  • Tess by Kirsten McDougall (Victoria University Press)
  • Five Strings by Apirana Taylor (Anahera Press)

General Non-Fiction (The Royal Society Te Apārangi Award):

  • Dancing with the King: The Rise and Fall of the King Country, 1864-1885 by Michael Belgrave (Auckland University Press)
  • Tāngata Ngāi Tahu: People of Ngāi Tahu edited by Helen Brown and Takerei Norton (Te Rūnanga Ngāi Tahu and Bridget Williams Books)
  • Fearless: The Extraordinary Untold Story of New Zealand’s Great War Airmen by Adam Claasen (Massey University Press)
  • Phoney Wars: New Zealand Society in the Second World War by Stevan Eldred-Grigg with Hugh Eldred-Grigg (Otago University Press)
  • The 9th Floor: Conversations with Five New Zealand Prime Ministers by Guyon Espiner and Tim Watkin (Bridget Williams Books)
  • Cleansing the Colony: Transporting Convicts from New Zealand to Van Diemen’s Land by Kristyn Harman (Otago University Press)
  • Tears of Rangi: Experiments Across Worlds by Anne Salmond (Auckland University Press)
  • Drawn Out: A Seriously Funny Memoir by Tom Scott (Allen & Unwin NZ)
  • Driving to Treblinka: A Long Search for a Lost Father by Diana Wichtel (Awa Press)
  • A Strange Beautiful Excitement: Katherine Mansfield’s Wellington 1888-1903 by Redmer Yska (Otago University Press)

Illustrated Non-Fiction:

  • New China Eyewitness: Roger Duff, Rewi Alley and the Art of Museum Diplomacy edited by James Beattie and Richard Bullen (Canterbury University Press)
  • Strangers Arrive: Emigrés and the Arts in New Zealand, 1930-1980 by Leonard Bell (Auckland University Press)
  • Good-bye Maoriland: The Songs and Sounds of New Zealand’s Great War by Chris Bourke (Auckland University Press)
  • Teenagers: The Rise of Youth Culture in New Zealand by Chris Brickell (Auckland University Press)
  • Tuai: A Traveller in Two Worlds by Alison Jones and Kuni Kaa Jenkins (Bridget Williams Books)
  • Ten x Ten: Art at Te Papa edited by Athol McCredie (Te Papa Press)
  • Undreamed of ... 50 years of the Frances Hodgkins Fellowship by Priscilla Pitts and Andrea Hotere (Otago University Press)
  • Tōtara: A Natural and Cultural History by Philip Simpson (Auckland University Press)
  • Gordon Walters: New Vision by Zara Stanhope (commissioning editor), Lucy Hammonds, Laurence Simmons, Julia Waite (Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki and Dunedin Public Art Gallery)
  • The Face of Nature: An Environmental History of the Otago Peninsula by Jonathan West (Otago University Press)


  • Flow: Whanganui River Poems by Airini Beautrais (Victoria University Press)
  • Anchor Stone by Tony Beyer (Cold Hub Press)
  • The Internet of Things by Kate Camp (Victoria University Press)
  • The Ones Who Keep Quiet by David Howard (Otago University Press)
  • Tightrope by Selina Tusitala Marsh (Auckland University Press)
  • Fully Clothed and So Forgetful by Hannah Mettner (Victoria University Press)
  • Night Horse by Elizabeth Smither (Auckland University Press)
  • What is Left Behind by Tom Weston (Steele Roberts Aotearoa)
  • Rāwāhi by Briar Wood (Anahera Press)
  • The Yield by Sue Wootton (Otago University Press)

The Ockham New Zealand Book Awards shortlist will be announced on 6 March 2018. The winners (including of the four Best First Book Awards and a Māori Language Award, presented at the judges’ discretion) will be announced at a ceremony on 15 May 2018, held as the first public event of the Auckland Writers Festival. 2018 will mark the 50th anniversary of the first book awards ceremony in New Zealand, presented in 1968 as the Wattie Book Awards.

To find out more about the longlisted titles go to

The $50,000 Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize for 2018 will be judged by novelist, poet and academic Anna Smaill, journalist and reviewer Philip Matthews, and award-winning bookseller and reviewer Jenna Todd. They will be joined in deciding the ultimate winner from their shortlist of four by a high-profile international judge.

The Royal Society Te Apārangi Award for General Non-Fiction will be judged by lecturer in the Māori faculty at the Auckland University of Technology Dr Ella Henry, editor and award-winning journalist Toby Manhire, and former bookseller and publisher Philip King.

The Illustrated Non-Fiction Award will be judged by Professor of History at the University of Otago and winner of the Illustrated Non-Fiction prize in 2017 Barbara Brookes, curator Mātauranga Māori at Te Papa Matariki Williams (Tūhoe, Taranaki, Ngāti Hauiti, Ngāti Whakaue), and director of the public art gallery Objectspace Kim Paton.

The Poetry Award will be judged by poet, novelist and creative non-fiction writer Alison Wong, poet and deputy chief executive, Māori, at Manukau Institute of Technology Robert Sullivan, and Otago poet, publisher, editor and librettist Michael Harlow.