A new charitable trust has been formed to govern the prestigious New Zealand Book Awards and the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. Major changes to the timing and to refresh the format of the awards are also underway.
Announcing the formation of the New Zealand Book Awards Trust, chairperson Nicola Legat said the new legal structure would, amongst other things, allow more flexibility to apply for grants and patronage. New Zealand Post Group, which sponsored the Book Awards for Children and Young Adults for 18 years and the New Zealand Book Awards for five years, has withdrawn from its high profile sponsorship and the search for new sponsors is well underway. We thank them for their great support over the years.
The New Zealand Book Awards Trust is comprised of members from the Publishers Association of New Zealand (PANZ), the New Zealand Society of Authors (NZSA) and Booksellers New Zealand (BSNZ). Each is represented on the board by one member, with scope for the appointment of non-trade board members.
The trustees are Sam Elworthy, President of PANZ, representing PANZ; Kyle Mewburn, President of the NZSA, representing the NZSA; and Stella Chrysostomou, Manager of Page and Blackmore Booksellers, representing BSNZ. Independent members are Karen Ferns, former joint Managing Director of Random House Australia and New Zealand; businesswoman Sue Wood; and well-known publisher and journalist, Nicola Legat.
The timing of both Awards will change. The 2015 Book Awards for Children and Young Adults will be held in August. This will make way for the New Zealand Book Awards to be held in Auckland as part of the Auckland Writers Festival in May 2016.
The Trust board sees the partnership with the Auckland Writers Festival as a great opportunity for New Zealand writers — putting them where there is a huge audience of committed readers. For its part, “The Auckland Writers Festival is thrilled that the Book Awards Trust wishes to bring these prestigious awards into the festival programme,” said the Festival’s director Anne O’Brien (pictured). “It is a marquee event in New Zealand’s literary calendar, and partnering with the Trust fits perfectly with our aspiration of supporting and showcasing New Zealand writers and their work. Being able to have the winners as part of the programme over the Festival weekend means that these fine writers are being placed where readers are, and can take advantage of the Festival’s considerable — and growing — audience.”
Submissions for the 2015 Book Awards for Children and Young Adults will open on 3 November for books published between January 2014 and 31 March 2015.
One of the first tasks of the new trust board will be to appoint judges for the 2015 Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. Expressions of interest in being on the judging panel can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. You will find the digital form to apply on our website, www.bookawardstrust.org.nz.
Due to the timing change for the New Zealand Book Awards to May 2016, the period for submissions for these awards will be extended to include books published from June 2014 and until 31 December 2015. Chairperson Nicola Legat says, “To try to hold the awards next May, with only six months’ of books that would be eligible, was thought to be unfair to publishers and authors. We have made these changes as the result of a period of deep discussion and consultation, and that consultation will continue on for a while yet.“As well as changing the dates, other adjustments will be made to both sets of awards to make them relevant and fresh while retaining their inherent mana. Those further changes will be announced in the coming weeks. It’s an exciting and positive time for these awards and what is absolutely clear is how critically important they are as a way of rewarding excellence in New Zealand writing, and of encouraging New Zealanders to read New Zealand books.”