The organisers of the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults are inviting expressions of interest from members and followers of the children’s literature community who would like to be considered as judges of the 2022 awards.
The New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults are made in six categories: Picture Book, Junior Fiction, Young Adult Fiction, Non-Fiction, Illustration and te reo Māori (Te Kura Pounamu Award). A total of five judges will be appointed for the English language categories. Te Kura Pounamu Award 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.
Applications to judge are now open to all those with suitable qualifications and experience, and will close on 29 October. Entries for the 2022 awards will open on 17 November and the judges will begin their reading in mid-December.
Anne Morgan of the New Zealand Book Awards Trust, which governs the awards, says applications are welcomed from both the children’s literature community and members of the public with relevant experience. The organisers particularly welcome expressions of interest from applicants with a deep knowledge of te ao Māori and te reo Māori.
“Our past panels have included librarians, teachers, authors, publishers, academics, reviewers and bloggers. There’s no denying the magnitude of the commitment, but the reward outweighs it – what could be more satisfying than immersing yourself in assessing the best New Zealand books of the year for young readers and celebrating the importance of books and reading?” she says.
Convenor of the 2021 judges, school librarian Alan Dingley, says it was an amazing experience. “Being able to spend a year involved in reading, judging, and collaborating with some of the sharpest minds connected to children’s literature refreshed my passion for books, and honed my radar for what I want to share with young readers. This was no quiet amble across the New Zealand literacy field, it was a joyous gallop through the pages of over 150 books, leaving me looking at the landscape of books for children and young people in Aotearoa with new eyes … and gosh it's looking good.”
The English language judges will deliberate over what is expected to be at least 150 entries in five categories. 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 2022 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults will go out to publishers on 17 November 2021. Finalists will be announced in early June 2022, and the awards ceremony is planned for early to mid-August in Wellington.
Expressions of interest forms and background information on the judging process and judges’ responsibilities can be downloaded below or supplied on request by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications must be submitted by 5pm on Friday 29 October, 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 includes representatives from the Publishers Association of New Zealand; the New Zealand Society of Authors; LIANZA, the association for library and information professionals in New Zealand; and Booksellers Aotearoa New Zealand.
The New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults are made possible through the generosity, commitment and vision of funders and sponsors Creative New Zealand, HELL Pizza, Wright Family Foundation, LIANZA, Wellington City Council and Nielsen Book.