Call for judges of the 2024 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults

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 may like to be considered as judges of the 2024 awards.

Applications to judge are now open to all those with suitable qualifications and experience, and will close on 25 October.

Awards are given in six categories: Picture Book, Junior Fiction, Young Adult Fiction, Non-Fiction, Illustration and te Reo Māori. A total of five judges will be appointed for the English and bilingual categories and a further three judges will deliberate Te Kura Pounamu Award, given for books written entirely in (or translated entirely into) te reo Māori.

Applications are welcomed from both the children’s literature community and members of the public with relevant experience. Past judges have included booksellers, publishers, authors, librarians, kaiako, academics, reviewers and bloggers. The organisers encourage expressions of interest for both panels from applicants with a deep knowledge of te ao Māori and te reo Māori, fluency being essential for judges of Te Kura Pounamu award.

Nicola Legat, chair of the New Zealand Book Awards Trust Te Ohu Tiaki i Te Rau Hiringa, which governs the awards, says the task of judging these awards is undeniably a big one, but it is important and rewarding mahi. “There could be nothing more satisfying than immersing yourself in assessing the best New Zealand books of the year for rangatahi, and celebrating the importance of great writing for young people,” she says.

Nicola Daly, convenor of the 2023 judges and an academic who teaches courses in children’s literature, says that being on the judging panel offers amazing insights into the hopes and dreams of authors, illustrators, translators, and publishers for our tamariki and rangatahi. “It is a chance for extended discussions of what makes excellent children's literature; to share your thoughts and to be challenged along the way. Our panels in 2023 read and re-read all the entries, and then brought a range of perspectives to the table as we chose finalists and then winners,” she says. “It's a booklover's dream!”

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. Te reo Māori panel will also select up to five finalists (from approximately 15 entries) and a winner for Te Kura Pounamu Award. Both panels will be responsible for deciding on the Margaret Mahy Book of the Year.

Entries for the 2024 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults are due to open on 16 November and the judges will begin their reading in mid-December. They reveal their finalists in early June 2024 and the awards event will be held 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

Expression of Interest form_English

Expression of Interest form_te reo Māori

Judging panel general information (English and bilingual categories)

Judging panel general information (Te Kura Pounamu Award – te reo Māori)

Media release_te reo Māori

Applications must be submitted by 5pm on Wednesday 25 October, and should include a covering letter and a brief resume that demonstrates the applicant’s experience and therefore suitability for the judging role.

The judging panels 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 its funders and sponsors: Creative New Zealand, HELL Pizza, Wright Family Foundation, LIANZA, Wellington City Council, The New Zealand Society of Authors Te Puni Kaituhi o Aotearoa, and Nielsen Book.