About the Awards
Established in 1968, in their current format the annual Ockham New Zealand Book Awards offer five principal prizes: the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction, the Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry, the Illustrated Non-Fiction Award, the General Non-Fiction Award and Te Mūrau o te Tuhi Māori Language Award for books written entirely in te reo Māori, awarded at the discretion of a specially appointed judge. There are also four Best First Book awards, supported by MitoQ.
Winners of the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction receive a minimum of $55,000. Winners of the other principal category awards each receive $10,000, and each of the winners of the four MitoQ Best First Book awards, $2,500.
Panels of three judges each are selected to judge each of the subject categories.
A longlist of up to 40 titles is announced in late January, and a shortlist is released in early March. The awards ceremony is held as part of the Auckland Writers Festival in May each year. In 2020 the winners were announced in a virtual presentation, due to the cancellation of the Festival as a result of the COVID-19 situation.