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 Booksellers Aotearoa New Zealand Award for Illustrated Non-Fiction, 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, and takes place on Wednesday 12 May this 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.