2017 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards judges announced

The 2017 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards will be judged by 12 eminent academics, writers, journalists, librarians, curators, commentators and booksellers from around New Zealand, it is announced today.

For the first time, an international judge has also been invited to take a seat at the fiction ‘table,’ assisting the local judges of the Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize and taking the total number of judges to 13. The name of the international judge will be revealed early next year.

There are four Awards categories: The Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize, Poetry, General Non-Fiction and Illustrated Non-Fiction. The judges will also award a Best First Book Award in each category. A Māori language adviser will judge the Māori Language Award.

The judges will announce their longlist on November 22, 2016, and their shortlist on March 07 2017.

New Zealand Book Awards Trust chairwoman Nicola Legat says “the experience and range of our 13 judges is superb, and we look forward to their longlist decisions.”

The $50,000 Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize will be judged by the yet-to-be-named international judge; former Director of the Auckland Writers Festival and Creative New Zealand literature adviser Jill Rawnsley; highly-regarded bookseller from UBS Otago Bronwyn Wylie-Gibb; and esteemed writer and co-founder of the Auckland Writers Festival Peter Wells.

The Poetry Prize will be judged by eminent Wellington poet and Professor at Victoria University Harry Ricketts; Chicago-born poet and 2016 Writer in Residence at The University of Waikato Steven Toussaint; and poet, playwright and fiction writer Vivienne Plumb.

The General Non-Fiction Prize will be judged by Metro books editor and former bookseller Susanna Andrew; writer and academic Professor Tom Brooking of the University of Otago; and Wellington writer, commentator and trade unionist Morgan Godfery.

The Illustrated Non-Fiction Prize will be judged by writer, historian and Curator Mäori at the Alexander Turnbull Library Paul Diamond; Associate Professor and Director of the Centre for Art Studies at the University of Auckland Linda Tyler; and Bronwyn Labrum, Head of New Zealand and Pacific Cultures at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and 2016 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards finalist for Real Modern.

“Judging these prestigious and significant awards is a major commitment,” says Nicola Legat. “We are hugely appreciative of the time and expertise these busy people bring to the judging process. We look forward to their longlist, shortlist and winner selections being announced.”

The winners will be announced on May 16 2017, at the opening night event of the Auckland Writers Festival.

Entries to the 2017 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards can be made via Books published between 1 January 2016 and 31 December 2016 are eligible for entry.