Announcing the 2022 Ockham NZ Book Awards Judges

Internationally acclaimed authors, long-time reviewers, award-winning photographers and a respected former publisher are among the 12 experts selected to judge the 2022 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.

The $60,000 Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction will be judged by Otago Daily Times journalist and books editor Rob Kidd; Booksellers Aotearoa’s programme coordinator and avid reader Gemma Browne; and award-winning writer and freelance oral historian/researcher Kelly Ana Morey (Ngāti Kurī, Te Rarawa, Te Aupōuri). They will be joined by an international writer in deciding the ultimate winner from their shortlist of four.

Judging the Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry will be author, poet, reviewer and teacher Saradha Koirala; internationally published and award-winning poet, playwright, short story writer and novelist Apirana Taylor (Te Whānau ā Apanui, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Ruanui, Te Āti Awa); and writer, editor and bookseller Jane Arthur.

The General Non-Fiction Award will be judged by poet and non-fiction author, book reviewer and blogger Nicholas Reid, award-winning journalist and photographer Aaron Smale (Ngāti Porou); and poet, historian, former diplomat and Fulbright alumna Leilani Tamu.

The Booksellers Aotearoa New Zealand Award for Illustrated Non-Fiction will be judged by museum curator Chanel Clarke (Ngāpuhi, Te Rarawa, Ngāti Porou, Waikato Tainui); photographer, author and urbanist Patrick Reynolds; and former publisher and co-founder of Godwit Press Jane Connor.

New Zealand Book Awards Trust trustee Paula Morris notes that this year’s panels were drawn, in part, from the first-ever open call for judges.

“Our books deserve consideration by informed and avid readers,” she says. “This stellar group of judges include a diversity of experience, expertise, location and point of view.”

The New Zealand Book Awards Trust is now inviting entries for the 2022 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards for titles with release dates between 1 January 2021 and 31 December 2021.

Submissions for titles published between 1 January 2021 and 31 August 2021 are now open and will close 5pm on Tuesday 14 September 2021. Online entries for titles published between 1 September 2021 and 31 December 2021 open on Wednesday 15 September and close 5pm on Wednesday 27 October 2021.

Click here for eligibility criteria and a Call for Entries information pack, then enter online here.

The judges will advise their longlist of up to 10 books per category on 27 January 2022 and the 2022 shortlist of 16 books will be announced on 2 March. The winners will be celebrated at an awards event at the Auckland Writers Festival on 11 May 2022.

The Ockham New Zealand Book Awards are supported by Ockham Residential, Creative New Zealand, Jann Medlicott and the Acorn Foundation, Mary and Peter Biggs CNZM, MitoQ, Booksellers Aotearoa New Zealand and the Auckland Writers Festival.