Announcing the 2023 Ockham NZ Book Awards Judges

Distinguished academics, historians and curators, together with acclaimed writers and journalists, are among the 12 experts selected to judge the 2023 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.

The $62,000 Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction will be judged by bestselling author, critic and creative writing teacher Stephanie Johnson (convenor); editor and literature assessor John Huria (Ngāi Tahu, Muaūpoko, Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō, Ngāti Rangi); and Rotorua bookseller Jemma Morrison. They will be joined in deciding the ultimate winner from their shortlist of four by an international judge.

Judging the Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry will be Dunedin poet, author and creative writing tutor Diane Brown (convenor); poet and kaiako Serie Barford;and Wellington poet and Grimshaw-Sargeson Fellow Gregory Kan.

The General Non-Fiction Award will be judged by writer and award-winning columnist Anna Rawhiti-Connell (convenor); prize-winning author, academic and researcher Alison Jones; and historian Professor Te Maire Tau (Ūpoko of Ngāi Tūāhuriri, a hapu of Ngāi Tahu).

The Booksellers Aotearoa New Zealand Award for Illustrated Non-Fiction will be judged by award-winning writer, historian and archivist Jared Davidson (convenor); writer and curator Dr Anna-Marie White (Te Ātiawa); and veteran television producer Taualeo’o Stephen Stehlin MNZM.

New Zealand Book Awards Trust Te Ohu Tiaki i Te Rau Hiringa chair Nicola Legat says judging Aotearoa’s best books demands debate and full consideration by informed and avid readers with diversities of experience.

“This year’s stellar group of judges, each with their own expertise and point of view, seeks to honour this wero.”

The New Zealand Book Awards Trust is now inviting entries for the 2023 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. Online entries for titles published between 1 September 2022 and 31 December 2022 opened on Wednesday 14 September and close 5pm on Wednesday 26 October 2022. Submissions for titles published between 1 January and 31 August 2022 have closed.

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

The judges will advise their longlists in each category on 2 February 2023 and the shortlist of 16 books will be announced on 8 March. The finalists and winners will be celebrated mid-May 2023 at an awards event held at the Auckland Writers Festival.

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