Call for Judges for the 2025 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards

It may be one of the most rewarding reading jobs in the country: judging Aotearoa’s annual national book awards. Now, potential candidates for the role are being asked to put their hands up as the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards open the call for expressions of interest in being one of 12 judges of the 2025 awards.

Suitable judges need a deep knowledge of New Zealand literature, which is why applications are welcomed from the literature community and from members of the public with relevant experience. Writers, former publishers, editors, festival organisers, academics, curators, teachers, reviewers, critics, booksellers and librarians all have the expertise the Awards organiser, The New Zealand Book Awards Trust Te Ohu Tiaki i Te Rau Hiringa, is looking for.

The Trust particularly welcomes expressions of interest from Māori applicants.

The Ockham New Zealand Book Awards offer four principal prizes each year: 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; and the General Non-Fiction Award. There are also four awards for first-time authors (the Mātātuhi Foundation Best First Book awards) and, at the discretion of a specially appointed judge, Te Mūrau o te Tuhi, a Māori Language Award.

The judging of each of the four subject categories is undertaken by a panel of three judges with the relevant expertise and experience in that subject. One of the three will be appointed as convenor. The judges begin their reading in mid-September 2024.

Potential judges may express interest directly or be nominated by members of the literature community and book industry. A panel from the New Zealand Book Awards Trust, which comprises industry stakeholder representatives, is responsible for final selection and recruitment. Geographic, cultural and community representation, as well as relevant qualifications and experience, will all be considered in the final make-up of the panels.

Expressions of interest forms and background information on the judging process and judges’ responsibilities can be accessed via the links below or supplied on request by emailing

2025 Judging Panel - General Information - read this before applying

Expression of Interest form

Applications must be submitted by 5pm on Thursday 27 June, and should include a brief resumé demonstrating the applicant’s experience for the judging role.

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, Booksellers Aotearoa New Zealand, The Mātātuhi Foundation and the Auckland Writers Festival.