The Mātātuhi Foundation, established to support the growth and development of the literary landscape of Aotearoa, has formally assumed the sponsorship of the Best First Book awards at the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.
Set up in 2018 by the Auckland Writers Festival, the organisation holds a biannual grants round, inviting submissions from projects that support and promote the work of New Zealand writers and/or increase the levels of engagement, or appreciation for New Zealand literature amongst New Zealand readers.
Nicola Legat, chair of the New Zealand Book Awards Trust Te Ohu Tiaki i Te Rau Hiringa, warmly welcomes the Foundation as the Best First Book Awards’ new official funder, after it stepped in to support them in 2023. “We are delighted to have now consolidated this lasting partnership with an organisation that has literature and writers at the heart of its aims,” she says. “These four awards have a long history, which in the case of the fiction award dates back to 1940, and many of its past winners have gone on to have stellar careers. It seems very fitting that the Foundation recognises this legacy and the career-changing impact these awards have.”
Mātātuhi Foundation trustee Paula Morris says, “I won a Best First Book award in 2003, for Queen of Beauty, and it felt like an achievement as well as a great gift. It gave me confidence to keep going, and meant the book received more attention from readers, the press and booksellers. I'm glad that the Mātātuhi Foundation is helping to support emerging writers in this way, and to support the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards in its recognition of excellence.”
The four winners of The Mātātuhi Foundation Best First Book Awards for 2024 will be announced next year at the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards ceremony on Wednesday 15 May, at a marquee event at the Auckland Writers Festival.
The judges will select a Best First Book winner in each of the Ockhams’ four categories – Fiction, Poetry, General Non-Fiction and Illustrated Non-Fiction – from books by debut authors that have been shortlisted or longlisted in the awards. Each winner will receive $3000 and a 12-month membership of the New Zealand Society of Authors.
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.
For further information please contact: Belinda Cooke, email@example.com, 021 481044
The Ockham New Zealand Book Awards are the country’s premier literary honours for books written by New Zealanders. First established in 1968 as the Wattie Book Awards (later the Goodman Fielder Wattie Book Awards), they have also been known as the Montana New Zealand Book Awards and the New Zealand Post Book Awards. Awards are given for Fiction (the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction), Poetry (the Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry) Illustrated Non-Fiction (the Booksellers Aotearoa New Zealand Award for Illustrated Non-Fiction) and General Non-Fiction. There are also four awards for first-time authors (The Mātātuhi Foundation Best First Book awards) and, at the judges’ discretion, Te Mūrau o te Tuhi, a Māori Language Award. The awards are governed by the New Zealand Book Awards Trust Te Ohu Tiaki i Te Rau Hiringa (a registered charity). Current members of the Trust are Nicola Legat, Rachael King, Jenna Todd, Laura Caygill, Claire Murdoch, Melinda Szymanik, Garth Biggs and Richard Pamatatau. The Trust also governs the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults and Phantom National Poetry Day.
The Mātātuhi Foundation was established by the Auckland Writers Festival to support the growth and development of New Zealand's literary landscape. To achieve this goal, the Foundation holds a biannual grants round; inviting submissions from projects that support and promote the work of New Zealand writers and/or materially increase the levels of engagement and appreciation for New Zealand literature among New Zealand readers.