Ockham retains its front row seats at New Zealand’s literary Oscars

For the past eight years Ockham Residential has been joyfully entangled with the Book Awards whānau with whom it shares its name. And today, co-founder of the company Mark Todd says he’s delighted to announce that Ockham is renewing its commitment for five more years.

“For Ockham, having front-row seats at New Zealand’s literary Oscars is little like being handed an air guitar at the latest AC/DC farewell concert, headbanging exchanged for fervent nodding over subtext, debates over the merits of a semi-colon, earnest conversations about the Oxford comma. It’s wonderful,” Mark says.

“Critical thought and enquiry are at the heart of the Ockham ethos, which is our slightly grandiose way of saying we want Kiwis to think, question, and think some more (and, ideally, read heaps of books!).

“The Ockhams have become a beloved part of Aotearoa New Zealand's cultural tapestry, offering the delicate stitch of prestige, coupled with the pragmatic thread of financial aid.”

Mark says three aspects of the partnership bring him great happiness.

“First, it’s not about us – it’s about being part of a divine family of sponsors and supporters. Here's to the late Dr Jann Medlicott MNZM – radiologist, arts fan, cat worshipper – and fairy godmother of New Zealand literature, whose $65,000 Acorn fiction prize ensures our future Mansfields and Manhires, Grimshaws and Graces never run out of ink or inspiration.”

Mark says Jann’s astonishing legacy has seen two ripples of magic: a surge of interest in, and sales of, New Zealand books of all genres, and a renaissance led by a dazzling array of new Māori voices. “The luminous Becky Manawatu, the poetic prowess of Whiti Hereaka, and the seemingly out-of-the-blue wonder of Airana Ngarewa are not only transforming our bookshelves, but also giving Aotearoa a whole new rhythm.

“What a time to be alive, air guitars in hand. And what a time to be reading!”