Posted by: Lisa Hill | November 26, 2015

2016 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards Longlist

Across the ditch in New Zealand, the 2016 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards longlist has been announced.  This is actually the first time they’ve announced the longlist, and they’re doing it because it provides publicity and recognition of a wider group of authors.  It’s certainly a good idea, because for me it provides a useful list of novels to track down and new authors to get to know.

I’m pleased to see that I have already reviewed two on the longlist, Stephen Daisley’s Coming Rain and The Chimes by Anna Smaill (which was also nominated for the Booker).   I’ve already bought Patricia Grace’s Chappy with next year’s Indigenous Literature Week in mind and I’m familiar with some of the other authors on the list even if I don’t have the books nominated.  I’ve read Laurence Fearnley’s The Hut Builder, Wulf by Hamish Clayton and also La Rochelle’s Road by Tanya Moir, but I don’t know anything about the other authors so a spending spree at Fishpond is in order.

(Fishpond is the best place for Ausssies to buy Kiwi books because they don’t charge for postage, click the link in the RH sidebar if you want to support this little blog of mine, and keep it free of ads.  BTW this is a good opportunity for me to thank the unknown buyer who buys all kinds of books via the Fishpond link on this blog – not just ones I’ve reviewed but kids books and non-fiction too – every little helps to pay for the costs of running ANZ LitLovers and for Giveaway postage too, so thank you!)

Anyway, without further ado, here’s the longlist! Congratulations to all the authors, editors and publishers, and thanks to Tracy Farr (author of noteworthy The Life and Loves of Lena Gaunt) for the heads-up.

Fiction: (I’ll update this list from time to time as I add my reviews)
The Antipodeans by Greg McGee (Upstart Press)
Astonished Dice: Collected Short Stories by Geoff Cochrane (Victoria University Press)
The Back of His Head by Patrick Evans (Victoria University Press) (See my review and a Sensational Snippet)
Chappy by Patricia Grace (Penguin Random House) See my review
The Chimes by Anna Smaill (Hodder & Stoughton) See my review
Coming Rain by Stephen Daisley (Text Publishing) See my review
The Invisible Mile by David Coventry (Victoria University Press)
The Legend of Winstone Blackhat by Tanya Moir (Penguin Random House) (Update 4/12/15, abandoned.  I don’t usually review books I didn’t continue, but you can read my thoughts at Goodreads).
The Pale North by Hamish Clayton (Penguin Random House) See my review
Reach by Laurence Fearnley (Penguin Random House) See my review

Illustrated Non Fiction:
Zealandia: Our Continent Revealed by Nick Mortimer and Hamish Campbell (Penguin Random House)
My Family Table: Simple Wholefood Recipes from ‘Petite Kitchen’ by Eleanor Ozich (Allen & Unwin)
Hello Girls and Boys! A New Zealand Toy Story by David Veart (Auckland University Press)
Tuatara: Biology and Conservation of a Venerable Survivor by Alison Cree (Canterbury University Press)
Real Modern: Everyday New Zealand in the 1950s and 1960s by Bronwyn Labrum (Te Papa Press)
Coast. Country.Neighbourhood.City edited by Michael Barrett (Six Point Press)
Te Ara Puoro: A Journey into the World of Māori Music by Richard Nunns (Potton and Burton)
New Zealand Photography Collected by Athol McCredie (Te Papa Press)
Tangata Whenua: An Illustrated History by Atholl Anderson, Judith Binney, Aroha Harris (Bridget Williams Books)
Tramping: a New Zealand History by Shaun Barnett and Chris MacLean (Potton and Burton)

General Non Fiction:
Maurice Gee: Life and Work by Rachel Barrowman (Victoria University Press)
Terrain: Travels through a deep landscape by Geoff Chapple (Penguin Random House)
The Villa at the Edge of the Empire: One Hundred Ways to Read a City by Fiona Farrell (Penguin Random House)
Māori Boy: A Memoir of Childhood by Witi Ihimaera (Penguin Random House)
Lost and Gone Away by Lynn Jenner (Auckland University Press)
Kitchens: The New Zealand Kitchen in the 20th Century by Helen Leach (Otago University Press)
Panguru and the City, Kāinga Tahi, Kāinga Rua: An Urban Migration History byMelissa Matutina Williams (Bridget Williams Books)
Outcasts of the Gods? The Struggle over Slavery in Māori New Zealand by Hazel Petrie (Auckland University Press)
Journey to a Hanging by Peter Wells (Penguin Random House)
The Healthy Country? A History of Life and Death in New Zealand by Alistair Woodward and Tony Blakley (Auckland University Press)

The Art of Excavation by Leilani Tamu (Anahera Press)
Shaggy Magpie Songs by Murray Edmond (Auckland University Press)
How to be Dead in a Year of Snakes by Chris Tse (Auckland University Press)
The Night We Ate the Baby by Tim Upperton (Haunui Press)
Otherwise by John Dennison (Auckland University Press)
Mr Clean & The Junkie by Jennifer Compton (Mākaro Press)
Song of the Ghost in the Machine by Roger Horrocks (Victoria University Press)
Tender Machines by Emma Neale (Otago University Press)
The Conch Trumpet by David Eggleton (Otago University Press)
Dear Neil Roberts by Airini Beautrais (Victoria University Press)

To read about the longlisted titles click here.

The Ockham New Zealand Book Awards shortlist will be announced on 8 March 2016, and the winners (including the four Best First Book Awards and a Māori Language award) will be announced at a ceremony on 10 May 2016, held as the opening night event of the Auckland Writers Festival.


  1. What is the RH sandbar?


    • LOL (My first chuckle of the day!) a typo! It’s sidebar *blush*


  2. Thanks for the information about fishpond

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome, Glenice. It’s not easy to find Kiwi books in Aussie bookshops, and the postage is a killer – it can make an ordinary novel cost about $40 so it’s worth knowing about it.


  3. Is this an award that has changed sponsors? I’ve never heard of Ockham.


    • I think so. The NZ Book Awards have been around for ages, so I assume Ockham have muscled in on the name because they’ve become major sponsors. (Like Mazda with opera, here in Victoria). But as to who Ockham are and what they stand for, I do not know!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sounds like quite an event Lisa – I must confess to not knowing any of the books. Obviously the literary scene in ANZ is flourishing!


    • If I were going to persuade you to read just one of them, I’d suggest Coming Rain, *chuckle* only partly because we claim him as an Aussie writer now because he’s been here so long.


  5. […] quite as splendid, and The Pale North is not, but it is an interesting book.  The judges for the Ockham New Zealand Books Awards thought so too, because they longlisted it for the 2016 prize.  It is, however, a most awkward book to discuss without spoilers, because even the way the book […]


  6. […] is one of the titles longlisted for the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards for Fiction, and it’s also a literary ‘event’ in its own right because it’s Patricia […]


  7. […] (2014) longlisted for the 2016 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards for Fiction is Fearnley’s ninth novel.  It’s what I call an ‘intense relationship […]


  8. […] discovered Kiwi author Patrick Evans while reading The Back of His Head from the longlist for the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards and enjoyed his humour so much that I hunted out a copy of Gifted to read as […]


  9. […] I’ve reviewed most of the longlist, so I’m in a good position to be pleased with their choices.  The only shortlisted book I […]


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