Posted by: Lisa Hill | May 16, 2017

2017 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards

The 2017 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards were announced today.   Below is the shortlist and (thanks to Twitter #Ockhams) the winner in each category  is highlighted in bold. Updated 16/4/18 to include links to my reviews.

The Wish Child Love as a StrangerBilly Bird The Name on the Door is Not Mine


  • Can You Tolerate This? by Ashleigh Young (Victoria University Press) See my review.
  • This Model World: Travels to the Edge of Contemporary Art by Anthony Byrt (Auckland University Press)
  • My Father’s Island by Adam Dudding (Victoria University Press)
  • The Big Smoke: New Zealand Cities, 1840-1920 by Ben Schrader (Bridget Williams Books)


  • Bloomsbury South: The Arts in Christchurch 1933-1953 by Peter Simpson (Auckland University Press)
  • A History of New Zealand Women by Barbara Brookes (Bridget Williams Books)
  • New Zealand Wine: The Land, the Vines, the People by Warren Moran (Auckland University Press)
  • Ann Shelton: Dark Matter, edited by Zara Stanhope and managing editor Clare McIntosh (Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki)


  • Fale Aitu | Spirit House by Tusiata Avia (Victoria University Press)
  • Hera Lindsay Bird by Hera Lindsay Bird (Victoria University Press)
  • Fits & Starts by Andrew Johnston (Victoria University Press)
  • This Paper Boat by Gregory Kan (Auckland University Press)

There’s some interesting commentary about the shortlist at The Spinoff.


  1. I’m so out of touch these days with NZ literature. The only fiction writer I know of those is CK Stead.

    And how interesting to have an Illustrated Non-fiction category.


    • Well, they don’t make it easy. We see next to nothing of their books in the bookshops, they don’t publicise their stuff, and apart from Fishpond (who deliver for free from NZ) it’s really, really hard to find a stockist even if I do hear about a book that interests me.
      But *chuckle* you do know of another fiction writer – Eleanor Catton who won the Booker with The Luminaries!


      • Oh sorry, Lisa, yes I do know several NZ writers! I was referring to the fiction shortlist. CK Stead is the only one I know there.


        • Ah yes, well me too. I am a bit embarrassed about that, but I have ordered the winner to redress it.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Well you are ANZ, says she cheekily! Still you did post the awards.


            • I know, I know…
              I’ve had quite a few conversations with contacts over there about how better I can keep up, but the best thing I’ve found so far is the NZ Bookseller’s blog. There used to be a great publicist who contacted me about new books and sometimes arranged review copies but she had to move on ( as seems to happen so much in the publishing business). They’ve even managed to drop me off their email list … I never hear from them any more like I do from Australian publishers, some of whom have publicists who take the trouble to know exactly what I might like and make personalised pitches to me (which I can rarely resist). .
              It baffles me: I never see reviews of NZ fiction over here and it does seem as they must be content with local sales if they’re not chasing publicity and sales with their nearest neighbour. And it’s annoying because most of what I’ve read from NZ has been really terrific stuff:)


              • I WAS teasing because I know over the years you’ve tried to highlight them, but that’s interesting. As you say we see so little NZ work here.


  2. Isn’t Keri Hulme from NZ also??? (says she showing off a bit)


    • Yes, and one of the best… have you reviewed The Bone People on your blog? I read it years ago so I don’t have a review of it here…


      • I have in fact – here I enjoyed it far more than I expected to


        • Yay, thank you, Karen!
          I’m toying with the idea of making a post or a page of – for want of a better term – high profile Australian and New Zealand novels, which would include books that have won international prizes….


          • What a good idea – in similar mode, Cathy at 746books has a page of 100 Irish novels to act as a reference for anyone wanting to get to know lit from the island


            • I really should revamp my ANZLL Books You Must Read page, there’s too many books there to be meaningful and it’s not selective enough to count as recommendations. And I haven’t updated it for a while as well.
              (But universities in the US and here link to it as a reference so I’d better be careful how I do it.)


  3. […] My 2018 reading year didn’t start well: I ditched my first two books, one after the other.  But my first review of 2018 is a different story: The Earth Cries Out by Bonnie Etherington  is a mesmerising, captivating novel that well deserves its nomination for the 2017 Ockham New Zealand Awards. […]


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