Posted by: Lisa Hill | November 28, 2017

2018 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards Longlist

The 2018 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards longlist has been announced. 

Fiction (Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize):

You will notice that five of these titles are from Victoria University Press, which makes them very difficult to get hold of.  They’re not just expensive (especially when you remember to convert to Aussie dollars) it’s the shipping costs, and VUP have one of those horrible websites where you can’t even work out what the shipping will be until you are 3/4 of the way through placing an order.  That’s why I use Fishpond for all NZ titles, because it’s much cheaper, but none of these five are available.   I’ve been able to order the two from PRH, but of the remaining three only one was available and it didn’t seem very appealing.

As an ordinary consumer, I find it amazing that it’s so difficult to source Kiwi books…

  • The New Animals by Pip Adam (Victoria University Press)
  • The Beat of the Pendulum by Catherine Chidgey (Victoria University Press) – I really liked this author’s The Wish Child and this new one has been on my wishlist since I first heard about it but it’s not in stock at Fishpond or at Readings.  Readings say you can order it ($38.95) but Fishpond says there’s no stock available. Update 5/12/17 On order, now available from Fishpond.   See my review.
  • The Earth Cries Out by Bonnie Etherington (Vintage, Penguin Random House), on order, see my review
  • Salt Picnic by Patrick Evans (Victoria University Press) – I’ve read Patrick Evans before, so this promises to be interesting.  But once again, it’s not available. Update 5/12/17 On order, now available from Fishpond. 4/1/18 Now on my TBR.
  • Sodden Downstream by Brannavan Gnanalingam (Lawrence & Gibson) Update 5/12/17 The author got in touch with me via Facebook and is kindly sending me a copy of this.  10/1/18, see my review
  • Heloise by Mandy Hager (Penguin Random House), on order 4/1/18 Now on my TBR.  10/2/18 See my review
  • Iceland by Dominic Hoey (Steele Roberts Aotearoa)
  • Baby by Annaleese Jochems (Victoria University Press)
  • Tess by Kirsten McDougall (Victoria University Press)
  • Five Strings by Apirana Taylor (Anahera Press)

General Non-Fiction (The Royal Society Te Apārangi Award):

  • Dancing with the King: The Rise and Fall of the King Country, 1864-1885 by Michael Belgrave (Auckland University Press)
  • Tāngata Ngāi Tahu: People of Ngāi Tahu edited by Helen Brown and Takerei Norton (Te Rūnanga Ngāi Tahu and Bridget Williams Books)
  • Fearless: The Extraordinary Untold Story of New Zealand’s Great War Airmen by Adam Claasen (Massey University Press)
  • Phoney Wars: New Zealand Society in the Second World War by Stevan Eldred-Grigg with Hugh Eldred-Grigg (Otago University Press)
  • The 9th Floor: Conversations with Five New Zealand Prime Ministers by Guyon Espiner and Tim Watkin (Bridget Williams Books)
  • Cleansing the Colony: Transporting Convicts from New Zealand to Van Diemen’s Land by Kristyn Harman (Otago University Press), 10/2/18 On order
  • Tears of Rangi: Experiments Across Worlds by Anne Salmond (Auckland University Press)
  • Drawn Out: A Seriously Funny Memoir by Tom Scott (Allen & Unwin NZ)
  • Driving to Treblinka: A Long Search for a Lost Father by Diana Wichtel (Awa Press)
  • A Strange Beautiful Excitement: Katherine Mansfield’s Wellington 1888-1903 by Redmer Yska (Otago University Press)

Illustrated Non-Fiction:

  • New China Eyewitness: Roger Duff, Rewi Alley and the Art of Museum Diplomacy edited by James Beattie and Richard Bullen (Canterbury University Press)
  • Strangers Arrive: Emigrés and the Arts in New Zealand, 1930-1980 by Leonard Bell (Auckland University Press)
  • Good-bye Maoriland: The Songs and Sounds of New Zealand’s Great War by Chris Bourke (Auckland University Press)
  • Teenagers: The Rise of Youth Culture in New Zealand by Chris Brickell (Auckland University Press)
  • Tuai: A Traveller in Two Worlds by Alison Jones and Kuni Kaa Jenkins (Bridget Williams Books)
  • Ten x Ten: Art at Te Papa edited by Athol McCredie (Te Papa Press)
  • Undreamed of … 50 years of the Frances Hodgkins Fellowship by Priscilla Pitts and Andrea Hotere (Otago University Press)
  • Tōtara: A Natural and Cultural History by Philip Simpson (Auckland University Press)
  • Gordon Walters: New Vision by Zara Stanhope (commissioning editor), Lucy Hammonds, Laurence Simmons, Julia Waite (Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki and Dunedin Public Art Gallery)
  • The Face of Nature: An Environmental History of the Otago Peninsula by Jonathan West (Otago University Press)


  • Flow: Whanganui River Poems by Airini Beautrais (Victoria University Press)
  • Anchor Stone by Tony Beyer (Cold Hub Press)
  • The Internet of Things by Kate Camp (Victoria University Press)
  • The Ones Who Keep Quiet by David Howard (Otago University Press)
  • Tightrope by Selina Tusitala Marsh (Auckland University Press)
  • Fully Clothed and So Forgetful by Hannah Mettner (Victoria University Press)
  • Night Horse by Elizabeth Smither (Auckland University Press)
  • What is Left Behind by Tom Weston (Steele Roberts Aotearoa)
  • Rāwāhi by Briar Wood (Anahera Press)
  • The Yield by Sue Wootton (Otago University Press)

The Ockham New Zealand Book Awards shortlist will be announced on 6 March 2018, and the winners on 15 May 2018, held as the first public event of the Auckland Writers Festival.

To find out more about the longlisted titles go to


  1. On your first point, Booktopia is an Australian company and they carry some of the NZ titles you mentioned.


    • Thanks, Anna, I’ll have a look there too:)


  2. Oh you can do better than that. Our website shows you shipping before you place the order, and you can also buy from Unity Books, Timeout, Scorpio or a number of other NZ indie bookshops. I don’t know what the problem is with Fishpond’s data feed, because Mighty Ape and The Nile both seem to be working.


    • Yes, it does show you shipping before you place the order. As it says on the Shop page, it shows you that it’s calculated at checkout. And when I tried it today, I found that I had to enter all my credit card details &c before knowing what the cost would be. And since I might have wanted to buy all five of the VUP books, I wanted to know if there was any shipping discount for quantity, since my previous experience with exploring a purchase for just one book from VUP was that postage was too expensive for me. (On that occasion, I asked my library to buy the book for me instead.) But I didn’t want to spend time doing an entire order only to find that the postage was going to be prohibitive.
      As for the other bookshops you mention, I’ve never heard of any of them because I live in Australia.
      I do my best to promote NZ fiction, but it’s not my business to promote NZ publishers and booksellers.


      • What happened when you tried ordering through your local independent bookshop?


  3. […] Brannavan Gnanalingam is one of the authors longlisted for the 2018 Ockhams New Zealand awards.   […]


  4. I’m happy to say that the problem with the Fishpond feed is fixed and you can get The Beat of the Pendulum and lots of our other books. Some good discounts too!


    • Fantastic, off shopping now!


  5. […] Sodden Downstream is longlisted for the 2018 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. […]


  6. […] 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 2018 Ockham New Zealand Awards. […]


  7. […] Hager’s first work of fiction for adults, has been longlisted for the 2018 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards and it turned out to be interesting reading, though *chuckle* perhaps not in the way that its […]


  8. […] thoughts about Catherine Chidgey’s The Beat of the Pendulum. which is longlisted for the 2018 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.  This ‘found novel’ is a remarkable experiment in fiction, drawing on – or […]


  9. […] You can read about the shortlists for the other categories here and there are reviews of other longlisted books here. […]


  10. […] dismissive of literary prizes, but I’m very pleased to have read most of the longlist for the 2018 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards because that is how I discovered Kiwi author Bonnie Etherington.  Because we in Australia […]


  11. […] I’m still disappointed that Catherine Chidgey’s The Beat of the Pendulum didn’t get a mention… My post about the shortlist is here, and you can see my review here and there are reviews of other longlisted books here. […]


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