Posted by: Lisa Hill | March 4, 2020

2020 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards shortlist

With thanks to Twitter and @theockhams, here is the 2020 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards Shortlist.


Aue by Becky Manawatu (Makaro Press), see the review at Alys on the blog. I read this review and put this one on my wishlist for Indigenous Lit Week because the author is Maori.

Pearly Gates by Owen Marshall (Vintage, Penguin Random House), see my review

A Mistake by Carl Shuker (Victoria University Press), see my review

Halibut on the Moon by David Vann (Text Publishing)


Moth Hour by Anne Kennedy (Auckland University Press)

How to Live by Helen Rickerby (Auckland University Press)

Lay Studies by Steven Toussaint (Victoria University Press)

How I Get Ready by Ashleigh Young (Victoria University Press)


Crafting Aotearoa: A Cultural History of Making in New Zealand and the Wider Moana Oceania edited by Karl Chitham, Kolokesa U Mahina-Tuai, Damian Skinner (Te Papa Press)

Protest Tautohetohe: Objects of Resistance, Persistence and Defiance edited by Stephanie Gordon, Matariki Williams, Puawai Cairns (Te Papa Press)

We Are Here: An Atlas of Aotearoa by Chris McDowall and Tim Denee (Massey University Press)

McCahon Country by Justin Paton


Dead People I Have Known by Shayne Carter (Victoria University Press)

Shirley Smith: An Examined Life by Sarah Gaitanos (Victoria University Press)

Wild Honey: Reading New Zealand Women’s Poetry by Paula Green (Massey University Press)

Towards the Mountain: A Story of Grief and Hope Forty Years on from Erebus by Sarah Myles (Allen & Unwin)


  1. David Vann is from Alaska, so does this mean the awards are open to anyone as long as your book is published in NZ?


  2. Well, as you can see from my post about the longlist ( I spent a bit of time investigating it but I still don’t know either.
    I remember the MF had a kerfuffle some years back when they nominated an author who was born here but had been an expat in the UK for ages. Was she Australian or wasn’t she? Is Peter Carey? What about Germaine Greer? I wouldn’t want to be the one trying to draw up rules about this…


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