Posted by: Lisa Hill | March 3, 2021

2021 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards shortlist

(Very belated update 3/11/21): The winners, now highlighted in orange bold, were announced in May.

The NZ Ockham shortlists have been announced and I am delighted to see that two of my favourites are vying for the fiction prize.  (But also disappointed that Chloe Lane’s The Swimmers was overlooked).

Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction

  • Nothing to See by Pip Adam (Victoria University Press/Giramondo Publishing*), see my review.
  • Bug Week by Airini Beautrais (Victoria University Press) (short stories)
  • Remote Sympathy by Catherine Chidgey (Victoria University Press), see my review
  • Sprigs by Brannavan Gnanalingam (Lawrence & Gibson) (on my wishlist, it’s sold out but will presumably be reprinted now )


Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry

  • Funkhaus by Hinemoana Baker (Victoria University Press)
  • Magnolia 木蘭 by Nina Mingya Powles (Seraph Press)
  • National Anthem by Mohamed Hassan (Dead Bird Books)
  • The Savage Coloniser Book by Tusiata Avia (Victoria University Press)

Booksellers Aotearoa New Zealand Award for Illustrated Non-Fiction

  • An Exquisite Legacy: The Life and Work of New Zealand Naturalist G.V. Hudson by George Gibbs (Potton & Burton)
  • Hiakai: Modern Māori Cuisine by Monique Fiso (Godwit, Penguin Random House)
  • Marti Friedlander: Portraits of the Artists by Leonard Bell (Auckland University Press)
  • Nature — Stilled by Jane Ussher (Te Papa Press)

General Non-Fiction Award

  • Specimen: Personal Essays by Madison Hamill (Victoria University Press)
  • Te Hāhi Mihinare |The Māori Anglican Church by Hirini Kaa (Bridget Williams Books)
  • The Dark is Light Enough: Ralph Hotere A Biographical Portrait by Vincent O’Sullivan (Penguin, Penguin Random House)
  • This Pākehā Life: An Unsettled Memoir by Alison Jones (Bridget Williams Books)

The Fiction award is worth $57,000 NZD to the winner, and the General Non-Fiction, Poetry and Illustrated Non-Fiction category winners will each receive a $10,000 prize.

The website also mentions that the winners of the four MitoQ Best First Book awards will each receive $2,500, but I can’t find who the nominees are.

Update: The Best First Book award for fiction went to Victory Park by Rachel Kerr.

*Nothing to See is published this year by Giramondo Publishing Australia, which brings Pip Adam the exposure that it deserves.  If you want to be one of the first to get your hands on a copy and at a reduced price, take out Giramondo’s new Prose Subscription, details here.

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