Posted by: Lisa Hill | February 2, 2023

2023 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards longlists

The 2023 Ockham New Zealand longlists have been announced.

To read more about the longlist, visit The Spinoff.


I haven’t read any of these yet, but I have Catherine Chidgey’s The Axeman’s Carnival on order at Benn’s Books, because I love her books (see here) — and I will definitely be getting a copy of Lloyd Jones The Fish because I’ve liked everything of his that I’ve read. (See here).

But why, oh why, is it so hard to get NZ titles here in Australia?!

Better the Blood by Michael Bennett (Simon & Schuster)

Chevalier & Gawayn: The Ballad of the Dreamer by Phillip Mann (Quentin Wilson Publishing)

Down from Upland by Murdoch Stephens (Lawrence & Gibson)

Home Theatre by Anthony Lapwood (Te Herenga Waka University Press)*

How to Loiter in a Turf War by Coco Solid (Penguin, Penguin Random House)*

Kāwai: For Such a Time as This by Monty Soutar (Bateman Books)

Mary’s Boy, Jean-Jacques and other stories by Vincent O’Sullivan (Te Herenga Waka University Press)

Mrs Jewell and the Wreck of the General Grant by Cristina Sanders (The Cuba Press)

The Axeman’s Carnival by Catherine Chidgey (Te Herenga Waka University Press)

The Fish by Lloyd Jones (Penguin, Penguin Random House)

General Non Fiction

Illustrated Non fiction



  1. We’ll look at the publishers of many! Probably the same reason people overseas can’t get ours! I must get back to reading NZ literature.


    • I’m gobsmacked that I’ve been doing my usual prowl around bookshops and read their catalogues and looked at their home pages and *I did not know that Lloyd Jones had a new book out*.


      • I didn’t either but I’m not keeping on top of things at the moment so that didn’t surprise me, but that’s interesting if you hadn’t seen it either.


        • Yes, I’m slipping up in my old age….


          • It’s all downhill from here … but hopefully there are still some ups along the way!


            • Ha ha, I’m still waiting to see what they are…

              Liked by 1 person

              • Today at the Service Station Mr Gums was fiddling around with his phone to find his Service Station petrol vouchers which are now electronic, and when he finally got to the app or whatever, he found he didn’t have one … So the cashier gave it to him anyhow! We decided that was her taking pity on “the poor old codger” and that we need to accept these as positives of ageing rather than being insulted as there aren’t many positives. (That said she may have been generous to anyone!)

                Liked by 1 person

  2. Very good representation by what was Victoria University Press (renamed Te Herenga Waka University Press ) who have long lobbied for new fiction, poetry and young writers like Eleanor Catton (who has a new book out in March). Small presses likely outsource distribution, all the better that prizes like the Dublin Literary Award allow the spotlight to shine on places far away where their industry is too small to get noticed elsewhere.
    I like Chidgey’s storytelling, Lloyd Jones is a bit hit or miss for me. I’ll be interested to see what the fiction title will be this year.
    Are you going to read the new Eleanor Catton novel Birnam Wood?


    • Yes, the THWUP have done well this year, and yes too, to the Dublin Award. But seriously, we are just across the ditch, and yet our libraries rarely stock NZ Lit (and I belong to four), and our bookshops only stock the few well-known names. It’s ridiculous, especially in the case of books published by the global companies like Penguin.

      My favourite contemporary NZ writers are Catherine Chidgey, Lloyd Jones, Pip Adams, Tracy Farr, Laurence Fearnley, Fiona Kidman, Vincent O’Sullivan, Charlotte Randall, Brannavan Gnanalingam, Hamish Clayton, Paula Morris, and Patrick Evans. These are all writers that I would just automatically buy their books as they were released, if I knew about them, and if the books were in the shops when I was browsing. But as it is, it’s a matter of luck whether I hear about a new release, and then it’s a matter of actively seeking them out from a NZ bookseller and paying whopping postage for them. It’s just too hard most of the time.

      I’m unlikely to read the Catton. I did not think much of The Luminaries. It was a bit of a slog to get through it and when I did, I thought, well, what was that about? and I didn’t think it was about anything much.


  3. Suspect it’s either distribution issues or rights issues, or combination of both, or maybe it’s economies of scale, but yes, you’d think it would be easy to get NZ titles here.


    • And I haven’t had much luck buying copies even for the Kindle, which — you’d think — would be a no-brainer option for overseas sales.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ll add it’s not easy to get Australian books in America. Of course the BIG names get through. Text Publishing has brought more titles here too.


    • It’s better than it was, with eBooks and so on, but the prices of international books have gone up steeply with the major online retailers. If you want to buy a few, it’s better to go direct to a bookseller rather than pay postage on each individual item.


    • ebay


  5. Lloyd Jones has a new book? How did I miss that? Remedied: I have borrowed a copy from the library. :-)


    • I love his stuff. I love the way he does something different in every novel.

      Liked by 1 person

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