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New Zealand Book Awards announces prize changes

The New Zealand Book Awards will return in 2016 with a new structure, judging process and an annual NZ$50,000 (A$44,595) prize for fiction, with the winners to be announced at the Auckland Writers Festival.

The fiction prize will be awarded annually to the best fiction work written by a New Zealander, with the cash prize provided by the Acorn Foundation, a community foundation that encourages people to leave bequests in their wills or in their lifetimes to local charities.

New Zealand Book Awards Trust chair Nicola Legat said in a statement that the fiction prize will create ‘a tremendous and lasting literary legacy’. ‘This will make a difference to not only the receiving writer, but also to the literary fabric of New Zealand,’ said Legat.

In addition, prizes will be awarded for poetry, general and illustrated nonfiction and a Māori language title, providing a sufficient number of entries are submitted. The Best First Book Awards for fiction, poetry and nonfiction will also continue. The winners will be announced during the Auckland Writers Festival in May 2016.

Each of the fiction, poetry and two nonfiction categories will be judged by three specialist judges who will select a longlist of approximately eight books, to be announced in November 2015, and a shortlist of four titles, to be announced in March 2016. The Māori language category will also have an additional Māori language adviser.

‘The changes to the judging process are a direct result of the consultation process carried out by the Book Awards Trust in 2014. Having fewer books for each judge to read, and having more specialist depth in each genre, will allow a more detailed examination of the works,’ said Legat.

As previously reported by Books+Publishing, the New Zealand Book Awards came under new management in October 2014, and were not held in 2015 due to a shortened eligibility window. The call for entries for the 2015 awards is scheduled for 1 August.

For more information about the awards, visit the Booksellers New Zealand website here.



Category: Local news