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Ockham New Zealand Book Awards 2019 shortlists announced

The shortlists for the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards have been announced.

The shortlisted titles in each category are:


  • The New Ships (Kate Duignan, Victoria University Press)
  • The Cage (Lloyd Jones, Text)
  • This Mortal Boy (Fiona Kidman, Vintage)
  • All This by Chance (Vincent O’Sullivan, Victoria University Press)

General nonfiction

  • Hudson & Halls: The Food of Love (Joanne Drayton, Otago University Press)
  • Memory Pieces (Maurice Gee, Victoria University Press)
  • We Can Make a Life (Chessie Henry, Victoria University Press)
  • With Them Through Hell: New Zealand Medical Services in the First World War (Anna Rogers, Massey University Press)

Illustrated nonfiction

  • Fight for the Forests: The Pivotal Campaigns that Saved New Zealand’s Native Forests (Paul Bensemann, Potton & Burton)
  • Wanted: The Search for the Modernist Murals of E. Mervyn Taylor (ed by Bronwyn Holloway-Smith, Massey University Press)
  • Tatau: A History of Sāmoan Tattooing (Sean Mallon with Sébastien Galliot, Te Papa Press)
  • Birdstories: A History of the Birds of New Zealand (Geoff Norman, Potton & Burton)


  • Are Friends Electric? (Helen Heath, Victoria University Press)
  • There’s No Place Like the Internet in Springtime (Erik Kennedy, Victoria University Press)
  • The Facts (Therese Lloyd, Victoria University Press)
  • Poūkahangatus (Tayi Tibble, Victoria University Press).

The shortlisted titles were chosen from longlists announced in January. The winners will be announced on 14 May at a ceremony at the Auckland Writers Festival.

The winner of the fiction award receives NZ$53,000 (A$50,880) and the winners of the general nonfiction, illustrated nonfiction and poetry awards each receive NZ$10,000 (A$9600). A Māori Language award, also worth NZ$10,000 is awarded at the judges’ discretion, and books by debut authors are eligible to win the Best First Book Award in each category, worth NZ$2500 (A$2400) each.

The Ockhams have announced two new sponsors for this year’s awards. Mitochondrial science company MitoQ will sponsor the four Best First Book awards, and arts enthusiasts and philanthropists Mary and Peter Biggs will support the poetry category.

For more information about the awards and the shortlisted titles, see the awards website.



Category: Awards Local news