Finalists announced for 2011 New Zealand Post Book Awards

This year’s New Zealand Post Book Awards finalists provide a feast of Kiwi experience, reflecting a growing and confident awareness of our unique place in the world, says Judging panel convenor and Te Reo Māori Advisor for the New Zealand Post Book Awards, Paul Diamond.

‘All the finalists enable us to see our world differently.  They tell great stories with pride, brightening our lives in this time of dark days.’

Jump straight to the list of finalists

The four finalist categories announced in the New Zealand Post Book Awards today are:

See the New Zealand Society of Authors (NZSA) Best First Book Awards Winners.

The New Zealand Post Book Awards are the highlight of the literary calendar, eagerly awaited by writers, publishers, booksellers and the media, and recognised by the New Zealand public as the gold standard; honouring the cream of this country’s literary talent.

Diamond, a past judge of the New Zealand Post Book Awards, broadcaster, writer and historian, said that all four categories were strong this year.  

‘The Māori World was also significant in the work of many finalists, reflecting the reality of life in 21st century New Zealand.’

The judges commented on the large number of books entered in the Poetry category – nearly as many as for Fiction – illustrating the strength of poetry-writing and publishing in New Zealand. However, Diamond said, ‘entries in General Non-fiction were significantly down on the previous year, perhaps reflecting tougher times in the New Zealand publishing industry’.

Joining Diamond on the Awards’ judging panel are writer, educationalist and broadcaster, Charmaine Pountney; former mayor, ad man, environmentalist and lobbyist, Bob Harvey QSO; award-winning author and broadcaster, Emily Perkins; and acclaimed poet and editor, Michael Harlow.

The full list of finalists in the 2011 New Zealand Post Book Awards by category are:


The Hut Builder
by Laurence Fearnley
(Penguin Group NZ)
The Night Book
by Charlotte Grimshaw
(Vintage, Random House NZ)
Their Faces Were Shining                             
by Tim Wilson
(Victoria University Press)


The Mirror of Simple Annihilated Souls
by Kate Camp
(Victoria University Press)
The Radio Room
by Cilla McQueen
(Otago University Press)
Mauri Ola: Contemporary Polynesian Poems in English Whetu Moana II
by Albert Wendt, Reina Whaitiri and Robert Sullivan
(Auckland University Press)


99 Ways into New Zealand Poetry
by Paula Green and Harry Ricketts
(Vintage, Random House NZ)
Blue Smoke: The Lost Dawn of NZ Popular Music 1918-1964 by Chris Bourke
(Auckland University Press)
Mune: An Autobiography
by Ian Mune
(Craig Potton Publishing)
No Fretful Sleeper: A Life of Bill Pearson
by Paul Millar
(Auckland University Press)
The Tasman: Biography of an Ocean
by Neville Peat
(Penguin Group NZ)


Brian Brake: Lens on the World
by Athol McCredie
(Te Papa Press)
by Russell Beck, Maika Mason and Andris Apse
(Viking, Penguin Group NZ)
Still Life: Inside the Antarctic Huts of Scott and Shackleton
by Nigel Watson and Jane Ussher
(Murdoch Books)
The Dress Circle
by Douglas Lloyd Jenkins, Claire Regnault and Lucy Hammonds
(Godwit, Random House NZ)
The Passing World: The Passage of Life: John Hovell and the Art of Kowhaiwhai
by Damian Skinner
(Rim Books)

Winners announced
The Category Award winners and the overall New Zealand Post Book of the Year winner will be announced at an awards ceremony to be held in Wellington on 27 July 2011.

With fewer categories than in previous years, the Awards’ prize pool has been substantially increased, with the overall New Zealand Post Book of the Year Award winner receiving $15,000.

Winners of the four Category Awards will each receive $10,000 and the People’s Choice Award winner $5,000. The People’s Choice Award is hotly contested each year and gives New Zealanders a unique opportunity to vote for their favourite book.

New Zealand Post Group’s sponsorship of the country’s national book awards is symbolic of their strong and active support of the country’s literature. As sponsor of the New Zealand Post

Children’s Book Awards for 15 years, their sponsorship of these Awards highlights the company’s commitment to promoting literary excellence. Working closely with Booksellers NZ, New Zealand Post and other dedicated segments of the community actively encourage New Zealanders to read and enjoy books.

The New Zealand Post Book Awards 2011 are also sponsored by Creative New Zealand.  The Awards are managed by Booksellers NZ and supported by the New Zealand Society of Authors and Book Tokens (NZ) Ltd.