Last Year’s Supreme Book Award Winner is This Year’s Top Judge

Last year Chris Bourke took home the country’s top literary honour – the New Zealand Post Book of the Year Award – for his work Blue Smoke: the Lost Dawn of New Zealand Popular Music 1918-1964. This year he heads up the judging panel for the same award.

A respected writer, reviewer, music historian and radio producer, Chris is well known as a former long-time producer for Radio New Zealand National’s Saturday Morning programme and as a staff writer and arts and books editor for print publications including The Listener.

Also see: 'New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards 2012 Judges Announcement'

Mr Bourke says he has just cleared several book shelves to make space for the entries in the 2012 New Zealand Post Book Awards, and his first impression is: “never mind the width, feel the quality.

“New Zealand’s book creation industry is in full flight, with debutantes taking on seasoned authors, the self-published challenging the extravagantly produced. The year has seen fiction and poetry collections from many of our leading writers, and non-fiction seems to have recovered its strength with a plethora of well-researched, elegantly written and designed books in the general and illustrated categories.

“Ahead lie six months of demanding but exhilarating reading, about New Zealand in all its diversity.”

Joining Chris Bourke on the judging panel are: multi-award winning poet, writer, critic and journalist David Eggleton, writer, publisher, book designer and typesetter Mary Egan,  poet, reviewer, writer and anthologist Paula Green, writer and Maori and Pacific literature specialist Reina Whaitiri (Kai Tahu).

Judges are selected for the broad range of skills they bring to the judging process ensuring there is a diversity of writing styles and reading preferences.  The judging panel as a whole represents the wealth of diversity and depth in New Zealand writing and publishing.

They will read more than 160 submitted books published in 2011 before selecting the finalists and, ultimately the winners, including the holder of the much-sought-after the New Zealand Post Book of the Year trophy.

There will be four judging categories this year comprising Poetry, Fiction, Illustrated Non-fiction and General Non-fiction.  There will be 16 finalist books in total (three finalists each in the Fiction and Poetry categories and five each in the Illustrated Non-Fiction and General Non-Fiction categories).

The overall New Zealand Post Book of the Year Award winner receives $15,000. Winners of the four Category Awards will each receive $10,000, the Māori Language Award $10,000, Readers’ Choice Award $5,000, and the winners of the three New Zealand Society of Authors (NZSA) Best First Book Awards $2,500 each.

New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards 2012 Judges Announcement
Independent education and publishing consultant, Gillian Candler will convene this year’s New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards judging panel.

The former secondary school teacher, editor and chief executive of state-owned education publishing company, Learning Media says she is looking forward to a long, enjoyable summer of reading great kiwi books.

“I’m a passionate believer that good books change lives. It is therefore an honour and a pleasure to convene this year’s New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards judging panel.

”I’ll be on the lookout for books that capture my imagination; books that entice and teach; books with characters that draw me in and leave me wanting more.”

Two other children’s literature experts join Ms Candler on the judging panel: school curriculum advisor, librarian and bookseller Annemarie Florian and award-winning writer and illustrator Bob Kerr.

Together they will read more than 130 books in the search for the best of this country’s children’s books - across all age groups - published in 2011.

They will be choosing finalists, and ultimately winners across five categories: picture book, non-fiction, junior fiction, young adult fiction and best first book.

Each Category Award winner receives $7,500. The winner of the New Zealand Post Children’s Book of the Year Award takes home an additional $7,500.  The winner of the Best First Book Award and the Children’s Choice Award receive prize money of $2,000 each.

New Zealand Post sponsors the book awards
New Zealand Post is proud to be principal sponsor of the New Zealand Book Awards and the Children’s Book Awards.  New Zealand Post is committed to promoting and assisting literacy in our communities and supporting excellence in literature.  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 2012 are also funded by Creative New Zealand.  The Awards are overseen by the New Zealand Post Book Awards Governance Group, administered by Booksellers NZ and supported by the New Zealand Society of Authors and Book Tokens (NZ) Ltd.

Key dates: New Zealand Post Book Awards
Key dates: New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards

About the New Zealand Post Book Awards judges

Chris Bourke
Mary Egan
Paula Green
David Eggleton

Reina Whaitiri
Te Reo Advisor : Paora Tibble

Chris Bourke is a Wellington writer, music historian and radio producer.  His book Blue Smoke: the Lost Dawn of New Zealand Popular Music 1918-1964 (Auckland University Press, 2010) won the Book of The Year prize at the 2011 New Zealand Post Book Awards, as well as the award for the best general non-fiction book and the People’s Choice award.

Bourke began the book while he was the National Library Research Fellow for 2006, and wrote much of it as the University of Waikato’s writer-in-residence in 2008.  His first book Crowded House: Something So Strong was published in 1997 by Pan Macmillan Australia.

Bourke was the producer of Radio New Zealand National’s Saturday Morning programme, hosted by Kim Hill and John Campbell.  He has also been a staff writer – and arts and books editor –at The Listener, the editor of Pacific Wave, and in the mid 1980s was the editor of Rip It Up.  He graduated from Victoria University in 1983 with a Bachelor of Music degree in the history and literature of music.

Mary Egan has worked in the New Zealand book industry for over 30 years.  Starting as a librarian, she quickly became a book buyer for an independent bookshop and then transitioned into the world of publishing.  In the last 20 years she has designed and typeset books by hundreds of authors, including Michael King, Maurice Gee and Patricia Grace.  She has produced work for many publishers including Penguin New Zealand, Oxford University Press and Reed Elsevier.

Mary has owned and managed two successful book production companies, has packaged numerous books and acted as publisher for dozens of others.  Her latest venture sees her working with self-publishers.  Mary has had two books published by Penguin New Zealand, both about dogs.

Paula Green is a poet, anthologist and children’s author. She has written seven volumes of poetry including two for children. Her latest book, 99 Ways into New Zealand Poetry (co-written and edited with Harry Ricketts) was shortlisted for the 2011 New Zealand Post Book Awards in the Nonfiction category. She is currently editing an anthology of New Zealand love poems.

She is the New Zealand Herald poetry reviewer (along with fiction from home and abroad). She has a Doctorate in Italian literature from the University of Auckland where she was a Literary Fellow in 2005. She edited Best New Zealand Poems and was judge of the New Zealand Post Secondary School Poetry Competition in 2008.

David Eggleton is a Dunedin-based poet, critic, writer and freelance journalist whose reviews, articles, essays and short stories have appeared in a large number of New Zealand publications since the late 1980s. 

He is a six-time winner of the NZBPA Reviewer of the Year Award, most recently at the 2009 Zealand Post New Zealand Book Award.  He has had six books of poems and a book of short fiction published, as well as several works of non-fiction, including Ready to Fly: the Story of New Zealand Rock Music, Into the Light: a History of New Zealand Photography, and Towards Aotearoa: A Short History of Twentieth Century New Zealand Art.  He is currently the editor of Landfall, and Landfall Review Online.

Reina Whaitiri of Kai Tahu, has taught English literature at the University of Auckland and the University of Hawaii at Manoa.  She has co-edited three volumes of work featuring work by Maori and Pacific Island writers: Homeland – New Writing from America, the Pacific, and Asia co-edited with Robert Sullivan, Whetu Moana - Contemporary Polynesian Poems in English, co-edited with Robert Sullivan and Albert Wendt which won the 2004 New Zealand Book Award for Reference and Anthology, Mauri Ola, also co-edited by Robert Sullivan and Albert Wendt,  a follow-up anthology to Whetu Moana and was a finalist in the 2011 New Zealand Post Book Awards poetry category.

Reina writes on and researches Maori and Pacific literature.  She is currently working on a new anthology of Maori poetry with Robert Sullivan.

Since returning from Hawaii Reina has been involved with mentoring emerging writers and was the judge of the short story in English category at the 2011 Huia Publishers Writing Awards.

Reina is retired from teaching and lives in Auckland with her partner, Albert Wendt.  She continues to write.

Te Reo Advisor : Paora Tibble is the reo Māori writer at Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand.  Passionate about reading, Paora has a special interest in young adult fiction.  

For ten years, Paora was an editor of Māori language resources at Learning Media Ltd. He has edited reo Māori journals such as He Kohikohinga, Te Tautoko and Te Wharekura. He has also edited and written for Toi Te Kupu (a reo Māori, full colour, bi-monthly newspaper for secondary school students).

Paora was the inaugural Kāpiti Island writer in residence 2008. His book, Ko Anu me Ōna Hoa is popular amongst kura kaupapa Māori children.

Paora’s iwi are Ngāti Porou, Te Whānau-a-Apanui, Ngāti Tūwharetoa me Ngāti Raukawa.

About the New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards judges

Gillian Candler
Bob Kerr
Annemarie Florian

Gillian Candleris an independent Education and Publishing Consultant.  While mostly focussed on advising publishers and educational institutions about strategy, she sees that her work as a publishing consultant is ultimately about getting the best writing and books to young people. As an education consultant she ensures that young people have the skills to read and benefit from them.

She believes good literature, both fiction and non-fiction has the power to change lives and that te reo Maori and Pacific languages need to be nurtured.

Gillian has been a secondary school teacher, an editor and chief executive of state-owned education publishing company Learning Media.  As an editor she developed books for pre-school children, as well as School Journal spin-offs such as Connected and Choices.  As chief executive she was responsible for books and resources in te reo Maori and Pacific languages as well as those in English.  Many of the books and digital resources that she was responsible for have won awards.  She has taken part in the Frankfurt and London Book Fairs and presented at International Reading Association conferences for school teachers in New Zealand, Australia, and North America.
 
Gillian has been judge of the CLL Education Publishing Awards in 2010 and 2011.  She speaks and reads German and, with her German husband Olaf, has raised her son to be bilingual.  Gillian loves reading, enjoys book group discussions, has thousands of books in her home and reads e-books when she is travelling.

Bob Kerr is a writer illustrator and painter who lives in Wellington.  He started publishing picture books when his children were young.  As they grew up he moved onto short stories and junior novels and now that he has a brand new grandchild he is back to reading board books.

Along the way his books have been recognised with numerous prizes.  His picture book Mechanical Harry won the 1997 Children's Choice Award and his picture history of small town New Zealand, After The War, won the Russel Clark Award in 2001.

He has been a past judge of the New Zealand Post Book Awards so he knows how important these awards are in promoting and publicising New Zealand books.

Bob has an interest in New Zealand history and perhaps his best known illustration is on the cover of Michael King's Penguin History of New Zealand.   His most recent book was collaboration with historian David Grant, Field Punishment Number One.

Annemarie Florian has been involved with the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards from their inception; both at the grass roots level as a coordinator, creating and organising activities for the Northland region, and for many years as the independent bookseller representative on the Management Committee responsible for its guidance and overall development.  She embraces such community work as an exhausting and ultimately enthralling aspect of bookselling, since it touches on everything she espouses: “No matter what your role in life, I think ‘community’ needs to be at the core of everything.”

Annemarie brings a wealth of experience to her role as judge.  She has previously worked both in New Zealand and Canada, as a curriculum designer and education librarian; and for the past many years has operated Storytime: Award-Winning Books & Toys, the “magical” Whangarei-based children’s bookstore.  She has previously convened the Russell Clark Award for LIANZA, the Library and Information Association of New Zealand/Aotearoa and is author of Time to Sleep and Books for Babies.  Annemarie is mother to two adult daughters and is a grandmother as well.