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

The Best First Book Awards for Non-Fiction, Poetry, and Fiction were established by the New Zealand Society of Authors with the aim of encouraging new writers and their publishers.

Again this year, they are announced simultaneously with the New Zealand Post Book Awards category finalists.

Wellington writer, Pip Adam wins the 2011 NZSA Hubert Church Best First Book Award for Fiction with her short story collection, Everything We Hoped for (Victoria University Press).

Diamond summarised Adam’s work as a powerful debut collection, taking the reader into often harrowing places where they are compelled to stay on account of the author’s lucid, controlled story-telling.

'The judges believe this new writer has a striking artistic vision, and the chops to carry off her unsentimental stories with humour and humanity.'
 
The 2011 NZSA Jessie Mackay Best First Book Award for Poetry goes to Kapiti Coast writer, former psychologist and counsellor, Lynn Jenner, for her collection, Dear Sweet Harry (Auckland University Press).

Diamond said that the judging panel found Jenner’s work to be a fascinating and quite original miscellany of lyric poems, short prose texts, historical-documentary material, and autobiographical personae – all gathered together around the historical figure of 'Dear Sweet Harry' Houdini, the exemplary escape artist and masterful illusionist.

Dunedin-based, Māori academic, Dr. Poia Rewi, wins the 2011 NZSA E.H. McCormick Best First Book Award for Non-Fiction for Whaikōrero: The World of Māori  Oratory (Auckland University Press).

The judges felt that Rewi’s book ‘managed the difficult feat of being both a valuable record and manual of Māori oratory for practitioners, and an accessible overview for anyone interested in this ubiquitous cultural practice.’

Each NZSA Best First Book Awards category winner receives $2,500.