Ripiro Beach wins supreme 2020 Heritage Literary award

Winners of the New Zealand Heritage Literary Awards were announced last night in Christchurch.

Non-Fiction winner was Ripiro Beach: A Memoir of Life After Near Death by Caroline Barron. (Bateman Books). In 2018 Barron was a Short Prose winner in the Heritage Literary Awards with an excerpt from the book. Judges Hilary and John Mitchell said; ”Non-fiction writing and publishing in New Zealand are in a very good heart.” The Runner-up was Colin McCahon: Volumes I and II by Peter Simpson (Auckland University Press).

The Wily Publications Prize for Canterbury/West Coast Non-fiction book went to Llew Summers: Body and Soul by John Newton (Canterbury University Press). 

Fiction winner: All the Way to Summer by Fiona Kidman (Vintage Penguin Random House).

Fiction runner-up; Soldiers by Tom Remiger (Text Publishing). Fiction judge Dr Maxine Alterio said her chosen books “stayed with me due to the quality of the writing, impressive character development and intriguing storylines with emotional depth.”

Two new categories were introduced this year, Te Reo books and Children’s books. Te Reo Winners were, Whakarongo ki ō Tūpuna by Darryn Joseph (Oratia Books) which won the Tamariki (children’s ) section, and Haare Williams: Words of a Kaumātua edited by Witi Ihimaera (Auckland University Press) in the Pakeke (adult) section. Judge Dr Hana O’Reagan said “not only will they undeniably add to the richness of literature available to those hungry for Te Reo, but they will almost certainly help inspire others to follow suit.”

Children’s winner was The Adventures of Tuapaia by Courtney Sina Meredith and Mat Tait (Allen and Unwin) and the runner-up was Lost Wonders: Vanished Creatures of Aotearoa by Sarah Ell, illustrations by Phoebe Morris (Allen and Unwin). Commenting on the range and diversity of the books submitted, judge James Norcliffe said, “This has been a valuable and overdue innovation.”

The short prose winner was The Tearooms written by Mandy McMullin, runner-up A Season of Seven Summers by Nod Gosh. This category was judged by 2020 NZ Book Awards Winner Becky Manawatu who said, “the most compelling stories for me were those which brought characters and an event to life on the page, quickly and unpretentiously.”

Poetry Winner, Hiruhārama by Gregory Dally. Runner-up Reg Lee by Kay McKenzie Cooke. Judge Teoti Jardine said, “under the kaupapa of heritage, a wide range was covered, from distant past to present day, revealing each poet’s memories, influences and disposition.”