Time Out’s Kiran Dass and Unity Auckland’s Chloe Blades both announced as Ockham Fiction Champion winners

Kiran DassKiran Dass of Time Out and Chloe Blades of Unity Auckland are joint winners of the 2020 Ockhams Fiction champion promotion.

The judges said there was really nothing to separate the excellent efforts of both booksellers in promoting the four finalists for the 2020 Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction, and decided to give each of them the full value of the prize money. 

Chloe read her way through the shortlisted books during lockdown and not only posted reviews across her own and her bookshop’s platforms, she also interviewed all four finalists, the results of which were shared in Unity Auckland’s newsletter, as well as on Chloe’s personal blog and the store’s website. Her creatively curated Instagram posts in particular caught the eye of the judges. 

The sheer spread of the different media that Kiran Dass cleverly used to share her reviews and interviews with the finalists was what really impressed. Not only did she post these via Time Out’s platforms, she also promoted the books on RNZ and 95bFM slots, on Papercut Podcasts on The Spinoff (which she co-hosts), and the New Zealand Herald ran her story on the four finalists on the weekend ahead of the winners’ announcements. 

The runners-up prize of books from the Ockhams 2020 Illustrated Non-Fiction category is awarded to a team of booksellers from Vic Books in Wellington. Between them they reviewed all four books and posted the reviews weekly on Instagram and Facebook in their Shortlist Spotlights series. 

Chloe BladesThe original intention of the promotion, in its first year, was to encourage the six nominated booksellers or teams to hand-sell the shortlisted titles in-store and find innovative ways to promote them. Level 4 put paid to the former efforts but the judges were thrilled by the way all the Champions quickly adapted and took their promotions on-line.  

The campaign has proved so successful that organisers of the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards intend to repeat it next year, potentially with another of the four categories.