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​Praised and popular books nominated for 2024 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards

Praised and popular books nominated for 2024 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards

Bestselling and critically acclaimed works of fiction, illuminating poetry collections, absorbing memoirs, and books that explore our whenua, flora and fauna feature alongside those that celebrate our culinary and artistic heroes and heroines in the 2024 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards longlists announced today.

Twelve of the 44 longlisted books are by first-time authors, and they are published by a record number of 20 individual publishing houses across the motu.

New Zealand Book Awards Trust Te Ohu Tiaki i Te Rau Hiringa chair Nicola Legat says this year’s longlist, selected from 171 entries, is a testament to the creativity and research skills of their authors, and to the willingness of publishers to take risks and back their writers.

“It’s a thrill to read this longlist and see both the high number of first-time writers, represented in every category, and the spread across a very wide group of publishers. A powerful and impressive list studded with books that entertain readers and offer important insights into our world has been put before our judges for consideration,” she says.

The 2024 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards longlisted titles are:

*Represents debut authors.

Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction

A Better Place by Stephen Daisley (Text Publishing)

Audition by Pip Adam (Te Herenga Waka University Press)

Backwaters by Emma Ling Sidnam (Text Publishing)*

Bird Life by Anna Smaill (Te Herenga Waka University Press)

Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton (Te Herenga Waka University Press)

Lioness by Emily Perkins (Bloomsbury Publishing)

Pet by Catherine Chidgey (Te Herenga Waka University Press)

Ruin and Other Stories by Emma Hislop (Kāi Tahu) (Te Herenga Waka University Press)*

Signs of Life by Amy Head (Te Herenga Waka University Press)

Turncoat by Tīhema Baker (Raukawa te Au ki te Tonga, Ātiawa ki Whakarongotai, Ngāti Toa Rangatira) (Lawrence & Gibson)

Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry

At the Point of Seeing by Megan Kitching (Otago University Press)*

Big Fat Brown Bitch by Tusiata Avia (Te Herenga Waka University Press)

Biter by Claudia Jardine (Auckland University Press)

Calamities! by Jane Arthur (Te Herenga Waka University Press)

Chinese Fish by Grace Yee (Giramondo Publishing)*

Root Leaf Flower Fruit by Bill Nelson (Te Herenga Waka University Press)

Say I Do This: Poems 2018–2022 by C. K. Stead (Auckland University Press)

Talia by Isla Huia (Te Āti Haunui a-Pāpārangi, Uenuku) (Dead Bird Books)*

The Artist by Ruby Solly (Kāi Tahu, Waitaha, Kāti Māmoe) (Te Herenga Waka University Press)

When I Reach for Your Pulse by Rushi Vyas (Otago University Press)

Booksellers Aotearoa New Zealand Award for Illustrated Non-Fiction

Don Binney: Flight Path by Gregory O’Brien (Auckland University Press)

Flora: Celebrating our Botanical World edited by Carlos Lehnebach, Claire Regnault, Rebecca Rice, Isaac Te Awa (Kāti Māmoe, Kāi Tahu, Waitaha, Ngā Puhi) and Rachel Yates (Te Papa Press)

Fungi of Aotearoa: A Curious Forager's Field Guide by Liv Sisson (Penguin, Penguin Random House)*

Marilynn Webb: Folded in the Hills by Lauren Gutsell, Lucy Hammonds and Bridget Reweti (Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāi Te Rangi) (Dunedin Public Art Gallery)

Ngā Kaihanga Uku: Māori Clay Artists by Baye Riddell (Ngāti Porou, Te Whānau-a-Ruataupare) (Te Papa Press)*

Our Land in Colour: A History of Aotearoa New Zealand 1860-1960 by Brendan Graham with Jock Phillips (HarperCollins NZ)

Pacific Arts Aotearoa edited by Lana Lopesi (Penguin, Penguin Random House)

Rugby League in New Zealand: A People’s History by Ryan Bodman (Bridget Williams Books)*

Sure to Rise: The Edmonds Story by Peter Alsop, Kate Parsonson and Richard Wolfe (Canterbury University Press)

Through Shaded Glass: Women and Photography in Aotearoa New Zealand 1860-1960 by Lissa Mitchell (Te Papa Press)*

General Non-Fiction Award

An Indigenous Ocean: Pacific Essays by Damon Salesa (Bridget Williams Books)

Blood and Dirt: Prison Labour and the Making of New Zealand by Jared Davidson (Bridget Williams Books)

Commune: Chasing a Utopian Dream in Aotearoa by Olive Jones (Potton & Burton)*

End Times by Rebecca Priestley (Te Herenga Waka University Press)

Laughing at the Dark: A Memoir by Barbara Else (Penguin, Penguin Random House)

Ngātokimatawhaorua: The Biography of a Waka by Jeff Evans (Massey University Press)

Ora: Healing Ourselves – Indigenous Knowledge, Healing and Wellbeing edited by Leonie Pihama (Te Ātiawa, Ngā Māhanga ā Tairi, Waikato) and Linda Tuhiwai Smith (Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Porou, Tūhourangi) (Huia Publishers)

Snorkelling the Abyss: One Woman, Striving to Survive, Fighting for Survivors by Jan Jordan (The Cuba Press)

Soundings: Diving for Stories in the Beckoning Sea by Kennedy Warne (Massey University Press)

Takahē: Bird of Dreams by Alison Ballance (Potton & Burton)

The Drinking Game by Guyon Espiner (Allen & Unwin)

The Financial Colonisation of Aotearoa by Catherine Comyn (Ngāti Ranginui) (Economic and Social Research Aotearoa)*

The Forgotten Prophet: Tāmati Te Ito and His Kaingārara Movement by Jeffrey Sissons (Bridget Williams Books)

There’s a Cure for This: A Memoir by Emma Espiner (Ngāti Tukorehe, Ngāti Porou) (Penguin, Penguin Random House)*

This year the General Non-Fiction judges have again taken advantage of their discretion to increase their longlist to 14 titles, an invitation introduced for the first time in 2023 to reflect the greater number of entries and range of genre in this category.

The 2024 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards shortlist of 16 titles (four books in each category) will be announced on 6 March. The winners, including the four Mātātuhi Foundation Best First Book Awards recipients, will be announced at a public ceremony on 15 May during the 2024 Auckland Writers Festival.

The winner of the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction will receive $65,000 in 2024 and each of the other main category winners will receive $12,000. Each of The Mātātuhi Foundation Best First Book winners (for fiction, poetry, general non-fiction and illustrated non-fiction) will be awarded $3,000.

The Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction will be judged by reading advocate and former bookseller Juliet Blyth (convenor); writer, reviewer and literary festival curator Kiran Dass; and fiction writer Anthony Lapwood (Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Whakaue, Pākehā). They will be joined in deciding the ultimate winner from their shortlist of four by an international judge.

Judging the Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry will be poet, critic and editor Erik Kennedy (convenor); poet and performance writer Tru Paraha (Ngāti Hineāmaru, Te Kahu o Torongare ki Waiomio, Ngāti Te Tarawa); and author, editor and university lecturer Dougal McNeill.

The General Non-Fiction Award will be judged by journalist and academic Jim Tully ONZM (convenor), writer, editor, broadcaster and literary festival curator Kerry Sunderland; and academic, researcher and author Rebecca Kiddle (Ngāti Porou, Ngā Puhi).

The Booksellers Aotearoa New Zealand Award for Illustrated Non-Fiction will be judged by former radio broadcaster and book reviewer Lynn Freeman (convenor); arts advocate and former festival director Marianne Hargreaves; and artist, curator and writer Ane Tonga.

The Ockham New Zealand Book Awards are supported by Ockham Residential, Creative New Zealand, the late Jann Medlicott and the Acorn Foundation, Mary and Peter Biggs CNZM, Booksellers Aotearoa New Zealand, The Mātātuhi Foundation and the Auckland Writers Festival.

Click here to find out more about the longlisted titles

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