Winners announced for the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards 2017

by The Listener / 16 May, 2017

Catherine Chidgey. Photo/Ken Downie

Author Catherine Chidgey has won the top prize at this year’s Ockham national book awards for her novel The Wish Child, a story about growing up in Nazi Germany.

Her fourth novel (published by Victoria University Press) celebrates the power of words and “exposes the fragility and strength of humanity,” the judges said at the awards held tonight at the Aotea Centre as part of the 2017 Auckland Writers Festival.

Chidgey, already winner of the Commonwealth Writers Prize, takes home the $50,000 Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize.

Ashleigh Young took out the Royal Society Te Apārangi Award for General Non-Fiction for her book of essays Can You Tolerate This?  (Victoria University Press).

Historian Barbara Brookes won the illustrated non-fiction prize for A History of New Zealand Women (Bridget Williams Books).

Andrew Johnston won the poetry prize for his “slow-burning tour de force” Fits & Starts (Victoria University Press).

Young, Johnston and Brookes each win $10,000 for their respective awards.

Earlier this year, Young also won the Yale University Windham-Campbell Prize, worth $230,000.

Young, Johnston and Brookes.

Young, Johnston and Brookes.

Four authors also won Best First Book Awards at the event:  

The Judith Binney Best First Book Award for Illustrated Non-Fiction: Ngarino Ellis for A Whakapapa of Tradition: 100 Years of Ngāti Porou Carving, 1830-1930, with new photography by Natalie Robertson (Auckland University Press).

The Jessie Mackay Best First Book Award for Poetry: Hera Lindsay Bird for Hera Lindsay Bird (Victoria University Press).

The E.H. McCormick Best First Book Award for General Non-Fiction: Adam Dudding for My Father’s Island: A Memoir (Victoria University Press).

The Hubert Church Best First Book Award for Fiction: Gina Cole for Black Ice Matter (Huia Publishers).

This year’s four main category award winners will appear at a free event at the Auckland Writers Festival: The State We’re In on Friday 19 May at 5.30pm in the Heartland Festival Room, Aotea Square.

Catherine Chidgey and Ashleigh Young are featured in the May 27 issue of the Listener, on sale Monday, May 22.


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