03 Feb 2023

Ockham New Zealand Book Awards Longlist Announced for 2023!

Ockham New Zealand Book Awards Longlist Announced!

Highly personal memoir, probing political treatise and gut-punching poetry collections sit alongside trailblazing fiction and books exploring our whenua, moana, artists and entertainers in the longlists for the 2023 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.

The awards include the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction, which offers $64,000 to the winner in 2023. Generous Acorn donor Jann has been sponsoring the annual Fiction Prize since its inception in 2016, providing incredible recognition and support for New Zealand authors. Jann sadly passed away last year in August after a long battle with cancer. Jann was a passionate and avid reader.


The 2023 longlist for the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction:

  • Better the Blood by Michael Bennett (Simon & Schuster)
  • Chevalier & Gawayn: The Ballad of the Dreamer by Phillip Mann (Quentin Wilson Publishing)
  • Down from Upland by Murdoch Stephens (Lawrence & Gibson)
  • Home Theatre by Anthony Lapwood (Te Herenga Waka University Press)
  • How to Loiter in a Turf War by Coco Solid (Penguin, Penguin Random House)
  • Kāwai: For Such a Time as This by Monty Soutar (Bateman Books)
  • Mary’s Boy, Jean-Jacques and other stories by Vincent O’Sullivan (Te Herenga Waka University Press)
  • Mrs Jewell and the Wreck of the General Grant by Cristina Sanders (The Cuba Press)
  • The Axeman’s Carnival by Catherine Chidgey (Te Herenga Waka University Press)
  • The Fish by Lloyd Jones (Penguin, Penguin Random House)

The Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction will be judged by bestselling author, critic and creative writing teacher Stephanie Johnson (convenor); editor and literature assessor John Huria (Ngāi Tahu, Muaūpoko, Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō, Ngāti Rangi); and Rotorua bookseller Jemma Morrison. They will be joined in deciding the ultimate winner from their shortlist of four by an international judge.

There were 191 award entries this year – more than ever before, and an increase of 20 percent compared to 2022. Almost a third of longlistees are first-time authors – an increase from 10 debutants on the 40-strong list last year. With 19 publishers represented across all categories, the longlist’s wide distribution is a reflection of Aotearoa’s vibrant literary industry.

 “The New Zealand Book Awards Trust was thrilled by the record number of entries to the awards this year. It’s very heartening to see the longlist shared among so many publishing houses, both big and small,” says Nicola Legat, Trust chair. “When you consider that many of these books were produced and went to print during the stressful Covid restrictions of late 2021, it’s even more of an achievement. We congratulate all concerned.”

To find out more about the longlisted titles go to https://www.nzbookawards.nz/new-zealand-book-awards/2023-awards/longlist/

Keep an eye out for the shortlist, which will be announced on 8 March!

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