17 May 2021

Winner of the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction announced!

Acorn was very excited to attend the 2021 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards last week, where the winner of the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction was announced. The prize is donated by the generous Jann Medlicott, administered by the Acorn Foundation, and is valued at $57,000. Congratulations to Airini Beautrais who won for her book ‘Bug Week’. Airini is the first person to take out the category for a collection of short stories in more than a decade.

[Article from Scoop website]:

Whanganui writer Airini Beautrais has won the $57,000 Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction at the 2021 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards for her book Bug Week – the first person to take out the category for a collection of short stories in more than a decade.

Beautrais is well-known as a poet, but this is her first-ever book of fiction, published by Victoria University Press. She received the prize ahead of acclaimed novelists Catherine Chidgey and Pip Adam, both previous winners, and Brannavan Gnanalingam, shortlisted for the fiction prize in 2018. The awards ceremony, emcee’d by Jack Tame, was an Auckland Writers Festival marquee event held in the Aotea Centre on May 12.

The Fiction category’s convenor of judges, Kiran Dass, says Bug Week is a knockout from start to finish.

Casting a devastating and witty eye on humanity at its most fallible and wonky, this is a tightly-wound and remarkably assured collection. Atmospheric and refined, these stories evoke a strong sense of quiet unease, slow burning rage and the absurdly comic.”

The Awards’ guest international fiction co-judge, award-winning American novelist Tommy Orange says, “I was consistently surprised by sentences, the beauty and singular language. If the book were a bug, it would be a big one, with teeth and venom, with wings and a surprising heart, possibly several, beating on every page with life."

To read more about the winners from the night, click here

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