Ockham Book Awards: Greta & Valdin, Kurangaituku, Entanglement and A Good Winter up for fiction prize

Fiction finalists: Greta & Valdin by Rebecca K Reilly; Kurangaituku by Whiti Hereaka; Entanglement by Bryan Walpert; A Good Winter by Gigi Fenster.

The biggest night in New Zealand literature, the annual Ockham New Zealand Book Awards, kicks off at 7pm.

Sixteen writers at various stages in their careers are vying for a total prize pool of $100,000.

The most hyped category is fiction, with the $60,000 Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction at stake. Previous winners of this prestigious award are Catherine Chidgey, Becky Manawatu, Pip Adam, Dame Fiona Kidman, Stephen Daisley and Airini Beautrais.

This year’s fiction finalists are varied – debut novel Greta & Valdin from Rebecca K Reilly, a reimagined Te Arawa story, Kurangaituku by Whiti Hereaka, the time-travelling tale Entanglement by Bryan Walpert, and the psychological thriller A Good Winter by Gigi Fenster.

Fiction judging panel convener Rob Kidd said it had been a privilege to read all of the entries.

“We chose books that were so appealing and so different in their own ways.”

The finalists for the general non-fiction category are two memoirs from top fiction writers – From the Center by Patricia Grace and The Mirror Book by Charlotte Grimshaw – scientist Dave Lowe’s autobiography The Alarmist: Fifty Years Measuring Climate Change and historian Vincent O’Malley’s latest work, Voices from the New Zealand Wars / He Reo nō ngā Pakanga o Aotearoa.

Poetry finalists are: Rangikura by Tayi Tibble, Sleeping with Stones by Serie Barford, The Sea Walks into a Wall by Anne Kennedy and Tumble by Joanna Preston.

Finalists in the illustrated non-fiction category are: Dressed: Fashionable dress in Aotearoa New Zealand 1840 to 1910 by Claire Regnault, NUKU: Stories of 100 Indigenous women by Qiane Matata-Sipu, Shifting Grounds: Deep histories of Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland by Lucy Mackintosh and The Architect and the Artists: Hackshaw, McCahon, Dibble by Bridget Hackshaw.

Winners of the general non-fiction, illustrated non-fiction and poetry categories each get $10,000. Prizes of $2500 each for best first books in the categories of fiction, poetry, general non-fiction and illustrated non-fiction will also be awarded.

The awards ceremony will take place at the Q Theater in Auckland, emceed by broadcaster Jack Tame.

The New Zealand Book Awards were established in 1968 and are governed by a trust chaired by publisher Nicola Legat.

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