So who were the notable winners at the Montana Book Awards (notable in that I actually managed to make a note of what they said)?
Readers’ Choice Award:
The 10 pm question by Kate de Goldi, who thought it was amazing to be asked to the grown-up table and then get dessert. Also a great night for Longacre, who had the two runners up in the Fiction category and the best dressed publisher.
New Zealand Society of Authors Best First Book Award
The rehearsal by Eleanor Catton, who beamed in from Iowa in both senses of the word and whose mind was boggled by the fact that “there exists an award for first time authors”.
Perkins also won the Montana Medal for Fiction or Poetry and shared the best-dressed author kudos with Jill Trevelyan, who won the Biography category and the Montana Medal for non-fiction for Rita Angus: An artist’s life. Trevelyan noted that there would never have been a book if Rita Angus hadn’t written letters to Douglas Lilburn, if the famously private Lilburn hadn’t kept them and the Alexander Turnbull Library hadn’t both preserved them and made them accessible.
Lifestyle and Contemporary Culture
Ladies a plate: traditional home baking by Alexa Johnston, who thanked Montana for “giving us wine and giving us money”, as well as her mother and her husband and the bakers who created our history.
Len Castle: making the molecules dance by Len Castle, who said the book gods had been kind, but so they should be to a man who has been a giant of New Zealand artistry and craftsmanship for over 60 years. He mentioned the wonderful Lopdell House Gallery in Titirangi, which reminded me of what a great gallery it is, and lead me to resolve to drop by next time I’m out that way searching for the West’s house.
And the Robyn Stewart kiss of death record? Not so bad this year.