New Zealand Post Book Awards 2010 – have your say

The New Zealand Post Book Awards (formerly the Montana New Zealand  Book Awards) have just been announced.
We’ve got a page listing the finalists.

The Best First Book Award winners have already been revealed:

  • NZSA Hubert Church Best First Book of Fiction Award winner: Relief Anna Taylor, Victoria University Press
  • NZSA Jessie Mackay Best First Book of Poetry Award winner: Fast talking PI Selina Tusitala March, Auckland University Press
  • NZSA E.H. McCormick Best First Book of Non-fiction Award winner: Trust: A True Story of Women & Gangs Pip Desmond, Random House New Zealand

Search the catalogue for Relief Search the catalogue for Fast Talking PISearch the catalogue for Trust

It looks like New Zealand non-fiction is getting the nod with five finalists in the general and illustrated non-fiction categories, and only three each for fiction and poetry.

The famed Bookman Beattie has revealed his picks on Beattie’s Book Blog. He chooses Alison Wong As the Earth Turns Silver for the fiction category, saying “For me it was not only the best NZ novel in 2009 it was also one of the best I read from any quarter.” High praise indeed.

See also: First novel in line for award, New Zealand Herald

The People’s Choice Award offers you a chance to vote for your favourite finalist and be in to win $1,000 of Booksellers Tokens! So have a vote,  and have your say…

And the winners are…

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”.

Novel about my wife by Emily Perkins, who thanked her long-suffering partner as ‘novelists are not easy to live with”.

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.

Collected Poems, 1951 – 2006 by C.K.Stead – “I’m not sure who I am…the anonymous editor of the collected works of the late C. K. Stead?”

The rocky shore by Jenny Bornholdt, who found it odd to be in France and giving her thanks long distance.

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.

The kiss of death?

Last year every single book I picked to win a Montana book award did not. The authors may hate me for it, but I am going to bestow the kiss of death again this year, prior to heading to Auckland and the awards ceremony.

Bad behaviour has been disappointingly absent in the last few years but I have hopes for this swan song of swilling the sponsor’s products. Anyway here are my picks, based on what I want to win, authors I’ve seen and liked at book festivals and other considered reasonings of theat nature.

Fiction – The 10PM Question by Kate De Goldi  (Longacre Press)

History – First Catch Your Weka: A Story of New Zealand Cooking by David Veart (Auckland University Press)
Biography – Rita Angus: An Artist’s Life by Jill Trevelyan (Te Papa Press)
Reference and anthology – The Collected Letters of Katherine Mansfield, Volume 5: 1922 edited by Vincent O’Sullivan and Margaret Scott (Oxford University Press)
Lifestyle and contemporary culture – Ladies, A Plate: Traditional Home Baking by Alexa Johnston (Penguin Group NZ)
No picks in the Illustrative and Environment categories because I haven’t seen the books.  I’ll be reporting back on the awards ceremony but not on the night.

Crocus Hour or Ladies, A Plate?

Voting in the Montana New Zealand Book Awards is one of my favourite civic duties, but this year, my mouse is hovering between two boxes :

The Crocus Hour by Charlotte Randall
A treasure box of ex-pat angst, taut family relationships and a mystery.

Ladies A Plate:Traditional Home Baking by Alexa Johnston

Any recipe book that has the recipes that I have failed to pry out of my Mother’s hands must be a potential award winner for me, and the rich historical detail makes this the Te Papa of cookbooks.

My vote is wavering between the domestic arts and the literary arts; my heart vs.  my stomach.