Leading Academic Convenes Montana New Zealand Book Awards 2009

January 29, 2009 at 1:48 pm | Posted in Book Awards, Books, Events, Fiction, Montana Book Awards, New Zealand, Non-Fiction | 2 Comments

image - mark willams

image - jane westawayimage - margo whiteA senior academic will lead the judging panel in the country’s most prestigious book awards this year.

Mark Williams, author and professor of English at Victoria University will judge the 2009 Montana New Zealand Book Awards together with award-winning writer, reviewer and editor, Jane Westaway and literary critic, journalist and editor, Margo White.

This year’s judging panel say the field is rich with established and new writers and there is an especially large number of beautifully produced books to consider.

‘We are looking for excellence across the whole range of New Zealand books dealing with subjects as various as art, cooking, war, gardening, and gay lifestyles.

‘With around 215 books to read and 15 separate prizes to award, we have full reading schedules. We are advised by experts in each of the eight main categories: fiction, poetry, history, biography, reference and anthology, lifestyle and contemporary culture, illustrative, and environment…The judges’ responsibilities are collective and we shall all read and, together with our advisors, debate our judgments across the whole range of books submitted,’ says convenor, Mark Williams.

In selecting finalists and winners, judges take into account each book’s enduring literary merit and overall authorship; quality of illustration and graphic presentation; production values, general design and the standard of editing and the impact of the book on the community, with emphasis on issues such as quality, topicality, public interest, entertainment, cultural and educational values and life span of the book.

The 2009 Montana New Zealand Book Awards category advisors are:

  • Fiction: Tina Shaw is a novelist, short story writer, editor and reviewer
  • Poetry: Bernadette Hall is an award-winning poet, essayist, editor, reviewer and creative writing tutor.
  • Biography: Philip Norman is a freelance composer, author and biography category winner (2007) in the Montana New Zealand Book Awards.
  • Environment: Geoff Chapple is a writer, editor, former Montana New Zealand Book Awards judge and former winner of the award’s environment category.
  • Reference and Anthology: Anna Rogers is a freelance book editor and writer.
  • History: Tim Beaglehole Emeritus Professor, MA PhD. Chancellor, Victoria University and published writer.
  • Lifestyle and Contemporary Culture: Charmian Smith is feature writer and food and wine editor at the Otago Daily Times.
  • Illustrative: Dr T L Rodney Wilson is recently retired director of the Auckland War Memorial Museum and a former Montana New Zealand Book Awards judge.
  • Te Reo Advisor: Hone Apanui is a widely respected Maori linguist, teacher and publisher.

The skills and experience of the panel and category advisors ensures the judging of the 13th Montana New Zealand Book Awards will be robust.

This year’s finalists will be announced on Tuesday, 2 June.

The winners will be announced at a gala dinner held at the Auckland War Memorial Museum on Monday 27 July.

The winner of the poetry category will be announced on Montana Poetry Day, Friday 24 July.

Source: Media Release – Montana Book Awards


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  1. Its seems a strange selection of topics…?

  2. Looks like you have a good list of panel and advisory members there. Good luck to everyone who will be nominated for an award!

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