The 2019 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards longlist

The 2019 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards longlist has just been announced and what a fabulous, rich and diverse list it is. Ranging from The Man Who Would Not See by Rajorshi Chakraborti to Caroline’s Bikini by Kirsty Gunn, from The New Ships by Kate Duignan to All This by Chance by Vincent O’Sullivan, the judges are going to have a hard time selecting an overall winner. It’s great to see how healthy and flourishing the New Zealand fiction world is. May the best book win!

The 2019 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards for fiction (Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize) longlisted titles are:

Syndetics book coverThe man who would not see / Rajorshi Chakraborti.
“As children in Calcutta, Ashim and Abhay made a small mistake that split their family forever. Thirty years later, Ashim has re-entered his brother’s life, with blame and retribution on his mind. It seems nothing short of smashing Abhay’s happy home will make good the damage from the past. At least, this is what Abhay and his wife Lena are certain is happening. A brother has travelled all the way from small-town India to New Zealand bearing ancient – and false – grudges, and with the implacable objective of blowing up every part of his younger brother’s life. Reconciliation was just a Trojan horse. But is Ashim really the villain he appears to be, or is there a method to his havoc?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe new ships / Kate Duignan.
“Peter Collie is adrift in the wake of his wife’s death. His attempts to understand the turn his life has taken lead him back to the past, to dismaying events on an Amsterdam houseboat in the seventies, returning to New Zealand and meeting Moira, an amateur painter who carried secrets of her own, and to a trip to Europe years later with his family. An unexpected revelation forces Peter to navigate anew his roles as a husband, father and son. Set in Wellington after the fall of the Twin Towers, and traversing London, Europe, the Indian subcontinent.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMazarine / Charlotte Grimshaw.
“When her daughter vanishes during a heatwave in Europe, writer Frances Sinclair embarks on a hunt that takes her across continents and into her own past. What clues can Frances find in her own history, and who is the mysterious Mazarine? Following the narrative thread left by her daughter, she travels through cities touched by terrorism and surveillance, where ways of relating are subtly changed, and a startling new fiction seems to be constructing itself.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCaroline’s bikini : an arrangement of a novel with an introduction and some further materials / Kirsty Gunn.
“Art needs a sense of lack to bring about its own effects; where there is no feeling of need to make up a shortfall, there will be no work. Alright’ I said, ‘I’ll try…’ This is how Emily Stuart opens the intricately involved account of a classic love affair that becomes Caroline’s Bikini: a tale of hope, passion, and the power of the imagination. For they say, the story of love – or, rather, falling in love – is timeless, and that unrequited love is the most passionate of all. It’s certainly a narrative that is, in its own curious and enticing way, as old as Western literature itself.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe cage / Lloyd Jones.
“Two mysterious strangers appear at a hotel in a small country town.
Where have they come from? Who are they? What catastrophe are they fleeing?
The townspeople want answers, but the strangers are unable to speak of their trauma. And before long, wary hospitality shifts to suspicion and fear, and the care of the men slides into appalling cruelty.
Lloyd Jones’s fable-like novel The Cage is a profound and unsettling novel about humanity and dignity and the ease with which we’re able to justify brutality.”(Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Ice Shelf / Anne Kennedy.
“On the eve of flying to Antarctica to take up an arts fellowship, thirty-something Janice, recently separated, has a long night of remembrance, regret and realisation as she goes about the city looking for a friend to take care of her fridge while she’s away. En route she discards section after section of her novel in the spirit of editing until there is nothing left to edit. The Ice Shelf, a novel written as Acknowledgements, is an allegory for the dangers of wasting love and other non-renewable resources.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThis mortal boy / Fiona Kidman.This Mortal Boy
“Albert Black, known as the ‘jukebox killer’, was only twenty when he was convicted of murdering another young man in a fight at a milk bar in Auckland on 26 July 1955. His crime fuelled growing moral panic about teenagers, and he was to hang less than five months later, the second-to-last person to be executed in New Zealand. But what really happened? Was this a love crime, was it a sign of juvenile delinquency? Or was this dark episode in our recent history more about our society’s reaction to outsiders?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe imaginary lives of James Pōneke / Tina Makereti.
“The tale of James Poneke- orphaned son of a chief; ardent student of English; wide-eyed survivor. All the world’s a stage, especially when you’re a living exhibit. But anything can happen to a young New Zealander on the savage streets of Victorian London. When James meets the man with laughing dark eyes and the woman who dresses as a man, he begins to discover who people really are beneath their many guises. Although London is everything James most desires, this new world is more dark and dazzling than he could have imagined.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAll this by chance / Vincent O’Sullivan.
“If we don’t have the past in mind, it is merely history. If we do, it is still part of the present. Esther’s grandparents first meet at a church dance in London in 1947. Stephen, a shy young Kiwi, has left to practice pharmacy on the other side of the world. Eva has grown up English, with no memory of the Jewish family who sent their little girl to safety. When the couple emigrate, the peace they seek in New Zealand cannot overcome the past they have left behind. Following the lives of Eva, her daughter Lisa and her granddaughter Esther, All This by Chance is a moving multi generational family saga about the legacy of the Holocaust and the burden of secrets never shared, by one of New Zealand’s finest writers.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Due in the library shortly and already highly regarded is Majella Cullinane’s The Life of De’Ath set in Otago and the battlefields of France during World War I. It’s a searing read about deserters during the War I, and a young man struggles to find himself and break free of the social and family pressures to conform. 

 

 

Kamila Shamsie: Winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2018

Kamila Shamsie, author of Home Fire has won the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2018. The prize was previously known as the Bailey’s and the Orange Prize. The author is described as creating a book that “spoke for our times. Home Fire is about identity, conflicting loyalties love and politics.” Commended for her mastery, the book is written in five parts, each voicing their truth in the tale. Based on the struggles of Antigone who wrestled with loyalty to family or the ruling elite, this modern setting places characters sensitive to ethnicity, religion and ideologies. British Muslim characters, with family connections to extremism, face prejudice and personal dilemma in reaction to family, the state and justice.

Home fire / Shamsie, Kamila
“Isma is free. After years spent raising her twin siblings in the wake of their mother’s death, she is finally studying in America, resuming a dream long deferred. But she can’t stop worrying about Aneeka, her beautiful, headstrong sister back in London – or their brother, Parvaiz, who’s disappeared in pursuit of his own dream: to prove himself to the dark legacy of the jihadist father he never knew. Then Eamonn enters the sisters’ lives. Handsome and privileged, he inhabits a London worlds away from theirs. As the son of a powerful British Muslim politician, Eamonn has his own birthright to live up to – or defy. Is he to be a chance at love? The means of Parvaiz’s salvation? Two families’ fates are inextricably, devastatingly entwined in this searing novel that asks: what sacrifices will we make in the name of love? A contemporary reimagining of Sophocles’ Antigone, Home Fire is an urgent, fiercely compelling story of loyalties torn apart when love and politics collide – confirming Kamila Shamsie as a master storyteller of our times.” (Catalogue)

This Monday, special pre-school storytimes and kids’ press conference!

All systems are go, down at Central Library on Monday the 14th of August as the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults kicks off with a day full of exciting events. These unique awards celebrate the wonderful writers and illustrators from Aotearoa who give us so many great books to read and help to shape our identity as a country.

The day starts with three fantastic storytime sessions featuring finalists from the Book Awards so come along to hear the stories being read by their very own authors and illustrators.

9.30am-11am: Storytime sessions 

9.30am: “My Grandpa is a Dinosaur” read by Richard Fairgray and “The Day the Costumes Stuck” read by Toby Morris. Both of these books are very funny and destined to become family favourites. What would you do if your Grandpa’s pants needed tail holes? Imagine if you couldn’t get your party costume off and your parents didn’t even notice!

Continue reading “This Monday, special pre-school storytimes and kids’ press conference!”

2017 International Dublin Literary Award winner announced

Syndetics book coverThe 2017 winner of this prestigious award, The International Dublin Literary Award (previously known as the IMPAC prize) has been presented to Angolan writer Jose Eduardo Agualusa for his novel titled, A General Theory of Oblivion. Of Portuguese descent, his prize of €100,000 will be shared with his English translator Daniel Hahn.
A previous novel, published in 2006, titled The Book of Chameleons, won the International Foreign Fiction Prize in 2007.

2016 New Zealand Fiction prize winners announced

Syndetics book coverThis year’s Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize of $50,000, has been awarded to Catherine Chidgey for her novel The Wish Child. This is her fourth novel since her first, In a Fishbone Church, was published in 1998, and is thirteen years after her last novel, The Transformation.
The Hubert Church Best First Book Award for Fiction was awarded to Gina Cole for her short story collection Black Ice Matter.

 

Sebastian Barry wins 2016 Costa Book of the Year Award

Syndetics book coverThe winner of the Costa Book of the Year Award has been awarded to Sebastian Barry for his novel titled Days Without End. The Costa prize has five categories: First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book, with one of the five winning books selected as the overall Costa Book of the Year and the prize of £30,000. This is the second time Sebastian Barry has received this award, the first being in 2008 for his novel titled The Secret Scripture.
Sebastian Barry was born in Ireland in 1955. His first novel was published in 1982; this was followed by eight other novels, two volumes of poetry and fourteen plays.

2016 Ngaio Marsh Award winners announced

Syndetics book coverSyndetics book coverCongratulations to the winners of the 2016 Ngaio Marsh Award for the Best Crime Novel and Best First Novel. Paul Cleave’s ninth publication titled Trust No One was awarded the Best Crime Novel. This is the third year he has won this award. Canadian-born writer Ray Berard was awarded the Best First Novel prize for Inside the Black Horse. Berard emigrated to New Zealand 15 years ago and now lives in Christchurch.

Winner of the 2016 Dublin Literary Award announced

Syndetics book coverThis year’s Dublin Literary Award with the prize of €100,000 has been presented to Akhil Sharma for his second novel titled Family Life. This moving novel, tells the story of an Indian family who move from Delhi to New York and was thirteen years in writing. Akhil Sharma is a native of Delhi, but now lives in New York and is assistant professor of English at Rutgers University. His first novel published in 2000, titled, An Obedient Father won the PEN/Hemingway Award.

Winner of the 2016 Ockham New Zealand Book Award for Fiction announced

Syndetics book coverThis year’s Ockham New Zealand Book Award for Fiction has been won by Stephen Daisley for his novel titled Coming Rain. This is his second published novel, the first titled Traitor, was set in Gallipoli during WW1 was published in 2010. Stephen Daisley was born in Raetihi in 1956, but now lives in Western Australia. He has worked in many different occupations, from soldier to shearer.
A very atmospheric novel, Coming Rain is set in Western Australia, it is a story about hard men, hard work, friendship and a love that can change everything.

2016 International Dublin literary Award shortlist announced

Syndetics book coverTen novels have been shortlist for the year’s International Dublin Literary Award. These have been selected from novels nominated by over 130 libraries around the world, most nominating up to 3 titles.

Included in the shortlist is the 2015 Man Booker Prize winner Marlon James’s novel titled, A Brief History of Seven Killings, and the 2015 Folio Prize winner Akhil Sharma’s novel titled, Family life. Syndetics book coverThey are joined by Pulitzer Prize winner Marilynne Robinson and two debut novelists, Mary Costello from Ireland and Scholastique Mukasonga from Rwanda.

The winner of the €100,000 prize will be announced in Dublin 9th June 2016.