Ockham NZ Book Awards Illustrated Non-Fiction Long List

As well as General Non-Fiction, the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards have a special category for Illustrated Non-Fiction. The 2020 long list for this category, which has just been announced, includes magnificently illustrated books that both inform and entertain.

The Ockham short lists will be announced on 4 March, and the final prize winners will be presented with their awards on 12 May.

Check out the titles in the Illustrated Non-Fiction Award category long list!

Crafting Aotearoa: a cultural history of making in New Zealand and the wider Moana Oceania / Chitham, Karl
“A major new history of craft that spans three centuries of making and thinking in Aotearoa New Zealand and the wider Moana (Pacific). Paying attention to Pākehā, Māori, and island nations of the wider Moana, and old and new migrant makers and their works, this book is a history of craft understood as an idea that shifts and changes over time.” (Adapted from our catalogue)

Protest Tautohetohe: objects of resistance, persistence and defiance / Gibson, Stephanie
“Aotearoa New Zealand has a long legacy of activism. This richly illustrated book brings together over 300 objects made by protestors to proclaim and symbolise their causes and their struggles. From banners to badges, t-shirts to tea towels, posters to photographs, it is a vivid reflection of 250 years of resistance and persistance.” (Catalogue)

Frances Hodgkins: European journeys
“This vivid and revealing book is published alongside a landmark exhibition focused on one of our most internationally recognized artists, Frances Hodgkins. Complete with a rich visual chronology of the artist’s encounters abroad, alongside over one hundred of Hodgkins’ key paintings and drawings, the book is an illuminating journey that moves us from place to place through the writings of a number of distinguished art historians, curators and critics.” (Adapted from our catalogue)

Funny as: the story of New Zealand comedy / Horan, Paul
“On TV, film, and live, New Zealand comedy has never been bigger. Published alongisde a major Television New Zealand documentary series, Funny As is a big, authoritative, funny history of New Zealand’s funny men and women. From capping bands to the Topp Twins, hori humour to Billy T James, Lynn of Tawa to Fred Dagg, New Zealanders have made each other laugh in ways distinctive to our peoples and our culture. In 400 pictures and a text built on deep research and over 100 interviews with comics, this book will be Funny As.” (Catalogue)

We are here: an atlas of Aotearoa / McDowall, Chris
“This compelling mix of charts, graphs, diagrams, maps and illustrations is beautiful, insightful, and enlightening. It helps us make sense of our country, to grasp its scale, diversity and intricacies, and to experience feelings of connection to land, to place, to this time in our history, and to one another. By making data visible, each graphic reveals insights: Who visits us? How many fish are in the sea? How do we hurt ourselves? Where do our cats go to at night?  Essays by some of New Zealand’s best thinkers complete the package.” (Adapted from our catalogue)

Louise Henderson: from life
“This is the first major survey of the life and work of French-born, New Zealand artist Louise Henderson (1902-1994). Featuring work from across Henderson’s seven-decade career, the book and accompanying exhibition trace the development of the artist’s bold and colourful abstract style. Henderson worked alongside other major figures including Rita Angus, John Weeks, Colin McCahon and Milan Mrkusich and was one of the first New Zealand artists to commit herself to an overtly modern style.” (Adapted from our catalogue)

McCahon country / Paton, Justin
“In this landmark book, celebrated writer and curator Justin Paton takes readers on a journey through the landscape of Aotearoa, as the artist loved and painted it. From Otago to Canterbury, Takaka to Taranaki, Muriwai to Northland and many more places in between, Paton brings his curator’s eye to a selection of nearly 200 of McCahon’s paintings and drawings, including iconic and beloved works and others never before published.” (Adapted from our catalogue)

Colin McCahon: there is only one direction. Vol. I 1919-1959 / Simpson, Peter “In the first of a two-volume work chronicling 45 years of painting by New Zealand artist, Colin McCahon, leading McCahon scholar, writer, and curator Peter Simpson chronicles the evolution of McCahon’s work over the artist’s entire career. Each volume includes over 300 colour illustrations, with a selection of reproductions (many never previously published), plus photographs, catalogue covers, facsimiles and other illustrative material.” (Adapted from our catalogue)

The meaning of trees / Vennell, Robert
“This treasure of a book pays homage to New Zealand’s native plant species while telling the story of plants and people in Aotearoa. Beautifully illustrated with botanical drawings, paintings and photographs, it shows us how a globally unique flora has been used for food, medicine, shelter, spirituality and science. From Jurassic giants to botanical oddballs – these are our wonderful native and endemic plants.” (Adapted from our catalogue)


The New Photography: New Zealand’s First-generation Contemporary Photographers / McCredie, Athol
“Athol McCredie is a leading NZ photography curator and in this beautiful book he tells the story of the beginning of contemporary/art photography in Aotearoa. Photographers discussed include Gary Baigent, Max Oettli, and Ans Westra.” (Adapted from Fishpond)

Ockham NZ Book Awards General Non-Fiction Long List

The 2020 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards long list has been announced and contains a myriad of marvelous books in the General Non-Fiction Award category. It is heartening to see such a fantastic list of true stories that are ours and that have enriched our lives and nation.

The short list will be announced on 4 March, and the final prize winners will be presented with their awards on 12 May.

Check out all the titles – we have them all in our libraries –  in the General Non-Fiction Award category long list here:

Women mean business: colonial businesswomen in New Zealand / Bishop, Catherine
“From Kaitaia in Northland to Oban on Stewart Island, New Zealand’s nineteenth-century towns were full of entrepreneurial women. Then, as now, there was no typical businesswoman. They were middle and working class; young and old; Māori and Pākehā; single, married, widowed and sometimes bigamists. Their businesses could be wild successes or dismal failures, lasting just a few months or a lifetime.” (Adapted from our catalogue)

Dead people I have known / Carter, Shayne
“In Dead People I Have Known, legendary New Zealand musician Shayne Carter tells the story of a life in music, taking us deep behind the scenes and songs of his riotous teenage bands Bored Games and the Doublehappys and his best-known bands Straitjacket Fits and Dimmer. He traces an intimate history of the Dunedin Sound and his own life in a frank, moving, and often funny autobiography.” (Adapted from our catalogue)

Dead letters: censorship and subversion in New Zealand, 1914-1920 / Davidson, Jared
“Intimate and engaging, this dramatic narrative weaves together the personal and political, bringing to light the reality of wartime censorship. In an age of growing state power, new forms of surveillance and control, and fragility of the right to privacy and freedom of opinion, Dead Letters is a startling reminder that we have been here before.” (Adapted from our catalogue)

Shirley Smith: an examined life / Gaitanos, Sarah
“Shirley Smith was one of the most remarkable New Zealanders of the 20th century, a woman whose life-long commitment to social justice, legal reform, gender equality, and community service left a profound legacy. Her life was shaped by some of the most turbulent currents of the 20th century, and she in turn helped shape her country for the better.” (Adapted from our catalogue)

Wild honey: reading New Zealand women’s poetry / Green, Paula
“Highly regarded poet and anthologist Paula Green is the author of this much overdue survey of New Zealand’s women poets. The selection is generous, the tone is at times gentle and accessible, and Green’s reach is wide.” (Adapted from our catalogue)

Finding Frances Hodgkins / Kisler, Mary
“When Frances Hodgkins first left New Zealand in 1901, location became a key factor in her determination to succeed as an artist. In this engaging book, Mary Kisler follows in Hodgkins’ footsteps through England, France, Italy, Morocco, Spain and Wales to discover the locations in which Hodgkins constantly pushed her exploration of modernism. Warm, insightful, fresh, expert and richly illustrated with more than 70 artworks, this handsome book sheds new light on Hodgkins’ life, art and social milieu.” (Adpated from our catalogue)

Towards the mountain: a story of grief and hope forty years on from Erebus / Myles, Sarah
“Marking the 40th anniversary of the Erebus disaster, this is the first book on that tragedy written by a member of one of the affected families.” (Catalogue)

The New Zealand Wars  Ngā Pakanga o Aotearoa / O’Malley, Vincent
“Vincent O’Malley’s new book provides a highly accessible introduction to the causes, events and consequences of the New Zealand Wars. The text is supported by extensive full-colour illustrations as well as timelines, graphs and summary tables.” (Adapted from our catalogue)

Fifteen million years in Antarctica / Priestley, Rebecca
“Fifteen Million Years in Antarctica offers a deeply personal tour of a place in which a person can feel like an outsider in more ways than one. With generosity and candour, Priestley reflects on what Antarctica can tell us about Earth’s future and asks: do people even belong in this fragile, otherworldly place?” (Adapted from our catalogue)

Whale oil / Thomson, Margie
“The shocking, and completely true story of blogger Cameron Slater known as Whale Oil and his systematic online attack of Auckland businessman Matt Blomfield that destroyed Blomfield’s reputation and career and turned him into a social outcast. Blomfield spent seven years and hundreds of thousands of dollars taking a defamation case against Slater, which he ultimately won, establishing that Slater’s vendetta was based entirely on lies. This book is a remarkable piece of investigative writing, a story of courage and tenacity, which reminds us how important it is to stand up to bullies, and to be reassured that in the end they do not always win.” (Adapted from our catalogue)

A Feast of Fantastic Non-Fiction! Baillie Gifford Prize Shortlist Announced

The Baillie Gifford Prize (formerly known as the Samuel Johnson Prize) is the UK’s premier non-fiction book award. It covers all non-fiction in the areas of current affairs, history, politics, science, sport, travel, biography, autobiography, and the arts. Books that make its long list are always fascinating and the winners are consistently readable, compelling, and thought provoking.

Past winners include Serhii Plokhy’s Chernobyl (2018),  How to Survive a Plague by David France (2017), East West Street by Philippe Sands (2016), and Steve Silberman’s Neurotribes (2015).

The short list for 2019’s award was announced on October 22nd and includes rich pickings on an eclectic range of topics including murder, Maoism, biography, and family mysteries. It is also noteworthy that five of the six authors to make the short list are women, a conspicuous milestone for a prize whose long  lists and winners in the past have been predominantly male.

Here are the six fabulous finalists:

Furious hours: murder, fraud, and the last trial of Harper Lee/Cep, Casey N.
Willie Maxwell was a preacher accused of murdering his first wife in 1970. Over the next few years, other family members suspiciously died, each with life insurance policies taken out by Maxwell. With the help of a clever lawyer Maxwell escaped justice for years. Cep brings this gripping story to life along with a vivid account of Harper Lee’s quest to write another book after To Kill a Mockingbird, and her struggle with fame,and the mysteries of artistic creativity.

On chapel sands: my mother and other missing persons / Cumming, Laura
This is a book of mystery and memoir as prize-winning author Laura Cumming takes a close look at her family story. Two narratives run through it – her mother’s childhood tale (as a child she was kidnapped) and Cumming’s own pursuit of the truth. Above all, Cumming discovers how to look more closely at the family album finding crucial answers, captured in plain sight at the click of a shutter. (Adapted from our catalogue)

The Lives of Lucian Freud : The Restless Years, 1922-1968 / Feaver, William
Lucian Freud was one of the most influential figurative painters of the 20th century. He had ferocious energy, worked day and night and his social circle was broad including royals, drag queens, fashion models, and gangsters like the Kray twins. Rebellious, charismatic, extremely guarded about his life, he was witty and a womanizer. This is an intimate, lively and rich book, full of gossip and stories about people, encounters, and work. (Adapted from our catalogue)

Maoism : a global history / Lovell, Julia
It may seem that China has long abandoned the utopian turmoil of Maoism in favour of authoritarian capitalism, but Mao and his ideas remain central to the People’ Republic and the legitimacy of its communist government. The need to understand the political legacy of Mao remains vital. In this new history, acclaimed historian Julia Lovell revaluates Maoism, analysing both China’s engagement with the movement and its legacy on a global canvas. This is the definitive history of global Maoism. (Adapted from our catalogue)

The five : the untold lives of the women killed by Jack the Ripper / Rubenhold, Hallie
Debates have long raged about Jack the Ripper’s identity, but what about the identity of his victims? Hallie Rubenhold reveals that they were not prostitutes, as we’ve always been told, but women going about their business – one ran a coffeehouse, another worked at a printing press, yet another lived on a country estate – who sadly crossed paths with a killer. As Rubenhold sets the record straight, she reveals a world  of poverty, homelessness and rampant misogyny. (Adapted from our catalogue)

Guest House for Young Widows / Moaveni, Azadeh Azadeh Moaveni’s book is a sensitive account of 13 women who left their homes in different countries to join Isis. It explores the backgrounds of the women and the consequences of their choice to become Isis wives. Each woman ends up in devastating situations and Moaveni, a past Pulitzer Prize finalist, skillfully treads the fine line between exploring empathy for the women and the thorny subject of their culpability in wider terrorism. The women include former FBI agent Daniela Greene who married the IS member she was investigating and Shamima Begum the teenager who was villified by the UK press and was eventually stripped of her UK citizenship. This is a powerful book that uses the small stories of several women to explore the bigger picture of ISIS and it’s impact on the world. (WCL does not currently have a copy of this book)