2014 Man Booker Prize won by Richard Flanagan

Syndetics book coverAustralian writer Richard Flanagan has been awarded this year’s prestigious literary prize, The Man Booker, for his novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North. This is his sixth novel and is based on his father’s war time experiences as a Japanese prisoner of war working on the notorious Burma Railway.
Richard Flanagan was born in 1961 Tasmania, where he still resides. He was presented with the £50,000 at a ceremony in London, for the 46th year of the prize and notably the most contentious, as this was the first year to allow entry of any novel published in English.

Winner of the 2014 Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Fiction announced

Syndetics book coverLiam McIlvanney has won the Ngaio Marsh award for his novel titled Where the Dead Men Go. This is his second published novel, following All the Colours of the Town, published in 2009.  Professor McIlvanney holds the Stuart Chair in Scottish Studies, and is the Director of Otago University’s Scottish Programme.
The book’s summary reads: “After three years in the wilderness, hardboiled reporter Gerry Conway is back at his desk at the Glasgow Tribune. But three years is a long time on newspapers and things have changed – readers are dwindling, budgets are tightening, and the Trib’s once rigorous standards are slipping. Once the paper’s star reporter, Conway now plays second fiddle to his former protégé, crime reporter Martin Moir. But when Moir goes AWOL as a big story breaks, Conway is dispatched to cover a gangland shooting. And when Moir’s body turns up in a flooded quarry, Conway is drawn deeper into the city’s criminal underworld as he looks for the truth about his colleague’s death. Braving the hostility of gangsters, ambitious politicians and his own newspaper bosses, Conway discovers he still has what it takes to break a big story. But this is a story not everyone wants to hear as the city prepares to host the Commonwealth Games and the country gears up for a make-or-break referendum on independence. In this, the second book in the Conway Trilogy, McIlvanney explores the murky interface of crime and politics in the new Scotland.” (Syndetics summary)


Four major awards for debut science fiction novel

Syndetics book coverAmerican writer Ann Leckie has been awarded the prestigious Hugo award, at the 72nd World Science Fiction convention in London, for her debut novel, Ancillary Justice, published in 2013. The first book of “Imperial Radch” space opera trilogy, this has also been awarded a Nebula award, the Arthur C. Clarke award and the British Science Fiction Association award.
Ann Leckie lives in St Louis, Missouri and has had many short stories published in various science fiction and fantasy magazines. She worked has worked as editor for the online science fiction and fantasy magazine Giganotosaurus and served for a year as vice president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

Short list for Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel

Syndetics book coverThe shortlist for the Ngaio Marsh Award for the Best Crime Fiction has been announced. Four novels have been selected from the long list of eight. They are
Joe Victim by Paul Cleave
Frederick’s Coat by Alan Duff
My Brother’s Keeper by Donna Malane
Where the Dead Men Go by Liam McIlvanney
This award, named after New Zealand’s most well-known crime writer, was established in 2010. Past winners have been Alix Bosco, Paul Thomas, Neil Cross and Paul Cleave.
The winner will be announced on 30th August 2014 and will receive $1,000 and a set of Ngaio Marsh Award novels.

Shortlist for the 2014 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award announced

Syndetics book coverTen novels have been selected from the 152 nominations for the 2014 IMPAC Dublin Award. One of the literary world’s largest annual awards, the nominations are made by 150 libraries from 39 countries. The winner will be announced on the 12th June 2014.
The short listed writers come from Holland, Australia, Bogota, Argentina, Norway, America, Malaysia, France and Ireland. A complete list of the nominations, nominating libraries, and the short list can be found at IMPAC Dublin Award, where some exciting new fiction is waiting to be discovered
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From the short list we highly recommend the Dutch writer Gerbrand Bakker’s novel, The Detour, also published with the title, Ten White Geese, he previously won this award in 2010 for his novel, The Twin, and Irish writer Donal Ryan’s The Spinning Heart.

Wellington author shortlisted for Arthur C Clarke Award

Syndetics book coverWellington based author Philip Mann, has been shortlist for the 2014 Arthur C. Clarke Award for best science fiction book of the year with his novel, The Disestablishment of Paradise: a novel in five parts plus documents.
From 121 nominations the judges’ selection of the final six did not include the new novels by Terry Pratchett, Margaret Attwood, or Kim Stanley Robinson, but included were three debut novelists.
Philip Mann has lived in New Zealand since 1969, retiring from the position of Professor of Drama at Victoria University in 1998. He is best known for his science fiction series, The Story of the Gardener, The Master of Paxwax published in 1986 and The Fall of the Families published in 1987.
The Disestablishment of Paradise is his first novel to be published since the four books in the series A Land Fit for Heroes, published from 1993 to 1996.
The winner of the Arthur C Clarke Award will be announced on 1st May 2014 in London.

Shortlists announced for 2013 Costa Book Awards

Syndetics book coverThe shortlists for the 2013 Costa Book Awards have recently been announced from a record of 617 titles submitted. The categories include the Novel award, First novel award, Biography award, Poetry award, and Children’s book award, with each having a panel of three judges. The four novels in the all female shortlist of the this award are the much acclaimed, Life after Life by Kate Atkinson, Unexpected Lessons in Love by Bernardine Bishop, who died in July of cancer, Instructions for a Heat Wave by Maggie O’Farrell, and All the Birds, Singing, the second novel from the young Australian born writer Evie Wyld.

Syndetics book coverIncluded in the first novel award is the much praised humorist novel, Marriage Material by Sathnam Sanghera. The winner of each category will receive £5,000 and the overall winner will receive £30,000, at the wards ceremony in London on 28th January 2014.

2013 Ngaio Marsh Award shortlist announced

Recently the shortlist for New Zealand’s own Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel was announced in Christchurch. This award began in 2010 to recognise and proclaim excellence in New Zealand mystery, crime and thriller writing. In association with the Christchurch Writers’ Festival Trust it is presented to the best novel published the preceding year.

Past winners have been in 2012, Neil Cross for his novel, Luther: the calling, in 2011 Paul Cleave for his novel Blood Men, and in 2010 Alix Bosco for his novel Cut & Run.

The four novels shortlisted for 2013 are The Laughterhouse by Paul Cleave, Little Sister by Julian Novitz, Faceless by Vanda Symon and Death on Demand by Paul Thomas.

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The winner will be announced on 2nd December 2013.

Kirsty Gunn wins 2013 NZ Post Book of the Year Award

Syndetics book coverKirsty Gunn has won the 2013 New Zealand Post Book of the Year and also the Fiction Award for her novel titled The Big Music. Born in 1960, she attended college in Wellington, and after graduating from Victoria University in 1982, she completed a Master of Philosophy at Oxford University. Since then she has lived in the United Kingdom and is now Professor of Writing Practice at the University of Dundee.
Her first novel Rain, published in 1994 was adapted into a successful feature film in 2001. Since then many of her short stories have been included in anthologies and she has had four other novels published, with The Boy and the Sea, winning the Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year Award in 2007, and a literary notebook titled 44 Things: a year of life at home published in 2007.

2013 New Zealand Post Book Award finalists announced

Syndetics book coverThe finalists in the New Zealand Post Book Awards have been announced. In the Fiction Category, four novels have been selected by the panel of judges chaired by John Campbell. They are The Big Music by Kirsty Gunn, In the Absence of Heroes by Anthony McCarten, The Forrests by Emily Perkins and the debut novel by Wellington writer Gigi Fenster, titled The Intentions Book.
The winners for this and other categories will be announced in Auckland on 28th August.