Dunedin authors make book awards shortlist
By Otago Daily Times | Posted: Sunday June 9, 2019
Two Dunedin authors have been shortlisted in the 2019 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.
Barbara Else and David Elliot are among 29 authors whose books made the shortlist, out of a total of 164 entries.
Barbara Else is a finalist in the Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction for her book Go Girl: A Storybook of Epic NZ Women (Penguin Random House).
Go Girl introduces successful New Zealand women involved in a range of endeavours - some well known and others less so.
Each woman's story is accompanied by portraits created by New Zealand artists, and the book contains short biographies of the author and the artists.
Elliot is a finalist in the Russell Clark Award for Illustration for Oink (Gecko Press), which he wrote and illustrated.
Elliot won the Margaret Mahy Book of the Year award in 2017 for his book Snark.
A simple comic story about a busy bath time, Oink is based on the idea of intonation - how the same words (or animal noises) can mean different things depending on how they are said.
The winners in each of the six main categories - Picture Book, Junior Fiction, Young Adult Fiction, Non-Fiction, Illustration and Te Reo Maori - take home $7500 and are then in the running for the Margaret Mahy Book of the Year award and a further $7500 in prize money.
In addition, the judges will award a Best First Book prize of $2000 to a previously unpublished author or illustrator.
Judging convener Crissi Blair said the quality of submissions for the 2019 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults was impressive.
"We had serious problems selecting the finalists for each category and it was heartening to see a healthy number of submissions from mainstream, indie and self-publishers, all of which are represented in the shortlist,'' she said.
She also praised the depth of subject matter of the shortlisted books, including the strong focus on our world and what is happening to it - from climate change to diversity.
"The finalist books don't underestimate what children are capable of understanding - both intellectually and emotionally.''
A core aspect of the awards is to foster literacy and a love of reading among New Zealand children.
This involves programmes such as the Hell Reading Challenge - where children receive pizza rewards for reading - and the newly revamped Books Alive programme of events.
This will involve finalist authors and illustrators bringing the magic of books to life at sessions for school children in Hamilton, Christchurch, Dunedin and Wellington.
The winners of the 2019 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults will be announced at a ceremony in Wellington on August 7.