Prize for fiction
Bug Week & Other Stories by Airini Beautrais
A science educator in domestic chaos fetishises Scandinavian furniture and champagne flutes. A group of white-collar deadbeats attend a swinger’s party in the era of drunk Muldoon. A pervasive smell seeps through the walls of a German housing block. A seabird performs at an open-mic night. Bug Week is a scalpel-clean examination of male entitlement, a dissection of death, an agar plate of mundanity. From 1960s Wellington to post-Communist Germany, Bug Week traverses the weird, the wry and the grotesque in a story collection of human taxonomy.
Award for poetry
The savage coloniser book by Tusiata Avia 821 AVI
Kneel like a prayer full of lynching This is my God-given white 'Savage is as savage does. And we're all implicated. Avia breaks the colonial lens wide open. We peer through its poetic shards and see a savage world - outside, inside. With characteristic savage and stylish wit, Avia holds the word-blade to our necks and presses with a relentless grace. At the end, you'll feel your pulse anew.' -Selina Tusitala Marsh, New Zealand Poet Laureate 2017-19. The voices of Tusiata Avia are infinite. She ranges from vulnerable to forbidding to celebratory with forms including pantoums, prayers and invocations. And in this electrifying new work, she gathers all the power of her voice to speak directly into histories of violence.
Award for Illustrated non-fiction and Award for first book
Hiakai: modern māori cuisine by Monique Fiso 641.5 FIS
This book, ranging between history, tradition and tikanga, as well as Monique's personal journey of self-discovery, it tells the story of kai Māori, provides foraging and usage notes, an illustrated ingredient directory, and over 30 breathtaking recipes that give this ancient knowledge new life.
General non-fiction award
The dark is light enough: Ralph Hotere a biographical portrait by Vincent O’Sullivan 92 HOT
Ralph Hotere (Te Aupouri and Te Rarawa; 1931-2013) was one of Aotearoa's most significant modern artists. Hotere invited the poet, novelist and biographer Vincent O'Sullivan to write his life story in 2005. Now, this book - the result of years of research and many conversations with Hotere and his fellow artists, collaborators, friends and family - provides a nuanced, compelling portrait of Hotere: the man, and the artist.
Best first book awards
Prize for fiction
Victory Park by Rachel Kerr
Kara lives in Victory Park council flats with her young son, just making a living by minding other people's kids - her nightly smoke on the fire escape the only time she can drop her guard and imagine something better. But the truth is life is threadbare and unpromising until the mysterious Bridget moves in to the Park. The wife of a disgraced Ponzi schemer she brings with her glamour and wild dreams and an unexpected friendship. Drawn in, Kara forgets for a moment who she's there to protect.
Prize for non-fiction
Specimen: personal essays by Madison Hamill
A father rollerblading to church in his ministerial robes, a university student in a leotard sprinting through fog, a trespass notice from Pak'nSave, a beautiful unborn goat in a jar. In scenarios ranging from the mundane to the surreal, Madison Hamill looks back at her younger selves with a sharp eye. Was she good or evil? Ignorant or enlightened? What parts of herself did she give up in order to forge ahead in school, church, work, and relationships, with a self that made sense to others?