'Auē' wins $55,000 NZ Book Award

By Te Ao - Māori News

Westport writer Becky Manawatu has won this year’s $55,000 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards’ Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction for her first novel, Auē.

The award was announced in a livestreamed ceremony earlier this evening. Manawatu came first place against veteran novelists Owen Marshall (Pearly Gates), Carl Shuker (A Mistake) and David Vann (Halibut on the Moon).

Published by Mākaro Press, the novel was described by the judges as a ‘mere pounamu’. It tells the story of orphaned Arama, who is deposited in rural Kaikōura with relatives, and his brother Taukiri, a young man fending for himself in the big smoke.

Auē takes out top prize for Ockham Book Awards - Photo / Supplied

Three Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa curators - Stephanie Gibson; Matariki Williams (Tūhoe, Te Atiawa, Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Hauiti) and Puawai Cairns (Ngāti Pūkenga, Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāiterangi) - won the Illustrated Non-Fiction Award for their work Protest Tautohetohe: Objects of Resistance, Persistence and Defiance.

Four MitoQ Best First Book Awards were also presented at the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards, each winner receiving $2,500 and a year's membership to the New Zealand Society of Authors.


Hubert Church Prize for a best first book of Fiction: Becky Manawatu for Auē (Mākaro Press)

E.H. McCormick Prize for a best first work of General Non-Fiction: Shayne Carter for Dead People I Have Known (Victoria University Press)

Jessie Mackay Prize for a best first book of Poetry: Jane Arthur for Craven (Victoria University Press)

Judith Binney Prize for a best first work of Illustrated Non-Fiction: Chris McDowall and Tim Denee for We Are Here: An Atlas of Aotearoa (Massey University Press)