New Zealand Authors Celebrated at Book Awards

The 2023 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards has crowned this year’s premier literary honours, for books written by home-grown talent.

Author, Catherine Chidgey took out the top spot for a work of fiction this year, winning the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize. Chidgey’s book, The Axeman’s Carnival is a novel narrated by Tama, a fledgling magpie taken and raided on the Te Waipounamu high country farm. The book is said to be unique, poetic, profound, and powerfully compelling.

The Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry went to Alice Te Punga Somerville for her work, “Always Italicise: How to Write While Colonised,” while Nick Bollinger won the Booksellers Aotearoa New Zealand Award for Illustrated Non-Ficton. Bollinger’s book, “Jumping Sundays: The Rise and Fall of Counterculture in Aotearoa New Zealand.

The Ockham New Zealand Book Awards are governed by the New Zealand Book Awards Trust Te Ohu Tiaki i Te Rau Hiringa (a registered charity.) 

A panel of three judges were selected to judge each individual category, with winners announced each year in collaboration with the Auckland Writers Festival.

The first New Zealand Book Awards were first presented in 1968 as the Wattie Book Awards, later known as the Goodman Fielder Wattie Book Awards, the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, and the New Zealand Post Book Awards.