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Longlists for New Zealand’s Premier Literary Awards Revealed

Books exploring politics, fashion, social change, war, contested histories and family relationships sit alongside works celebrating our natural world and the enduring legacies of our activists and art


Books exploring politics, fashion, social change, war, contested histories and family relationships sit alongside works celebrating our natural world and the enduring legacies of our activists and artists in the longlists for the 2022 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.

Forty poetry, prose and non-fiction titles make up the longlists announced today. Selected from an impressive and highly competitive field of 160 entries, works range from deftly crafted intimate worlds to full-colour books that soar in scope and scale. Ten of the longlisted works are by first-time authors.

New Zealand Book Awards Trust spokesperson Dr Paula Morris says that each of the four longlists speak to the diversity and excellence of books published last year, with both experienced and debut writers represented.

“The range of publishers reflects the ingenuity and high quality across the industry, including the smallest of independents, and the imagination and expertise informing every aspect of our local publishing landscape.”

The 2022 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards longlisted works are:

*represents debut authors.

Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction

A Good Winter by Gigi Fenster (Text Publishing)

Aljce in Therapy Land by Alice Tawhai (Lawrence & Gibson)

Entanglement by Bryan Walpert (Mākaro Press)

Everything Changes by Stephanie Johnson (Vintage, Penguin Random House)

Greta & Valdin by Rebecca K Reilly (Te Herenga Waka University Press)*

Kurangaituku by Whiti Hereaka (Huia Publishers)

Loop Tracks by Sue Orr (Te Herenga Waka University Press)

She’s a Killer by Kirsten McDougall (Te Herenga Waka University Press)

The Pink Jumpsuit: Short Fictions, Tall Truths by Emma Neale (Quentin Wilson Publishing)

Unsheltered by Clare Moleta (Scribner Australia, Simon & Schuster)*


Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry

Bird Collector by Alison Glenny (Compound Press)

Ghosts by Siobhan Harvey (Otago University Press)

Party Legend by Sam Duckor-Jones (Te Herenga Waka University Press)

Rangikura by Tayi Tibble (Te Herenga Waka University Press)

Sea-light by Dinah Hawken (Te Herenga Waka University Press)

Sleeping with Stones by Serie Barford (Anahera Press)

The Sea Walks into a Wall by Anne Kennedy (Auckland University Press)

Tōku Pāpā by Ruby Solly (Te Herenga Waka University Press)*

Tumble by Joanna Preston (Otago University Press)

Whai by Nicole Titihuia Hawkins (We Are Babies Press)*


Booksellers Aotearoa New Zealand Award for Illustrated Non-Fiction

Bill Hammond: Across the Evening Sky by Peter Vangioni with Tony de Lautour, Rachael King, Nic Low, Paul Scofield and Ariana Tikao (Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū)

Conversātiō: In the Company of Bees by Anne Noble with Zara Stanhope and Anna Brown (Massey University Press) 

Dressed: Fashionable Dress in Aotearoa New Zealand 1840 to 1910 by Claire Regnault (Te Papa Press)

He Ringatoi o ngā Tūpuna: Isaac Coates and his Māori Portraits by Hilary and John Mitchell (Potton & Burton)

Hei Taonga mā ngā Uri Whakatipu | Treasures for the Rising Generation: The Dominion Museum Ethnological Expeditions 1919–1923 edited by Wayne Ngata, Anne Salmond, Natalie Robertson, Amiria Salmond, Monty Soutar, Billie Lythberg, James Schuster and Conal McCarthy et al (Te Papa Press)

Joanna Margaret Paul: Imagined in the Context of a Room by Lauren Gutsell, Lucy Hammonds and Greg Donson (Dunedin Public Art Gallery)

NUKU: Stories of 100 Indigenous Women by Qiane Matata-Sipu (QIANE+co)*

Shifting Grounds: Deep Histories of Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland by Lucy Mackintosh (Bridget Williams Books)*

Te Puna Waiora: The Distinguished Weavers of Te Kāhui Whiritoi by Ngāhuia Te Awekōtuku, Donna Campbell, Awhina Tamarapa and Nathan Pōhio (Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū)

The Architect and the Artists: Hackshaw, McCahon, Dibble by Bridget Hackshaw (Massey University Press)*


General Non-Fiction Award

After Dark: Walking into the Nights of Aotearoa by Annette Lees (Potton & Burton)

Bloody Woman by Lana Lopesi (Bridget Williams Books)

Come Back to Mona Vale: Life and Death in a Christchurch Mansion by Alexander McKinnon (Otago University Press)*

Enough Horizon: The Life and Work of Blanche Baughan by Carol Markwell (The Cuba Press)

From the Centre: A Writer’s Life by Patricia Grace (Penguin, Penguin Random House)

He Kupu Taurangi: Treaty Settlements and the Future of Aotearoa New Zealand by Christopher Finlayson and James Christmas (Huia Publishers)*

Helen Kelly: Her Life by Rebecca Macfie (Awa Press)

The Alarmist: Fifty Years Measuring Climate Change by Dave Lowe (Te Herenga Waka University Press)*

The Mirror Book by Charlotte Grimshaw (Vintage, Penguin Random House)

Voices from the New Zealand Wars | He Reo nō ngā Pakanga o Aotearoa by Vincent O’Malley (Bridget Williams Books)


The 2022 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards shortlist of 16 titles will be announced on 2 March.

The Awards welcomed The Crystal Arts Trust as the new sponsor for the Best First Book Awards in November last year. The Ockham New Zealand Book Awards winners, including the four Crystal Arts Trust Best First Book Awards recipients, will be announced at a public ceremony on 11 May during the 2022 Auckland Writers Festival. 

To find out more about the longlisted titles go to

The Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction, which offers $60,000 to the winner in 2022, is judged by Otago Daily Times journalist and books editor Rob Kidd; Booksellers Aotearoa’s programme coordinator and avid reader Gemma Browne; and award-winning writer and freelance oral historian/researcher Kelly Ana Morey (Ngāti Kurī, Te Rarawa, Te Aupōuri). They will be joined by an international writer in deciding the ultimate winner from their shortlist of four.

The Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry is judged by author, poet, reviewer and teacher Saradha Koirala; internationally published and award-winning poet, playwright, short story writer and novelist Apirana Taylor (Ngāti Porou, Te Whānau ā Apanui, , Ngāti Ruanui and Te Āti Awa); and writer, editor and bookseller Jane Arthur.

The Booksellers Aotearoa New Zealand Award for Illustrated Non-Fiction is judged by museum curator Chanel Clarke (Ngāpuhi, Te Rarawa, Ngāti Porou, Waikato Tainui); photographer, author and urbanist Patrick Reynolds; and former publisher and co-founder of Godwit Press Jane Connor.

The General Non-Fiction Award is judged by poet and non-fiction author, book reviewer and blogger Nicholas Reid, award-winning journalist and photographer Aaron Smale (Ngāti Porou); and poet, historian, former diplomat and Fulbright alumna Leilani Tamu.

The Ockham New Zealand Book Awards are supported by Ockham Residential, Creative New Zealand, Jann Medlicott and the Acorn Foundation, Mary and Peter Biggs CNZM, The Crystal Arts Trust, Booksellers Aotearoa New Zealand and the Auckland Writers Festival.




Further information: 

Editor’s Notes:

In order to support the generosity of the funders associated with these awards, please endeavour to use the full and correct names for each category prize, as shown in the list of finalists above, and the overall awards.

The Ockham New Zealand Book Awards are the country’s premier literary honours for books written by New Zealanders. First established in 1968 as the Wattie Book Awards (later the Goodman Fielder Wattie Book Awards), they have also been known as the Montana New Zealand Book Awards and the New Zealand Post Book Awards. Awards are given for Fiction (the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction), Poetry (the Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry) Illustrated Non-Fiction (the Booksellers Aotearoa New Zealand Award for Illustrated Non-Fiction) and General Non-Fiction. There are also four awards for first-time authors (The Crystal Arts Trust Best First Book awards) and, at the judges’ discretion, Te Mūrau o te Tuhi, a Māori Language Award. The awards are governed by the New Zealand Book Awards Trust (a registered charity). Current members of the Trust are Nicola Legat, Karen Ferns, Paula Morris, Jenna Todd, Anne Morgan, Melanee Winder, Melinda Szymanik and Richard Pamatatau. The Trust also governs the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults and Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day. 

Ockham Residential is Auckland’s most thoughtful developer. Through creating elegant and enduring buildings that are well-loved by those who make them home, Ockham hopes to enhance Auckland – and to contribute to its many communities. Founded in 2009 by Mark Todd and Benjamin Preston, Ockham supports a number of organisations in arts, science and education. These include the Ockham Collective, their creative and educational charity, the acclaimed BWB Texts series, the People’s Choice Award in New Zealand Geographic’s Photographer of the Year Award, and Ponsonby’s Objectspace gallery. But its principal sponsorship of the New Zealand Book Awards, a relationship now in its eighth year, is perhaps Ockham’s most visible contribution. Says Mark Todd: “Our communities would be drab, grey and much poorer places without art, without words, without science – without critical thought. That’s why our partnership with the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards means the world to us.”

Creative New Zealand has been a sustaining partner of New Zealand’s book awards for decades. The national arts development agency of the New Zealand government encourages, promotes and supports the arts in New Zealand for the benefit of all New Zealanders through funding, capability building, an international programme, and advocacy. Creative New Zealand provides a wide range of support to New Zealand literature, including funding for writers and publishers, residencies, literary festivals and awards, and supports organisations which work to increase the readership and sales of New Zealand literature at home and internationally.

The Acorn Foundation is a community foundation based in the Western Bay of Plenty, which encourages people to leave a gift in their wills and/or their lifetimes to support their local community forever. Donations are pooled and invested, and the investment income is used to make donations to local charities, in accordance with the donors’ wishes. The capital remains intact. Since it was established in 2003, Acorn has distributed over $10 million. Donors may choose which organisations are to benefit each year, or they may decide to leave it to the trustees’ discretion. Community foundations are the fastest growing form of philanthropy worldwide, and there are now 17 throughout New Zealand, with more in the early stages. The Prize for Fiction has been provided through the generosity of one of the Foundation’s donors, Jann Medlicott, and will be awarded to the top fiction work each year, in perpetuity. Its base figure of $50,000 in 2016 is adjusted each year, to reflect wage inflation

Mary and Peter Biggs CNZM are long-time arts advocates and patrons – particularly of literature, theatre and music. They have funded the Biggs Family Prize in Poetry at Victoria University of Wellington’s International Institute of Modern Letters since 2006, along with the Alex Scobie Research Prize in Classical Studies. They have been consistent supporters of the International Festival of the Arts, the Auckland Writers Festival, Wellington’s Circa Theatre, the New Zealand Arts Foundation, Featherston Booktown, Read NZ Te Pou Muramura, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Featherston Sculpture Trust and the Wairarapa’s Kokomai Arts Festival. Peter was Chair of Creative New Zealand from 1999 to 2006. He led the Cultural Philanthropy Taskforce in 2010 and the New Zealand Professional Orchestra Sector Review in 2012. Peter is Chief Executive of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. He was appointed a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for arts governance and philanthropy in 2013.

Founded in 1921, Booksellers Aotearoa New Zealand is the membership association for bookshops in New Zealand. This national not-for-profit trade organisation works to help independently owned and chain bookstores to grow and succeed. Booksellers Aotearoa New Zealand provides education, information, business products, and services; creates relevant programmes; and engages in public policy and industry advocacy. The association is governed by a volunteer board of booksellers.

The Crystal Arts Trust is an independent registered charitable trust dedicated to cultural philanthropy. Formed in 2021 by longstanding patrons of the arts James and Rosetta Allan, its aim is to make a difference to the future of emerging writers, visual artists, and musicians, by providing financial support at a critical time in their career. To provide enduring support, the Crystal Arts Trust plans to cultivate partnerships with an array of arts, cultural, and corporate organisations from across the country. With their backing, the trust will work to ensure that emerging artists receive the support they need to thrive, develop their career, and become commercially successful.

The Auckland Writers Festival | Waituhi o Tāmaki is the largest literary event in New Zealand and the largest presenter of Aotearoa literature in the world. Established in 1999, this annual festival hosts more than 200 writers for six days of discussion, conversation, reading, debate, performance, schools, family and free events ranging across fiction, non-fiction, poetry, music, theatre, culture, art and more. Audience attendance ranges between 65-85,000. This year’s Festival takes place 10-15 May 2022.

Contact details: 
Penny Hartill, hPR. 021 721 424;

Written by

Hartill Communications

27 Jan 2022