• You can view and purchase Massey University Press and Te Papa Press' publications on ArtNow's Art Books section.

Books that explore issues of identity, domestic life, war, food, our natural world and our people are among the 40 works of poetry, prose and non-fiction longlisted for the 2021 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards announced today.

The works, selected from 179 entries, range from intimate to global in scale and traverse cultural, historic, artistic and imagined landscapes. There are 13 first-time authors among the longlistees, a testament to the vibrancy of our country’s literature says New Zealand Book Awards trustee Jenna Todd.

“There is such vitality in this year’s longlist, demonstrated by a diverse group, and including young and first-time authors. Half of this year’s Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction longlistees are debut novelists, which is extraordinary. They sit alongside some of our greatest living writers.

“There’s a year’s worth of reading here for those seeking considered perspectives on our modern zeitgeist, for readers wanting to be wowed by the beauty of art and nature, or for those wanting to escape into imagined realities. “With writing and publishing of this calibre, it’s no surprise that New Zealand’s book boom continues.”

Revenue from sales of New Zealand-published adult books captured by Nielsen BookScan in 2020 was up 12.5 percent on the year before, despite the challenges of the pandemic. Submissions to the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards have increased by 16 percent over the last two years.

The Awards also attracted a new sponsor this year. Booksellers Aotearoa New Zealand has secured naming rights to the Illustrated Non-Fiction category for the next five years.

Booksellers Aotearoa New Zealand chair Juliet Blyth says the association – which celebrates its centenary this year – is beyond delighted to support the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards, and the authors and illustrators who contribute so much to our cultural life. “Booksellers around the country hold these awards in high esteem, and the impact the awards have on sales of New Zealand books is immediate.

“Throughout 2020, booksellers around the country enjoyed the support of many New Zealanders reading more and buying locally. We wanted to demonstrate our appreciation, on behalf of our members, by giving back to the industry, the writers, the illustrators and the publishers who have created so many wonderful stories for booksellers to put on their shelves,” says Ms Blyth.

Observations of a Rural Nurse by Sara McIntyre (Massey University Press), Shining Land: Looking for Robin Hyde by Paula Morris and Haru Sameshima (Massey University Press), Endless Sea: Stories Told Through the Taonga of the New Zealand Maritime Museum Hui te Ananui a Tangaroa by Frances Walsh and Jane Ussher (Massey University Press) and Nature — Stilled by Jane Ussher (Te Papa Press) have all been longlisted for the Booksellers Aotearoa New Zealand Award for Illustrated Non-Fiction in the 2021 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.

You can view and purchase these publications on ArtNow's Art Books section.