Scoop Review of Books

Beckett to Judge Mansfield Award

Students entering stories for this year’s BNZ Katherine Mansfield Awards will be judged by one of the country’s most commercially successful writers.

Bernard Beckett, whose young adult novel, Genesis has just been sold to a UK publisher for £100,000 ($250,000) will judge the secondary schools’ category of the nation’s most prestigious short fiction awards.

He is joined by Peter Wells judging the premier category and Elspeth Sandys as judge for the 2008 novice awards.

The opening date for submissions is 1 May and entry forms are available on-line at or from any Bank of New Zealand branch.

Bank of New Zealand head of Corporate Relations, Fiona Cooper Clarke says this year’s stellar judging panel reflects the level of success to which winning entrants can aspire.

‘The theme for this year’s Awards is ‘conquering the blank page is the first step to success’. We could not ask for better role models than our judges this year; each of them award-winning writers.’

The awards comprise three categories: premier with a prize value of $10,000, novice worth $1,500 and the young writer category which is open to secondary school students and carries a prize of $1,500 and the same amount for the winner’s school.

In addition to the cash prize, the premier winner joins a veritable who’s who of the New Zealand writing community. Former winners of this prize include CK Stead, Vincent O’ Sullivan, Maurice Shadbolt, Frank Sargeson and Keri Hulme.

Entries close on 30 June 2008.

The Bank of New Zealand Katherine Mansfield Awards are New Zealand’s longest running creative writing awards. The Awards commemorate New Zealand’s best known writer, and help New Zealand writers achieve recognition in their own country.

The Bank has sponsored the awards since their inception in 1959; Sir Harold Beauchamp, Katherine Mansfield’s father was the first Bank of New Zealand Chairman of Directors, a position he held for seventeen years.

The award winners’ will be announced at a ceremony in October.