Scoop Review of Books

Archive for July, 2009

Reviewer of the Year: Judges’ Report

Book Publishers Association of New Zealand Reviewer of the Year Award & Best Review Page or Programme Award 2009 Judges’ Report

Judges 2009 – Stephen Stratford and Morrin Rout

Writers, publishers and booksellers are wholly dependent on readers and in a time of competing entertainment options, readers rely more and more on the information given by reviews to inform them about what’s been published and which book to spend their time and money on. The editors of review
pages are constantly under pressure for space so it is greatly to their credit that they fight to maintain the variety of books and quality of writing that were exhibited in the submissions.

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Trevelyan Wins Three Montanas


Te Papa Press, New Zealand’s only dedicated museum publisher, has received three awards at the Booksellers New Zealand conference for its biography Rita Angus: An Artist’s Life by Jill Trevelyan.

On Sunday evening Rita Angus: An Artist’s Life received the Nielsen BookData New Zealand Booksellers’ Choice Award, and last night (Monday) the judges of the Montana New Zealand Book Awards announced that the book had won both the biography category and the overall Montana Medal for Non-Fiction.

Publisher Claire Murdoch says “All of us at Te Papa Press are delighted Jill has received these honours. From the first germ of an idea, her book was a winner for us – and as the book’s many readers know, Jill’s careful research and subtle writing have brought us to a new understanding of this enigmatic New Zealand artist and her powerful, moving paintings.

The booksellers’ choice award is a particularly important acknowledgement to us because without the love of real, live readers and front-line sales staff, a good book can die a lonely death on the shelves. Thanks to this award, we know Jill’s biography was more than just a good book. to those important experts.”

Philip Norman, the Montana New Zealand Book Awards’ biography category advisor, says Jill’s book helps establish Angus’s “rightful place as a principal figure in the history and development of New Zealand art.”

The judges went on to describe Jill’s writing as “elegant and lucid” and the book overall as “another tribute to Te Papa Press’s high production values.”

Together the three awards carry a combined $17,500 prize for the author.

Rita Angus: An Artist’s Life is also receiving compliments from the critics. Hamish Keith in the New Zealand Listener described it as “one of the best artist biographies ever”, while Peter Simpson writing in the Sunday Star-Times called it “the best biography of a New Zealand artist published so far.”

Jill Trevelyan is also co-curator of the exhibition Rita Angus: Life & Vision which opens at Auckland Art Gallery this Saturday, 1 August. The exhibition has already been visited by over 250,000 people in Wellington, Dunedin and Christchurch. Auckland Art Gallery is its final venue.

Rita Angus: An Artist’s Life is the first and only biography of one of New Zealand’s best-loved and most significant 20th century artists. The book was published to mark the 100th anniversary of her birth. It joins several award-winning titles to come out under the Te Papa Press imprint in recent years. Eagle’s Complete Trees and Shrubs of New Zealand won the Montana Medal for Non-Fiction in 2007 and, the same year, at the Spectrum Print Book Design Awards, won the Best Illustrated Book, Best Cover, and Best Book awards. Philip Simpson’s Pohutukawa and Rata: New Zealand’s Iron-hearted Trees won the Montana Medal for Non-Fiction in 2006. Jill’s previous book, Toss Woollaston: A Life in Letters was shortlisted for the Montana Awards in 2005.

“It’s a tiny office and our award wall is getting a little crowded – but it’s a good problem to have!” says Claire.

Bornholdt Wins Montana Poetry Award

‘Talky Poems’ Win the Montana New Zealand Book Award for Poetry

“The Rocky Shore” by Jenny Bornholdt has won the 2009 Montana New Zealand Book Award for Poetry.

The six long poems that make up “The Rocky Shore” were written over the course of six years. Together, they are as much autobiographical essay as long poem, and Jenny Bornholdt’s most significant achievement to date.

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Stead Wins Montana Anthology Award

Auckland University Press Authors Win at the Montana NZ Book Awards

The Collected Poems of C K Stead, 1951–2006, selected and edited by C K Stead himself and published by Auckland University Press, has won the Reference and Anthology Award at the 2009 Montana New Zealand Book Awards.

Announcing the award at a gala ceremony in Auckland on 27 July, the judges described Stead’s Collected Poems as a major production as well as a major collection of poetry produced in this country.

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Kirsty Gunn to talk in Welli

This Place You Return To – Kirsty Gunn

Kirsty Gunn’s 1994 novella Rain catapulted her to literary prominence, and in 2007 The Boy and the Sea won Sundial Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year Award. Although she has lived and worked for many years in the UK as a writer, reviewer and writing teacher, Kirsty Gunn’s work continues to be informed by her New Zealand past. She’s back in Wellington as Creative New Zealand Writer in Residence at the Randell Cottage, and appears in conversation with Bill Manhire.

When: 3 August
Where: The Marae, Level 4, Te Papa (please note that no food may be taken onto The Marae).
Time: 12.15 – 1.15pm

The Writers on Mondays series is presented by the International Institute of Modern Letters and The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.
It is open to the public and free of charge.

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