Announcing the winners of the 2020 NZSA Heritage Book Awards 2020 – Winners


 Winners of the NZSA Heritage Book Awards were announced last night in Christchurch. 

The Non-Fiction winner was Ripiro Beach: A Memoir of Life After Near Death by Caroline Barron. (Bateman Books). In 2018 Barron was a Short Prose winner in these awards with an excerpt from the book. Judges Hilary and John Mitchell said, ‘Non-fiction writing and publishing in New Zealand are in a very good heart.’

The Runner-up was ‘Colin McCahon: Volumes I and II’ by Peter Simpson (Auckland University Press).

The Wily Publications Prize for Canterbury/West Coast Non-fiction went toLlew Summers: Body and Soul’ by John Newton (Canterbury University Press).

Fiction winner: All the Way to Summer by Fiona Kidman. (Vintage Penguin Random House)

Fiction runner-up: ‘Soldiers’ by Tom Remiger. (Text Publishing). Fiction judge Dr Maxine Alterio said her chosen books ‘stayed with me due to the quality of the writing, impressive character development and intriguing storylines with emotional depth.’

Dame Fiona Kidman – Fiction winner

Two new categories were introduced this year, books written in Te Reo Māori and children’s books. The inaugural Te Reo category winners were first equal, ‘Whakarongo ki ō Tūpuna’  by Darryn Joseph (Oratia Books) which won the Tamariki (children’s ) section, and Haare Williams: Words of a Kaumatura, edited by Witi Ihimaera (Auckland University Press) Pakeke (adult) section. Judge Dr Hana O’Reagan said ‘not only will they undeniably add to the richness of literature available to those hungry for Te Reo, but they will almost certainly help inspire others to follow suit.’

Children’s winner was ‘The Adventures of Tuapaia’ by Courtney Sina Meredith and Mat Tait (Allen and Unwin) and the runner-up was ‘Lost Wonders: Vanished Creatures of Aotearoa’ by Sarah Ell, illustrations by Phoebe Morris (Allen and Unwin). Commenting on the range and diversity of the books submitted, judge James Norcliffe said, ‘This has been a valuable and overdue innovation.”

2020 winners and judges

The short prose winner was ‘The Tearooms’ written by Mandy McMullin, runner-up ‘A Season of Seven Summers,’ by Nod Gosh. This category was judged by 2020 NZ Book Awards Winner Becky Manawatu who said, the most compelling stories for me were those which brought characters and an event to life on the page, quickly and unpretentiously.’

Poetry Winner, ‘Hiruhārama’ by Gregory Dally. Runner-up ‘Reg Lee,’ by Kay McKenzie Cooke. Judge Teoti Jardine said, ‘under the kaupapa of heritage, a wide range was covered, from distant past to present day, revealing each poet’s memories, influences and disposition.’


Further information: Jenny Haworth ph 027528 7257,

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