Call for judges of the 2020 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults

The organisers of the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults are calling for expressions of interest from members of the children’s literature community who wish to be considered as judges of the 2020 awards.

The NZ Book Awards Trust is inviting expressions of interest for judges for the 2020 NZ Book Awards for Children & Young Adults. Authors have played valuable role on past panels. The restriction of course would be that applicants should not have a children’s book published or publishing between 1 April 2019 and 31 March 2020 that is likely to be entered for the awards, or a close connection with one.

Applications opened this week and will close on November 4. They are open to all those with suitable qualifications and experience. A total of five judges will be appointed for the English language categories and will begin their reading in mid-December. The Wright Family Foundation Te Kura Pounamu Award, for books entirely written in te reo M?ori, is judged by a separate panel appointed by Te R?p? Whakahau, the national body representing M?ori within the Library and Information profession in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Catherine Robertson, chair of the children’s awards sub-committee of governing body the New Zealand Book Awards Trust, says the Trust welcomes expressions of interest from experienced members of the public as well as the literary community. “We’ve been fortunate in the past to have been able to attract fantastic judges from all over the country, with a wide range of backgrounds. They’ve included ardent readers of children’s literature as well as librarians, teachers, booksellers, reviewers and authors. It is a commitment, but previous judges have told us how rewarding it is to celebrate reading and honour the absolute best of New Zealand books for young readers.”

Crissi Blair, a highly respected reviewer and librarian, was the convenor of the 2019 judges and says of the experience, “This is definitely an experience I’d recommend to any of you who think you have the background and knowledge to apply. It’s a lot of work, but it’s a big learning experience and total thrill to see the look on the faces of the readers and the creators of the amazing finalists and winners.”

The English language judges will deliberate over an expected 150 entries in five categories: Junior Fiction (the Wright Family Foundation Esther Glen Award), Young Adult Fiction, Non-Fiction (the Elsie Locke Award), Picture Book and Illustration (the Russell Clark Award).  They will select up to five finalists in each, and also up to five Best First Book finalists, then a winner in each category.

The call for entries in the 2020 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults will go out to publishers on 20 November 2019. Finalists will be announced in early June 2020, and the awards ceremony will be held in Wellington in August.

Expressions of interest forms and background information on the judging process and judges’ responsibilities can be downloaded from the New Zealand Book Awards Trust website or supplied on request by emailing Applications must be submitted by 5pm on Monday 4 November, and should include a brief resume demonstrating the applicant’s experience for the judging role. The judging panel will be selected by the New Zealand Book Awards Trust, which comprises industry stakeholder representatives. 

The New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults are made possible through the generosity, commitment and vision of funders and sponsors Creative New Zealand, HELL Pizza, Wright Family Foundation, LIANZA, Wellington City Council, Te Papa and Nielsen Book.

Link to more information on NZ Book Awards Trust website:

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