Finalists Announcement: Mind Body Spirit Book Awards

Depth and Breadth of Finalists’ Works Offer Insight and Hope

Books by psychotherapists, artists, environmentalists, an astrologer and a Catholic nun -about subjects as wide ranging as human consciousness, depression and creative alchemy -are among the Ashton Wylie Mind Body Spirit Literary Awards finalists announced today.

Awards’ judges’ spokesperson Linda Cassells says this year’s Book category finalists all tell compelling stories, from all genres that will be of wide appeal.

“We enjoyed the intellectual rigour of this year’s finalists’ books, particularly where spirituality overlaps with mysticism, psychology and religion. They address challenging topics including death and depression with great wisdom and insight.”

The 2020 Ashton Wylie Mind Body Spirit Book category finalists are:

  • Madeline Adams (Devonport, Auckland) The Sacred Dance of Soul: Your inner journey to empowerment (Roslyn Publishing Ltd)
  • Judith Hoch (Takaka) Prophecy on the River: My journey to Waitaha (Attar Books)
  • Hugh Major (Matakana) The Lantern in the Skull: Consciousness and marginal zones of the extraordinary (Attar Books)
  • Stephanie Sinclaire Lightsmith (Wellington) Creative Alchemy: The science of miracles (Creative Alchemy Publishing)
  • Jazz Thornton (Auckland) Stop Surviving Start Fighting (Penguin Random House New Zealand)

Ms Cassells says there was an impressive level of research shown in this year’s manuscript finalist entries.

“A fascinating range of unpublished works spanning multicultural, mystical and religious themes feature this year, many of which were reflective works in the journal/memoir genre. There were a large number of entries, which meant a high standard of care and attention to editing was needed in order to take a finalist spot.”

The 2020 Unpublished Manuscript category finalists are:

  • Juliet Batten Herne Bay, Auckland) Sun, Moon, and Stars: Seasonal celebrations for children and families, tamariki and whanau
  • Hannah Beehre (Lyttleton, Christchurch) Flow: A Handbook for students of drawing
  • Wendy Ward (Whanganui) The Kingfisher’s Nest: Everyday miracles at Foxglove Farm
  • Patricia Williams (Mangere Bridge, Auckland) Between the Harbour and the Mountain: Reflections on the ordinary and the profound
  • Jo Woollacott (Whangarei) Sea Salt to Serenity

The Book category winner and the Unpublished Manuscript category winner each receive a $10,000 prize.

The awards are unique in the country for their encouragement of writing in the Mind, Body, Spirit genre. The awards were established in 2004 thanks to a bequest from the late businessman, Ashton Wylie.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony at Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, Westhaven Marina, Auckland on Friday 14 August, 2020.


The late Auckland businessman Ashton Wylie was a philanthropist with a wide range of interests, particularly in the area of personal development and positive relationships.  The Ashton Wylie Charitable Trust was set up at Ashton’s request and was named after him.

Ashton Wylie believed that if one wanted to change the world, one had to first change oneself.  Changes are then made by example as ultimately, one can change for the better others that reside within one’s sphere of influence.

The Ashton Wylie Charitable Trust was set up following Ashton Wylie’s death in 1999 with the mandate of having human relationships as its focus, and its main intent being to promote more loving relationships.

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