Announcing the NZSA Laura Solomon Cuba Press Prize 2022 shortlist

We are pleased to announce that five writers have been shortlisted for an award that celebrates fresh writing with a ‘unique and original vision’.

NZSA congratulates shortlisted writers Philippa Werry, Rachel Fenton, Wes Lee, Jacqueline Owens, and Murray Edmond.

Almost 70 applications came in for this prize and the shortlist judging panel of Tina Shaw and Gigi Fenster commented: ‘We have been delighted to see such a huge range of talent, skill and imagination in the applications for this year’s award. Aotearoa is rich, it seems, in writers with a unique and original vision – writers from diverse genres and backgrounds, writers who are established and writers who are emerging. It was an honour and a pleasure to read this selection of unique and original voices. It is a comfort to know that New Zealand writing is both sturdy and fanciful. And that it promises to remain that way. This year’s shortlist offers an inspiring mix of Young Adult fiction, poetry, stories and speculative fiction.’

The shortlisted entries now go to the final judging panel to decide on the winner, who will be announced in June.

The directors of The Cuba Press, Sarah Bolland, and Mary McCallum, are delighted to be involved with the Laura Solomon Prize again. Mary McCallum says she’s thrilled to see the fabulous mix of writers and genres.

There are leading names and those who are less well known, and they’ve all been inspired by the competition and the work of the late Laura Solomon to send us some fantastic manuscripts. My co-director, Sarah Bolland, and I are reading them now and excited to see which one is the one we’ll make into a book. Our inaugural winner, ‘Polaroid Nights’ by Lizzie Harwood, was a real find and we’d like our second year of the prize to hold that same kind of excitement.”

Award for fresh writing with a ‘unique and original vision’

The NZSA Laura Solomon Cuba Press Prize celebrates the life and work of the writer Laura Solomon. This prize is judged within the criteria set by Laura Solomon, for new writing with a ‘unique and original vision’. Both published and unpublished writers were invited to enter completed manuscripts written across genres (fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, drama or children’s writing). This annual prize was created from a bequest, from Laura and The Solomon Family.

The NZSA Laura Solomon Cuba Press Prize:

  • paves the way for new and exciting writing to make its way into the marketplace
  • awards the winner a cash award as an ‘advance’ of NZ$1000 and a publishing contract supplied by The Cuba Press
  • pays for the book production and printing. The Cuba Press will edit, design, print, market, distribute and promote the book and e-book and pay standard author royalties.
  • The first year for this prize was 2020, with the inaugral winner (announced in 2021) Lizzie Harwood with Polaroid Nights.

More information about Laura Solomon and the NZSA Laura Solomon Cuba Press Prize

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