NZSA Shaw Writer’s Award


The NZSA Shaw Writer’s Award is a new award established by novelist Tina Shaw to encourage the development of great novels by mid-career fiction writers who are working on a new project. All applicants must be New Zealand citizens or permanent residents.

The NZSA Shaw Writer’s Award will provide a cash award of $5,000 to be used for the completion and/or publication of their stated project.

Fiction aimed at adult and younger readers (middle grade and YA) will be eligible in any genre. Fiction works in verse are eligible but poetry is not. Writers must have published at least three standalone novels to be considered for this award. Traditionally published, hybrid or indie published novels will be considered.

Applicants will be shortlisted by a judging panel, with the final winner selected by Tina Shaw in consultation with and advised by the shortlist judging panel.

The New Zealand Society of Authors Te Puni Kaituhi o Aotearoa (PEN NZ Inc) administers the prize. Entries for the NZSA Shaw Writer’s Award must be made on the New Zealand Society of Author’s website ( by the advertised deadline, with the winner announced after judging has been completed.

NZSA Shaw Writer’s Award applications for 2024 open from 17 May to midnight 14 July.

(Once you have submitted your application form you will be emailed a copy of your application along with information about payment of the application fee. Please check your junk / spam folder if you do not see the email in your inbox.)

  1. Terms and Conditions for the NZSA Shaw Writer’s Award
  2. Application form

Headshot of Tina Shaw with autumnal backgroundHistory of the Prize

When Tina Shaw – novelist and editor of the Bateman New Zealand Writer’s Handbook – recently took a hard look at the range of funding options available to mid-career authors, she clearly found them wanting. As a direct result, Shaw became determined to fill the funding gap through the establishment of a new, annually awarded prize – the NZSA Shaw Writer’s Award – which will be open to mid-career writers working on a new fiction project.

While recognising that in the past she, herself, has been a recipient of Creative New Zealand writing grants, Shaw observed that there were “times when I longed to have a little more financial support for my projects”.

As a direct result, the award has been deliberately designed to ameliorate some of the negative effects experienced by authors struggling to survive. Sadly, according to Shaw, it’s a state of being that is particularly endured by many talented New Zealand mid-career writers of fiction.

“Sometimes, it’s just a day-to-day situation where a little bump in an author’s financial situation can make all the difference – the difference between taking on another part-time job, taking on more editing work, or being able to devote more time to a writing project,” she says.

“It’s also true that our New Zealand writers frequently express the feeling that their mid-career progress is slower than that of new writers, who can more readily garner media interest for their publications,” says Shaw.

As a result, the newly created award is intended not only to offer the recipient the freedom that money brings but also to increase the chances of a mid-career writer being recognised as a “good business” prospect to be welcomed by publishers.

As Shaw points out, “Unless a writer is made visible via a shortlisting for an award, they can quickly fall from sight.” Now that she is financially able to generously assist other writers, Shaw is hopeful that she can support one mid-career New Zealand author each year to receive “a welcome boost” to their career.

Extract from ‘Funding the Gap,’ written by Susan Battye in NZ Author, #336. Read the full article