Monday, June 6, 2011


Came across the following on Mary McCallum's blog this morning:

With the shortlist for the NZ Post Book Awards still being wrung out and pegged on the line by writers and readers around the country, Renee Liang (left) popped into my mind. 
Why? Well there's a groundswell of dissatisfaction about the list of only three books for both the fiction and poetry awards. Five, why can't there be five? That way more books would get their time in the sun; and for the same reason, many of us would also like to see a shortlist for the Best First Book Awards rather than one outright winner for each.

I have already said that the judges' list is the judges' list and despite our own wish-lists, we should just get on and celebrate the authors they have selected. I do believe that, but how much more of a celebration we could have if there was a more substantial, nay, a more generous list. The celebration isn't just for literature, it is a celebration - and vital affirmation - of us and the way we think and live. Renee  has explored this idea online (I don't know her view of the Book Awards per se). In The Big Idea arts website, Renee writes about this year's Auckland Writers Festival and why people converged in record numbers 

Footnote from The Bookman:

I totally agree with Mary re the size of the fiction and poetry short-lists and have written, some would say endlessly, about it on the blog but as a friend of mine said to me over the weekend - 

"The Book Awards are fast becoming the Wellywood sign of the book world - the only people who want them in their present form are the administrators".

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