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Published 7 March 2017

Shortlist announced for Ockham New Zealand Book Awards

The shortlist for the 2017 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards has been announced today. The Society is sponsoring the General Non-Fiction category and the winner of the category will receive the inaugural Royal Society Te Apārangi Award for General Non-Fiction.

The General Non-Fiction category’s finalists are Anthony Byrt’s This Model World: Travels to the Edge of Contemporary Art; Adam Dudding’s My Father’s Island;  Ben Schrader’s The Big Smoke: New Zealand Cities, 1840-1920, and Ashleigh Young’s  Can You Tolerate This? Convenor Susanna Andrew says the judges chose the books that thrilled them with their vigour, originality and wisdom.  “These four stood apart from the rest from the very start for their honesty and prose style and for being alive to the very art of writing.”

The winners will be announced at a ceremony in the Aotea Centre on Tuesday May 16, 2017, held as the first public event of the Auckland Writers Festival. The awards ceremony is open to the public. Tickets to the event can be purchased via Ticketmaster once festival bookings open on Friday 17 March.

The full list of 2017 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards finalist titles:


  • The Wish Child by Catherine Chidgey (Victoria University Press)
  • Love as a Stranger by Owen Marshall (Vintage, Penguin Random House)
  • Billy Bird by Emma Neale (Vintage, Penguin Random House)
  • The Name on the Door is Not Mine by C.K. Stead (Allen & Unwin)


  • Fale Aitu | Spirit House by Tusiata Avia (Victoria University Press)
  • Hera Lindsay Bird by Hera Lindsay Bird (Victoria University Press)
  • Fits & Starts by Andrew Johnston (Victoria University Press)
  • This Paper Boat by Gregory Kan (Auckland University Press)


  • A History of New Zealand Women by Barbara Brookes (Bridget Williams Books)
  • New Zealand Wine: The Land, the Vines, the People by Warren Moran (Auckland University Press)
  • Ann Shelton: Dark Matter, edited by Zara Stanhope and managing editor Clare McIntosh (Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki)
  • Bloomsbury South: The Arts in Christchurch 1933-1953 by Peter Simpson (Auckland University Press)


  • This Model World: Travels to the Edge of Contemporary Art by Anthony Byrt (Auckland University Press)
  • My Father’s Island by Adam Dudding (Victoria University Press)
  • The Big Smoke: New Zealand Cities, 1840-1920 by Ben Schrader (Bridget Williams Books)
  • Can You Tolerate This? By Ashleigh Young (Victoria University Press)
Source: Royal Society Te Apārangi