Steve Braunias runs deep surveillance on the judges of the 2017 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.
Here come de judge! A dozen of them, as the 2017 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards today announces the “12 eminent academics, writers, journalists, librarians, curators, commentators and booksellers” who will judge next year’s awards.
Writers who are eligible for an award will be anxiously trying to remember if they’ve ever told any of the judges to go fuck themselves.
The Spinoff Review of Books Special Investigation Team asked over 100 writers this morning whether they thought the judges were the kind of petty and thin-skinned sonofabitches who might allow personal prejudice to sway their decision.
Their reply, said through tears: “Yes.”
THE JUDGES OF THE FICTION PRIZE
Creative New Zealand literature adviser Jill Rawnsley. “I got in a snit with her once when she ran the Auckland writers festival, and put me on a panel instead of giving me an hour-long session to myself,” worried a distinguished novelist. “I’m fucked.”
UBS Otago bookseller Bronwyn Wylie-Gibb. “I once asked how sales of my books were going, and she laughed in my face,” fretted a post-modern novelist. “I’m fucked.”
Novelist and historian Peter Wells. “I gave one of his books a bad review once,” wept a social realist novelist. “I’m fucked.”
THE JUDGES OF THE POETRY PRIZE
Light verse poet Harry Ricketts. “I remember patronising him for his light verse,” groaned an eminent poet. “I’m fucked.”
Obscure poet Steve Toussaint. “I don’t know who he is,” shrugged a slam poet. “Am I fucked?”
Petite poet Vivienne Plumb. “I stood on her foot at the bar of a literary festival,” raved an overweight poet. “I’m fucked.”
THE JUDGES OF THE GENERAL NON-FICTION PRIZE
Metro books editor Susanna Andrew. “I think she overheard me saying at Unity the other day that I prefer the Spinoff’s literary coverage to Metro,” trembled a historian. “I’m fucked.”
Otago University academic Professor Tom Brooking. “I don’t know who he is,” shrugged a photographer. “He can get fucked for all I care.”
Wellington writer and trade unionist Morgan Godfery. “I’m a rabid right-wing shithead,” boomed a biographer. “I’m fucked – just like his cause.”
THE JUDGES OF THE ILLUSTRATED NON-FICTION PRIZE
Writer and historian Paul Diamond. “Is he from Wellington?”, wondered a prolific Auckland hack. “If he’s from Wellington, I’m fucked.”
Academic and critic Linda Tyler: “Is she from Auckland?”, wondered a prolific Wellington hack. “If she’s from Auckland, I’m fucked.”
Author and public servant Bronwyn Labrum: “I’m from Wellington, like her,” stated a veteran of the trade, “which means I’m almost certainly fucked.”
The winners will be announced on May 16, 2017.
The Spinoff Review of Books is brought to you by Unity Books.