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BooksMay 8, 2019

We have 16 seriously covetable NZ books for you, thanks to the Ockham Awards

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All of the books up for the country’s shiniest literary gongs at the Auckland Writers Festival are boxed up in some publicist’s back room, just waiting to be shipped to YOU!!

Every year the Auckland Writers Festival unfolds at the Aotea Centre, a glorious parallel universe where you get to sit in a comfy chair in a nice room with maybe a glass of white and listen to smart, booklovin’ folks be smart and booklovin’. Guaranteed some dick will ask a question that is in fact a statement but it’s all part of the fun; everyone glides about on a sort of glow of happiness and contentment. Expect lots of cardies. Lots of specs. Tote bags. There are many many trestle tables groaning with lovely seasonal books. Also there are usually very good food trucks parked up outside, and the lines for the loos aren’t too bad if you time your run right.

The festival runs for a week from next Monday and features some of our own Spinoff team: Toby Manhire will host a conversation with former New York Times editor Jill Abramson, Leonie Hayden’s on a panel exploring racism and the premise that New Zealand is “racist as fuck”, and Madeleine Chapman will deliver a series of perfectly timed, deadpan observations in a gig talking about sport with people who also love sport.

There are still comfy seats left at some heavy-hitter events, too. Your Books ed. will be 30 million weeks pregnant at the time but plans to at least lumber along to Home Fire author Kamila Shamsie, Val Emmich on Dear Evan Hansen, and the marvellous love-in that will be Shayne Carter and John Campbell.

Also! We hopefully will make it to the Ockhams! Apparently an evening of vomit and velvet smoking jackets, definitely a bunch of prestigious awards. Our stack of books to give away is made up of the four shortlisted titles in each of the four major categories: the Mary & Peter Biggs Award for Poetry, the Royal Society Te Aparāngi Award for General Non-Fiction, the Illustrated Non-Fiction Award (cough cough still no sponsor) and the biggie, the Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize.

The books are:

Poūkahangatus by Tayi Tibble (Victoria University Press)

Are Friends Electric? by Helen Heath (Victoria University Press)

There’s No Place Like the Internet in Springtime by Erik Kennedy (Victoria University Press)

The Facts by Therese Lloyd (Victoria University Press)

We Can Make a Life by Chessie Henry (Victoria University Press)

Hudson & Halls: The Food of Love by Joanne Drayton (Otago University Press)

Memory Pieces by Maurice Gee (Victoria University Press)

With Them Through Hell: New Zealand Medical Services in the First World War by Anna Rogers (Massey University Press)

Tatau: A History of Sāmoan Tattooing by Sean Mallon with Sébastien Galliot (Te Papa Press)

Fight for the Forests: The Pivotal Campaigns that Saved New Zealand’s Native Forests by Paul Bensemann (Potton & Burton)

Wanted: The Search for the Modernist Murals of E Mervyn Taylor edited by Bronwyn Holloway-Smith (Massey University Press)

Birdstories: A History of the Birds of New Zealand by Geoff Norman (Potton & Burton)

This Mortal Boy by Fiona Kidman (Penguin Random House)

The Cage by Lloyd Jones (Penguin Random House)

All This by Chance by Vincent O’Sullivan (Victoria University Press)

The New Ships by Kate Duignan (Victoria University Press)

How to win, how to win… How about, email with a short paragraph on the New Zealand book that missed out: the one you reckon should be in that Ockhams line-up, the one that was bloody robbed. Preferably one that meets the basic entry criterion of being published in 2018. Tell us why you’re right and the judges are dimwits. We’ll pick the most convincing or possibly just the funniest or most strident, and announce the winner as the booze starts to flow on awards night, Tuesday May 14.

Keep going!