And the judges are…

It is my very great pleasure to introduce you to our brilliant line-up of judges for the second annual New Zealand Heritage Book Awards and Writing Competitions. We are very excited to have such a top-notch crew making the hard decisions.

So, this fine winter’s day, without further ado, I present to you, the judges for the New Zealand Heritage Book Awards…

Drum roll, please…


I know, interesting image choice for a heritage competition, but it’s important to remember that young people can write about heritage, and can enjoy reading about heritage.

Plus, the best I could find searching ‘old drums’ was…


Which has its value, sure. And obviously I needn’t point out that HERITAGE can be hilarious. (Look closely. And again. What’s he drumming those pumpkins with? And also… is that Clint Eastwood?)

See how I share with you everything except what you’re here for? Sorry. On with the names.

For the Fiction Book category, we have…

the fascinating,

the au fait,

the fastidious arbiter of fabulous fiction…

Coral Atkinson!Coral_300

Author of Historicals for Adults and Young people, Coral is also a teacher and was the writer in residence at The University of Canterbury last year. She is currently a mentor at The Hagley Writers’ Institute.

Writing historical can be a minefield. Authors must bring to life a foreign place, one we can never visit ourselves, and we haven’t the freedom of Sci-Fi and Fantasy to fill in the gaps with whatever suits the story. The research must be thorough, but more than that, it must be used with such a light touch that it disappears from the reader’s awareness for most, if not all, of the novel.

Coral is a master of this art. In her novel, THE LOVE APPLE, Jenny Robin Jones says she,

‘refrains from taking a moral stance while dealing with her characters’ dilemmas regarding love, duty, war.’

And that was her FIRST novel!

THE PAUA TOWER came next and the Dominion Post reviewer, Siobhan Harvey,  wrote of its,

‘careful research; a beautifully evoked setting; a host of charismatic characters; rich writing; and a well-paced plot.’

A high bar, to be sure. And one which entrants to the NZ Heritage Book Awards will need to leap gracefully.

Ah, go on. You can do it. I believe in you!

PASSING THROUGH is soon to be broadcast as a serial on Radio New Zealand. In a review in The Bookseller, Elizabeth Heritage wrote,

‘Atkinson is an assured storyteller and her accessible prose has pleasing touches of the lyrical. An experienced novelist, she is often praised for her sense of place…’

Coral was a tutor for the Whitireia Polytech publishing course and generously allowed her students to work on her latest two books, PASSING THROUGH and COPPER TOP. The second is a junior novel which was praised by none other than Fiona Farrell as well as John McIntyre on Radio NZ, who described it as,

‘a ripping yarn…meticulously researched… historically accurate and an authentic, young female voice…’

This year, Coral’s short story, ‘Lir’, came out in THE CELTIC MYTHOLOGY COLLECTION. Her current work-in-progress is a series of linked episodes entitled, RIDING THE GOLDEN CALF. Beginning when the father comes home from World War II, the collection follows a family through to the 1970s. For more about Coral, check out her website.

We are absolutely overjoyed that Coral is on board to judge the Fiction Book category of the competition. She knows just how to put together a masterful historical herself, and we look forward to her choice. I know I’ll be loading up my to-be-read list with her finalists.

Bring. It. On.

Hold on, isn’t there another Book category in this competition? And doesn’t that mean there’s another judge to announce in this post?

You’re in such luck.

No, I’m serious.


So, without further ado, I’m just plain stoked to announce that the judge for Non-Fiction Book, in the second annual New Zealand Heritage Book Awards, is…

the savvy,

the stalwart,

the seriously well-situated to spot a slam-dunk in Non-Fiction…

Chris Moore!chris2

Chris is a brilliant find! He’s on the current book reviewing panel for The New Zealand Listener.

So, there’s that.

But that’s barely the tip of the iceberg. This is the guy behind THE earthquake book.

Make: Canon. Model: Canon EOS 5D Mark II. Copyright: Canterbury Museum. Photographed for Canterbury Museum by NZMS.

He was also the Arts Editor of the Press for an entire decade, and organised the Press’s long-running Literary Liaisons series in his role as Assistant Books Editor. With over 40 years experience in journalism, as a reporter, features writer, editor and columnist, Chris knows exactly what great Non-Fiction has to be and do. Who better to judge the Non-Fiction category of the New Zealand Heritage Book Awards? Right? Right? I know. We nailed it.


I’m ridiculously excited. Like seriously. I can hardly believe we’ve managed to pull these awesome literary rabbits out of the NZ lit-scene hat. Well done, team.

But you know what? I’m not even done yet. There are two whole brand spanking new judges still yet to be announced. That’s right, the fun has barely begun.

Watch this space for the SUPERHEROES OF THE SHORT FORM who will be judging the Short Prose and Poetry categories of the competition.

If you have published a book featuring New Zealand Heritage, between August 2015 and September 2016, then you’re eligible to enter the New Zealand Heritage Book Awards. You can do so RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW.

If you’re keen to enter in the short categories, all the info you need is available here.

This post was brought to you by Amy Paulussen, Chair of the Canterbury Branch of the NZ Society of Authors.


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