Read anything good lately? NZ Booklovers Awards shortlist announced

I absolutely love a good book, and I’m usually first in line to find out more when a new book is released. I do object, however, to spending any of my precious life minutes reading a book that just isn’t worth me spending time on! So I was delighted to hear about the inaugural NZ Booklovers Awards shortlist, announced today, which features a mixture of well-known and new Kiwi authors, all of whom have created books that are well worth picking up.

The latest works by Fiona Kidman, my lovely friend (and former New Zealand Woman’s Weekly editor) Nicky Pellegrino, Jo Seagar, Wendyl Nissen (also a former editor of New Zealand Woman’s Weekly – are you noticing a trend at all?!), David Hill and Fleur Beale are among the diverse range of books nominated for the NZ Booklovers Awards, along with exciting new authors.
Six books are shortlisted in each of the three award categories: adult fiction, lifestyle books and children’s books.

NZ Booklovers Director Karen McMillan says the inaugural awards received a large number of entries and the standard was extremely high. ‘The judges were excited to see the variety of books that our talented New Zealand authors have produced,’ she says. ‘Our fiction award celebrates the best in storytelling, a book that we couldn’t put down. Our lifestyle award celebrates the non-fiction books that have the ability to enrich our daily lives. For our children’s book award we were looking for picture or junior fiction books that help engage young readers and foster a love of books. It was a very challenging task to decide on the final six shortlisted books in each category, but we are thrilled with the quality of the books.’

NZ Booklovers Awards 2019 shortlisted titles:

NZ Booklovers Award for Best Adult Fiction Book 2019
A Change of Key by Adrienne Jansen (Escalator Press)
Crystal Reign by Kelly Lyndon (Remnant Press)
Fishing for Māui by Isa Pearl Ritchie (Te Rā Aroha Press)
Grandzilla by Lisa Williams (Crummer Road Press)
This Mortal Boy by Fiona Kidman (Penguin Random House)
A Year at Hotel Gondola by Nicky Pellegrino (Hachette)

NZ Booklovers Award for Best Lifestyle Book 2019
Better than a Bought One by Jo Seagar (Penguin Random House)
Eco Home by Melinda Williams (Penguin Random House)
Flourish by Juliet Nicholas and Barb Rogers (Penguin Random House)
The Natural Home by Wendyl Nissen (Allen & Unwin)
Ripe Recipes – A Third Helping by Angela Redfern and the Ripe Deli Team (Beatnik)
Wild Delicious by Amber Rose (Penguin Random House)
NZ Booklovers Award for Best Children’s Book 2019
Dear Donald Trump by Sophie Spiers, illustrated by Anne Villeneuve (Millwood Press)
Hero of the Sea by David Hill, illustrated by Phoebe Morris (Penguin Random House)
Kuwi’s Rowdy Crowd by Kat Merewether (Illustrated Publishing)
Lyla by Fleur Beale (Allen & Unwin)
Puffin the Architect by Kimberley Andrews (Penguin Random House)
Who Stole the Rainbow? by Vasanti Unka (Penguin Random House)

The winner in each category will be announced on 18 March 2019, and each winner receives $500 from NZ Booklovers.

The Best Adult Fiction Book Award is judged by writer and literary editor Marcus Hobson, publishing professional Rachel White, and NZ Booklovers Director and author Karen McMillan.

The Best Lifestyle Book Award is judged by journalist and author Andrea Molloy, NZ Booklovers Director and author Karen McMillan, and publisher, home renovator and foodie Iain McKenzie.

The Best Children’s Book Award is judged by author and creative writing teacher Paddy Richardson, editor and writer Heidi North, and early childhood kaiako and journalistRebekah Fraser.

About NZ Booklovers
NZ Booklovers is an online home for books and for those who enjoy reading them. It is a bookworms’ hub, dedicated to bringing New Zealanders everything they need to know about reading and the world of literature. Working alongside publishers, NZ Booklovers showcases both New Zealand and international titles. It provides a platform for sharing articles, author interviews, reviews, and book-related stories, as well as book news, competitions, and reading and writing advice.

Director Karen McMillan heads up a talented team of contributors and reviewers, fellow readers and writers who are passionate about books and who believe books inspire and enhance people’s lives. The NZ Booklovers Awards are the brainchild of Karen McMillan, with the aim of supporting the local publishing community and New Zealand authors.

Judges’ comments:
ADULT FICTION
A Change of Key: ‘A wonderful collection of characters in this book set in a mostly migrant community. The residents are drawn together to support one another, and by weaving the theme of music into the story, there is a real sense of belonging and community in this little snapshot of a not-so-familiar NZ. Adrienne Jansen makes you care about the characters in this book.’

Crystal Reign is an eye-opening story about the dreadful effects of P on an ordinary family, written from the point of view of a man trying to hold his family and marriage together. The writing style is engaging and direct – exploring the raw emotions of what he is going through, as well as the toll it takes on those around him.’

Fishing for Māui is a portrait of a family moving through crisis. We are introduced to a large cast of characters in this book, and the author cleverly tells their stories through their own eyes, from very young, to very old. It cleverly interweaves Māori legends and a real sense of New Zealand and connection to the past and present. Drugs, mental health, families and cultures are never easy topics, but Isa Pearl Ritchie tackles them all.’

Grandzilla is a novel with multiple layers, plots and countries that come together to make this compelling reading. The author pulls off a clever mix of past and present, linking riots in 1960s Germany with present-day racial unrest in the USA. Grandzilla educates as well as entertains. Great characters and an enlightening read.’

This Mortal Boy is a beautifully drawn novel that brings a true story to life. It is the little touches that make this brilliant, the small observations of everyday events. We travel back to 1950s New Zealand, a time when a judge could put a man to death. Time is running out for Albert Black.’

A Year at the Hotel Gondola: ‘An enjoyable mix of Venice, romance and plenty of cooking recipes. This is a great holiday read, especially for anyone who has visited Venice. Apart from the love story and the mouth-watering food, it also addresses the current issues facing the residents of Venice with the overcrowding from too many tourists.’

LIFESTYLE
Better than a Bought One is not a regular recipe book. Sharing her love of entertaining, Jo inspires readers to celebrate life’s milestones at home. Her focus is on easy, economical ideas to mark everything from birthdays to backyard weddings, Matariki and a casual Kiwi Christmas. Jo’s trademark writing is accompanied by intoxicating photography that ensures readers will repeatedly refer to the book for memorable ideas.’

Eco Home is an essential read for anyone considering building or renovating their home. Melinda’s writing clearly communicates the benefits of going green and how to create an eco-friendly home. The gorgeous photography throughout further inspires sustainable living.’

Flourish: ‘This stunning book showcases the lives of women behind some of New Zealand’s most significant gardens. The wonderful photography is accompanied by delightful storytelling with inspirational messaging. Flourish is such an enjoyable read it will encourage even the most unlikely of green thumbs.’

The Natural Home: ‘This thoughtfully designed book inspires readers to live sustainable lives. Wendyl’s accessible writing makes old-fashioned, chemical-free living highly desirable. The Natural Home is a delightful, practical guide, including Wendyl’s best recipes from previous books.’

Ripe Recipes – A Third Helping: ‘This follow-up book from Ripe Deli’s Angela Redfern is bursting with flavour! Rediscover the seasons and turn each page to discover a scrumptious new dish. Angela has cleverly curated over 100 accessible recipes to inspire healthy eating at home.’

Wild Delicious: ‘This beautiful hardback is more than a recipe book, it is a culinary guide to slow living. Renowned chef Amber Rose encourages mindful food preparation using local, seasonal produce. Stunning images are accompanied by thoughtful writing that compels a well-nourished life.’

CHILDREN’S
Dear Donald Trump deals with incredibly complex and important issues through an innocent sibling drama. It’s a charming story that will spark a conversation with young children about kindness, compassion and peace in this turbulent time.’

Hero of the Sea: ‘A beautiful biographical picture book that allows a new generation of Kiwi kids to learn about Sir Peter Blake. A stellar tribute to one of New Zealand’s greatest heroes, with great illustrations from Phoebe Morris.’

Kuwi’s Rowdy Crowd is an absolute delight, with gorgeous illustrations and a wonderful subtle tale about being happy with what you have.’

Lyla sensitively and poignantly portrays the experience of a young girl living through the Christchurch earthquake, the courage that she shows at the time and during the aftermath and the effect it has on her and her family and friends.’

Puffin the Architect: ‘Witty, with wonderfully detailed illustrations. This is a great read-aloud book.’

Who Stole the Rainbow: ‘Snappy illustrations and humour make this book about how rainbows are made accessible and fun for a younger audience.’