Monday, June 21, 2010

Now you see it, now you don't: the 2010 NZ Post Book Award finalists

I thought today was the day they were announcing the finalists for the NZ Post Book Awards (the revamped and renamed Montanas).  So I googled for news about "NZ Post Book Awards 2010" this afternoon at work (naughty, I know) and found a list of all the finalists on the NZ Herald's website.
As the Earth Turns Silver
But now that I'm home, when I google "new zealand post book awards herald", it still lists a page that promises: "2010 New Zealand Post Book Awards finalists: Fiction. - As the Earth Turns Silver by Alison Wong ..."

But when I click the link, I just get to the Herald's homepage.

According to, the finalists will be announced tomorrow (22 July).  So I suspect I stumbled across an inadvertent embargo breach on the part of the Herald, which was picked up at some stage between 1.30pm and 6.00pm today.

I suspect the Herald's full article has been cached somewhere, and it's only a matter of hours till the finalists are announced officially, so I'm going to discuss the list I read for fiction (though I guess there's no assurances the article was 100% accurate if the Herald can't follow instructions about when information can and can't be released).

*spoiler alert*
Living as a Moon

Fiction shortlist:
As the Earth Turns Silver - Alison Wong
Living as a Moon - Owen Marshall
Limestone - Fiona Farrell

ReliefInterestingly, Anna Taylor's short story collection, Relief, was listed as the winner of the best first book of fiction, despite As the Earth Turns Silver being Wong's fiction debut (though she's also a published poet).  Hearty congratulations to Anna Taylor, though -- extremely well deserved!

LimestoneI blogged about Wong's novel in March (I wasn't that taken with it), and reviewed Marshall's latest short story collection in October last year (I liked the collection but was suffering from a bit of Marshall fatigue and certainly didn't rate it as his best work).  I haven't read Limestone, so I can't comment on who should win.  I'm sure each is deserving in their own way -- which is one of the gripes about a three book short-list: how much suspense it there about who'll win, when they're all assured of at least a bronze medal?  I know some people liked to read all five short-listed fiction books for the old Montanas before the awards... with only three books, where's the fun in that? It seems less of a challenge.

So what works of fiction published in 2009 might have made it into the final two short listed slots?  Off the top of my head:
    Somebody Loves Us AllSingularity
  • Singularity by Charlotte Grimshaw (a sequel to Opportunity which won the Montana in 2008; both Opportunity and Singularity were short-listed for the Frank O'Connor Prize...)
  • Somebody Loves Us All by Damien Wilkins (well-reviewed, and tipped by Unity's Tilly Lloyd along with Singularity and As the Earth Turns Silver last week)
  • Access Road by Maurice Gee (Grimshaw's Listener review)
  • Magpie Hall by Rachael King
  • The Adventures of Vela by Albert Wendt (though a novel-in-verse seems destined to fall between the gaps of such awards)
  • Dead People's Music by Sarah Laing
  • Butterscotch by Lyn Loates
I'll stop there, knowing that I've probably made a glaring omission or two.  We'll see what the judges say tomorrow after the official announcement (and what the pundits say after this).

Interesting times.

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