The winners of the third annual Heritage Week Book Awards and Writing Competition, run by the NZ Society of Authors’ Canterbury Branch in association with Christchurch City Council’s Heritage Week, have been announced. At a packed ceremony held at the Malthouse Theatre, shortlisted entrants were invited to speak before the winners were announced. Now increasingly recognised as a key writing competition, the awards received entries from right across New Zealand and were inspired by this year’s heritage theme of “Finding Our Way.” Our congratulations to all who won, those who made the shortlist and especially the winners. 

The fiction book prize was won by Fiona Farrell for Decline & Fall on Savage Street, (pub. Vintage, Penguin Random House). Judge Fiona Kidman called it a “a brave, brilliant book” and said that as “a story of a people it is lucid, beautiful and compassionate.”

The Non-fiction book was won by Ben Schrader for The Big Smoke: New Zealand Cities 1840-1920 (pub. Bridget Williams Books). Judge Jim McAloon admitted that the decision was a close one but said that Schrader won because of “the extra quality of opening up a new way of seeing things.”

The poetry prize was won by Janet Wainscott’s Reading the Sky, which, according to judge Gail Ingram “is a poem filed with beautiful images,” and it “points to the importance and power of personal transformation as we keep searching to Find Our Way.”

The short prose award went to Pioneer Woman by Diana Duckworth. Judge Sally Blundell commented on “the brevity and gentle sensuousness of this story encapsulates the poignancy of a life lived and quietly lost  … Duckworth’s writing is lyrical, rhythmic but succinct.”

Thanks are due to the NZSA Canterbury Branch committee for their hard-work behind the scenes in organising and running the event, to the judges and to Christchurch City Council for help with funding.


Contact information:

Amy Paulusson – Chair

Email- NZSACanterbury

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