Finalist Favourites

The crême de la crême of writers and stories from Aotearoa - it's the 2021 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards finalists! To celebrate the shortlist we created a special Ockhams webpage, revisited our interviews with shortlisted authors, and contacted each finalist about their own personal reading choices. 

Have you ever wondered what shortlisted authors like reading themselves?

The finalists revealed, exclusively to Vic Books, their favourite books from the last year. We present, here, on the Eve of the winner announcement, their responses! Check out what prize-worthy authors have on their bookshelves and add the books to your reading list. Tomorrow, Tuesday 12 May, the Awards ceremony takes place in Auckland. We send our best wishes to all the authors!

Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction Finalists

Pip Adam

Nominated for: Nothing to See

Favourite book of 2020: Untold Day and Night by Bae Suah

Airini Beautrais

Nominated for: Bug Week

Favourite book of 2020: How to Be Human Though Happy by Kate Camp

Catherine Chidgey

Nominated for: Remote Sympathy

Favourite book of 2020: The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Bran Gnanalingham

Nominated for: Sprigs

Favourite book of 2020: Minor Detail by Adania Shibli


Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry

Tusiata Avia

Nominated for: The Savage Coloniser Book

Favourite book of 2020: Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor

Nina Mingya Powles

Nominated for: Magnolia

Favourite book of 2020: A Bathful of Kawakawa and Hot Water by Hana Pera Aoake

Mohamed Hassan

Nominated for: National Anthem

Favourite book of 2020: The Animals in That Country by Laura-Jean McKay


Booksellers Aotearoa New Zealand Award for Illustrated Non-Fiction

Leonard Bell

Nominated for: Marti Friedlander: Portraits of the Artists

Favourite book of 2020: Memories of the Future by Siri Hustvedt

Monique Fiso

Nominated for: Hiakai

Favourite book of 2020: Comfort Me With Apples by Ruth Reichl

George Gibson

Nominated for: Exquisite Legacy

Favourite book of 2020: Apeirogon by Colum McCann

Jane Ussher

Nominated for: Nature - Stilled

Favourite book of 2020: Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart


General Non-Fiction Award

Vincent O'Sullivan

Nominated for: Ralph Hotere: The Dark is Light Enough 

Favourite book of 2020: Far Flung by Rhian Gallagher and Jack by Marilynne Robinson

Madison Hamill

Nominated for: Specimen

Favourite book of 2020: Nothing to See by Pip Adam

Hirini Kaa

Nominated for: Te Hahi Mihinare

Favourite book of 2020: The New Zealand Wars by Vincent O'Malley

Alison Jones

Nominated for: This Pakeha Life

Favourite book of 2020: One Day I'll Remember This by Helen Garner


Click here see the full Ockham New Zealand Book Awards Shortlist.