Muppet that I am, I forgot that the 2011 New Zealand Post Book Awards shortlists – including the winners of the Best First Books – were announced today.
Thhis year’s NZSA Jessie Mackay Best First Book Award for Poetry has gone to … Lynn Jenner’s Dear Sweet Harry (Auckland University Press). I have to admit I’ve not even heard of it before, so I will be very interested to read it. I had my money on Sarah Broom’s Tigers at Awhitu (also AUP), which just blew me away when I read it. (I’m even reviewing it for the NZPS). It will be interesting to compare the two. Anyone out there read either, and like to comment?
Shortlisted for Best Book of Poetry are Kate Camp’s The Mirror of Simple Annihilated Souls (VUP), Cilla McQueen’s The Radio Room (OUP), and in what promises to be a controversial choice, the anthology Mauri Ola: Contemporary Polynesian Poems in English, (AUP, edited by Albert Wendt, Reina Whaitiri and Robert Sullivan). I have to say I’m really uncomfortable with an anthology being in this category. It certainly used to be the case that you couldn’t have more than two (or possibly three) co-authors to qualify for Best Book. Presumably that’s no longer the case. (Or do we have yet another awards-skullduggery-stoush-in-the-making?) I had a look through Kate Camp’s collection shortly after it came out (disliked it, but didn’t read it in enough detail to say anything more than that), but haven’t seen the others.
It will – as always – be interesting to see how things unfold.†
†Or (possibly) unravel. Ahem.