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2019 Prime Minister’s Awards for Literary Achievement: winners announced

News: 7 October 2019

An illustrated memoir for children, a novel which inspired a screen adaption starring Keisha Castle-Hughes, and translations of Romanian and Medieval Latin poetry are among the multitude of extraordinary achievements of this year’s winners of the Prime Minister’s Awards for Literary Achievement.

Image: Winners of the 2019 Prime Ministers' Awards for Literary Achievement (L-R) Elizabeth Knox, Gavin Bishop and Fleur Addcock. 

They are multi-talented illustrator and children’s writer, Gavin Bishop (Ngāti Pukeko, Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Mahuta, Tainui) who will be honoured for non-fiction; esteemed novelist, essayist and biographist, Elizabeth Knox for fiction; and prolific poet of more than 55 years, librettist and translator Fleur Adcock.

Each will be awarded $60,000 in recognition of their outstanding contribution to New Zealand literature.

Arts Council Chair Michael Moynahan said, “Congratulations to Gavin, Elizabeth and Fleur. We are thrilled to acknowledge your significant contributions to New Zealand literature over the span of your remarkable careers. Your storytelling has enriched our literary history and has been an inspiration to many.”

The awards will be presented at a ceremony at Premier House in Wellington, on Monday 14 October. The 2019 Creative New Zealand Michael King Writer’s Fellowship winner, historian, academic and translator, Dr Mere Whaanga, will also be honoured at the ceremony.

The Prime Minister’s Awards for Literary Achievement were established in 2003. Every year New Zealanders are invited to nominate their choice of a New Zealand writer who has made a significant contribution to New Zealand literature in the genres of non-fiction, poetry and fiction. Writers are also able to nominate themselves for these awards.

Nominations are assessed by an external expert panel and recommendations are forwarded to the Arts Council of New Zealand for approval. This year’s selection panel was David Eggleton, Lydia Wevers, John Huria, and Morrin Rout. A full list of previous recipients can be found on the Creative New Zealand website.

Updated on 11th October 2019