The recipients of the Prime Minister’s Awards for Literary Achievement for 2016 have been announced today. Writers Atholl Anderson, Marilyn Duckworth and David Eggleton will each be awarded $60,000 in recognition of their outstanding contribution to New Zealand literature.
The three winners were agreed by the Arts Council of Creative New Zealand, based on public nominations and the recommendations of a selection panel. Atholl Anderson will be recognised for non-fiction, Marilyn Duckworth for fiction and David Eggleton for poetry.
Arts Council Chairman, Dr Dick Grant, says, “The Prime Minister’s Awards for Literary Achievement differ from other prizes in that they recognise a career and a significant body of acclaimed work, rather than a single work of literature. The contribution of nominees to the literary community over time is also taken into consideration.”
Dr Grant says, “I congratulate these wonderful authors on their selection for this prestigious award. It’s important that we honour New Zealand writers in this way, to recognise achievement at the highest level, but also to inspire young writers to envisage a writing career for themselves that will continue to build on this literary legacy into the future.”
The awards will be presented at a ceremony at Premier House in Wellington, on Wednesday 12 October.
The Prime Minister’s Awards for Literary Achievement were established in 2003. Every year, New Zealanders are invited to nominate their choice of a writer who has made a significant contribution to New Zealand literature in the genres of non-fiction, poetry and fiction. New Zealand writers are also able to nominate themselves for these awards.
Nominations are assessed by an expert literary panel and recommendations forwarded to the Arts Council of Creative New Zealand for approval. This year’s selection panel was Jock Philips (Chair), Jill Rawnsley, John Huria, Morrin Rout and Murray Edmond.
A full list of previous recipients can be found on the Creative New Zealand website.
Creative New Zealand and Unity Books invite you to a free literary event
The recipients of the 2016 Prime Ministers Awards for Literary Achievement will read and discuss their work with broadcaster, Kathryn Ryan.
This is a free event at Unity Books, 57 Willis Street, Wellington on Thursday 13 October, 12-12.45 pm. All welcome.
Additional notes: author biographies
David Eggleton (Dunedin). David Eggleton has published eight collections of poetry, most recently The Conch Trumpet, which was the winner of the Ockham New Zealand Book Award for Poetry in 2016. He is well-known as a performance poet and as well as his poetry appearing in numerous anthologies over a long period of time, he has also been involved with many documentaries and recordings of New Zealand poetry. While continuing to produce his own poetry, Eggleton also gives back to the New Zealand poetry community by editing both Landfall magazine and Landfall Review Online. As one of his nominators commented, ‘he has, for over 30 years, made a vital contribution to the poetry community throughout New Zealand. He is truly a bard, a bard with street credentials. He sings our nationhood.’
Marilyn Duckworth OBE (Wellington). Marilyn Duckworth has a long history of publishing fiction. She has published 16 novels, a novella, a collection of short stories, a collection of poetry and her autobiography. Duckworth has received numerous awards, fellowships and residencies over the course of her career including the Katherine Mansfield Memorial Fellowship to Menton, the Victoria University Writer-in-Residence, the Auckland University Writer-in Residence and, more recently, she has been the New Zealand Society of Authors President of Honour. Duckworth has also been active in the literary community as a mentor and support to many writers and she has been a Trustee on the Katherine Mansfield Memorial Fellowship Trust for many years.
Professor Atholl Anderson (Ngāi Tahu, Blenheim). Atholl Anderson CNZM, FRSNZ, FAHA, FSA is an outstanding writer, researcher and communicator who has carried out many years’ research throughout the Pacific and Indian Oceans. He has directed numerous archaeological excavations, published prolifically, and been the recipient of many awards including the 2015 Humanities Aronui Medal from the Royal Society and the 2016 JD Stout Fellowship. He has made a significant contribution to tribal history in southern New Zealand, with books such as The Welcome of Strangers (1998) and Ngāi Tahu: A Migration History, edited with Te Maire Tau (2008). He is an Emeritus Professor at the Australian National University, Adjunct Professor of History at the University of Canterbury and Honorary Professor of Anthropology at the University of Otago. His publications include Tangata Whenua: An Illustrated History, with Judith Binney and Aroha Harris, which won the Non-fiction award at the 2016 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. This book has also won several other awards over the past year.