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Source: Massey University

Chris McDowall and Tim Denee’s We Are Are: An Atlas of Aotearoa is a finalist in the Illustrated Non Fiction Category

Two Massey University Press publications are among the 16 finalists in the prestigious Ockham New Zealand Book Awards for 2020 announced yesterday.

Paula Green’s Wild Honey: Reading New Zealand Women’s Poetry is a finalist in the General Non Fiction Category and Chris McDowall and Tim Denee’s We Are Here: An Atlas of Aotearoa is a finalist in the Illustrated Non Fiction Category.

Wild Honey was published in August last year and Green is one of New Zealand’s best known poets and poetry advocate. It has been glowingly reviewed, Landfall declaring: “It’s a book that beckons the reader to return to it, with pencil markings and post-it notes”.

Paula Green’s Wild Honey: Reading New Zealand Women’s Poetry

We Are Here sold out just before Christmas, was on the coveted Unity Books bestsesller list for weeks and is now in its second reprint. Its authors have been invited to speak at several big conferences. A recent review said this of it: “As Tze Ming Mok most eloquently explains, this is ‘data poetry’; this is ‘datavis’ [data visualisation] made critical and emancipatory by ‘data plumbers’…The authors are artisans, crafting beautiful objects to solve questions not yet fully realised.”

Massey University Press also has a contractual arrangement with Te Papa to run its Te Papa Press, which also has two finalists in the Illustrated Non Fiction category. These two big hardbacks are Crafting Aotearoa: A Social History of Making in New Zealand and the wider Moana Oceania, edited by Karl Chitham, Kolokesa Māhina-Tuai and Damian Skinner, and Protest Tautohetohe: Objects of Persistence, Resistance and Defiance by Stephanie Gibson, Matariki Williams and Puawai Cairns. This book features a stirring essay by Massey School of Humanities head Kerry Taylor.

The full awards shortlist is here. The winners of the four categories in the 2020 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards wll be announced on May 12, in a ceremony at Auckland’s Aotea Centre, held as the first public event in the Auckland Writers Festival.

The Storylines Literature Trust list of Notable Books for young readers was also announced today. Massey University Press has three books listed: Nan Blanchard’s Hazel and the Snails, Michael Petherick’s #Tumeke!, both published under the Annual Ink imprint, and Janet Hunt’s Three Kiwi Tales. Two of Te Papa Press’s childrens’ books  have also been honoured: Māui’s Taonga Tales and its te reo Māori edition He Paki Taonga i a Māui, both edited by David Brechin-Smith.

Nicola Legat

Massey University Press was established in 2015. Founding publisher Nicola Legat, formerly the award-winning publishing director of Random House New Zealand, welcomed the recognition.

She says  and says the success was “partly to do with the reshaping of the book ecosystem, which is presenting more opportunities for independent and university presses to make their mark, but mostly it’s because we had our sights sent on excellence from the get-go. As they say, ‘small can be mighty’.”

The press will have published 87 books by the end of this year, and at least half of them are by University staff, including Distinguished Professor Paul Spoonley, Professor Michael Belgrave, Dr Adam Claasen, Professor Glyn Harper, Professor Claire Robinson and Dr Bronwyn Holloway-Smith. Many more are in the pipeline. It often uses the design talent within the College of Creative Arts.

Books may be viewed and purchased from the Massey University Press website.

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