A great piece of news on Friday – The Travelling Restaurant is on the short list for the LIANZA Esther Glen medal. I wasn’t counting on it. There are always some differences between the LIANZA and NZ Post Children’s Book Awards short lists. This year there seem more differences than usual. Am I right? (LIANZA – the Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa Te Rau Herenga o Aotearoa is the professional organisation for the New Zealand library and information services sector.)
This year, three junior novels appear in both short lists of five while only two YA novels have made both cuts.
The Russell Clark Medal for Illustration recognises art work rather than text and that must be a very interesting debate for the judges (I’d love to have my ear to the keyhole). This year there are six short listed books compared to five on the NZ Post short list. Four on the LIANZA list didn’t appear on the NZ Post list.
Non-fiction is the category with the least difference, only one out of the five not appearing in the earlier short-list.
NZ writing for children is very lucky to have the two awards. There is more chance that good writing will get the recognition it deserves. It certainly shows that opinions can differ, and why shouldn’t they?
It’s a real shame the New Zealand Book Awards were axed in (when? The early 1990s?) Writing for grown ups here needs the same wider opportunities for recognition. The NZ Post Book Awards on their own just don’t do enough of a job. Heavens above, even in this little country there are more than three brilliant books of fiction published each year.
Enough from me. It will be a great party at Caffe L’affare on 6 August when the LIANZA awards are announced. Congratulations to everyone on the short list.