Monday, July 09, 2018

Women Set to Rule the Ngaios Race?

About six weeks after releasing their longlist of Best Novel nominees for the 2018 Ngaio Marsh Awards, organizers of this now nine-year-old New Zealand competition have announced the titles of 11 books shortlisted in two separate categories. They are as follows:

Best Crime Novel:
Marlborough Man, by Alan Carter (Fremantle Press)
See You in September, by Charity Norman (Allen & Unwin)
Tess, by Kirsten McDougall (VUP)
The Sound of Her Voice, by Nathan Blackwell (Mary Egan)
A Killer Harvest, by Paul Cleave (Upstart Press)
The Hidden Room, by Stella Duffy (Virago)

Best First Novel:
The Floating Basin, by Carolyn Hawes
Broken Silence, by Helen Vivienne Fletcher (HVF)
All Our Secrets, by Jennifer Lane (Rosa Mira)
The Sound of Her Voice, by Nathan Blackwell (Mary Egan)
Nothing Bad Happens Here, by Nikki Crutchley (Oak House Press)

A press release notes that “after Fiona Sussman became the first woman to win the Ngaio Marsh Award last year, this year sees a significant majority of female finalists for the first time in Ngaios history.” It also quotes awards founder Craig Sisterson as saying 2018 has “been a year of record-breaking numbers of entries, and our judges were faced with tough decisions among a really diverse array of tales spread across varying styles, settings, and sub-genres. Some books our judges loved missed out, which underlines the growing strength and depth of our local writing. Kiwi readers devour tales of crime, thrills, and mystery. They’ve got lots of great choices here to encourage them to give our own storytellers more of a try.”

Winners will be declared on September 1, during a special event at New Zealand’s WORD Christchurch Festival (August 29-September 2).

FOLLOW-UP: While writing this post, I realized there were no Best Non-Fiction nominees, as there had been in 2017. I sent an e-mail note to Craig Sisterson, asking him about that, and he wrote back: “We decided when we introduced that award last year to make it biennial at this stage, so there’ll be a Best Non-Fiction in 2019 (for books from 2017 and 2018).” So now we all know.

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