Thursday, August 10, 2023

Let Us Now Extol the Marsh-Seekers

Craig Sisterson, the founder of New Zealand’s Ngaio Marsh Awards, is enthusiastic about the diversity of authors included among this year’s finalists in three categories. “Lovely to see three Māori/indigenous authors featured,” he says, “with Renée (Ngāti Kahungunu) and Michael Bennett (Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Whakaue) finalists in Best Novel, Michael also in Best First, and Paul Diamond (Ngāti Haua, Te Rarawa and Ngā Puhi) in Best Non-fiction. A Pasifika finalist too, with Emeli Sione in Best Non-Fiction for A New Dawn. So that's a pleasing evolution over the past decade plus.”

The shortlists of 2023 Marsh Award contenders, announced on Thursday morning, New Zealand time, are featured below.

Best Non-fiction (a biennial prize):
A New Dawn, by Emeli Sione (Mila’s Books)
The Devil You Know, by Dr. Gwen Adshead and Eileen Horne (Faber)
Downfall: The Destruction of Charles Mackay, by Paul Diamond (Massey University Press)
The Fix, by Scott Bainbridge (Bateman)
Missing Persons, by Steve Braunias (HarperCollins)

Best First Novel:
One Heart One Spade, by Alistair Luke (Your Books)
Too Far from Antibes, by Bede Scott (Penguin SEA)
Better the Blood, by Michael Bennett (Simon & Schuster)
Surveillance, by Riley Chance (CopyPress)
The Slow Roll, by Simon Lendrum (Upstart Press)
Paper Cage, by Tom Baragwanath (Text)

Best Novel:
Exit .45, by Ben Sanders (Allen & Unwin)
Blue Hotel, by Chad Taylor (Brio)
Remember Me, by Charity Norman (Allen & Unwin)
The Doctor’s Wife, by Fiona Sussman (Bateman)
Better the Blood, by Michael Bennett (Simon & Schuster)
Blood Matters, by Renée (The Cuba Press)
The Slow Roll, by Simon Lendrum (Upstart Press)

“It’s a very strong group of finalists to emerge from a dazzlingly varied longlist,” Sisterson is quoted as saying in a press release. “This year’s entrants gave our international judging panels lots to chew over, and plenty of books judges enjoyed and loved didn’t become finalists. ‘Yeahnoir,’ our local spin on some of the world’s most popular storytelling forms, is certainly in fine health.”

Winners of this year’s Ngaio Marsh Awards are expected to be declared during an event held in association with the WORD Christchurch Festival, probably in mid-November.

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