Hartill PR

Dame Fiona Kidman has won this year’s $53,000 Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize at the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards for her novel, This Mortal Boy, a work described by the judges as ‘moving, memorable, authentic and urgently relevant to our times.’

The book published by Penguin Random House received the honour ahead of a strong line-up of finalists comprising Lloyd Jones (The Cage), Kate Duignan (The New Ships) and Vincent O’Sullivan (All This by Chance) at the Auckland Writers Festival marquee event held in the Aotea Centre this evening.

“In This Mortal Boy, Fiona Kidman has written an intensely human and empathetic story, recreating the events leading to the real life hanging of ’jukebox killer‘ Paddy Black at Mount Eden prison in 1955.

“With seeming effortlessness, she pulls the reader into mid-century New Zealand – the restlessness of a new urban youth culture, the moral panic that led to the Mazengarb report, the damning assumptions of the legal profession and the unchallenged omissions that eased the pathway to a young man’s death,” said this year’s fiction category judges.

New York Times best-selling author and academic Joanne Drayton won the Royal Society Te Apārangi Award for General Non-Fiction for Hudson & Halls: The Food of Love (Otago University Press).

The category judges said Hudson & Halls is not simply the story of celebrity chefs: “It is a generous, multi-layered, and touching account of companionship and enduring love.

“Set against the backdrop of the double act many of us will remember, Hudson & Halls reveals the humour and drama of this couple’s onscreen chemistry, and is a deeply moving and often surprising account of their private life. Set within the context of significant social and political moments over four decades and three countries, Joanne Drayton’s fresh approach to storytelling makes this a must-read.”

Helen Heath won the Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry for her collection Are Friends Electric? (Victoria University Press).

“By turns thoughtful and moving, Are Friends Electric? asks how the material world might mediate—or replace—human relationships.

“Helen Heath’s collection impressed the judging panel with its broad thematic reach, its willingness to tackle complex issues, and its poetic risk-taking,” said the judges.

Senior curator Sean Mallon and French ethnologist Sébastien Galliot took the Illustrated Non-Fiction category for their work Tatau: A History of Sāmoan Tattooing (Te Papa Press).

The book which traces the art form from 3,000 years ago to the present day is described by judges as a visual feast.

“…quality design is met with innovative writing that both records and opens up new territory, creating a book that will expand and enrich the knowledge of readers throughout Aotearoa, the Moana Pacific and beyond. Tatau: A History of Sāmoan Tattooing celebrates the tactile pleasure of a book in the hand, and should be acknowledged as a milestone in contemporary publishing.”

Te Mūrau o te Tuhi, a discretionary Māori Language Award, was presented this year for the landmark work He Kupu Tuku Iho: Ko te Reo Māori te Tatau ki te Ao by pioneering language and tikanga academics Sir Tīmoti Kāretu and the late Dr Wharehuia Milroy published by Auckland University Press.

Te Reo Māori judge Dr Ruakere Hond acknowledged the very recent passing of Dr Milroy in announcing the award.

 “He tai mutunga kore te ranga whai reo e āki kau ana ki te aroaro o te tokorua kātuarehe, ngā ruānuku o te reo o nehe, ki nāianei rangi.  He whāiti taua urunga, engari i konei ka wherawhera mai.  He maioha tēnei nā Tīmoti Kāretu rāua ko Te Wharehuia Milroy, kia hou mai te tāura ki waenga pū i ā rāua kōrerorero, he kōrero paki, he hokinga mahara o te ohinga, ā, pakeke noa.  He puanga rautangi ki te hauangi.  Kapohia e te tini.  He tatau e puare ana i tō rāua ao.

“Staunch advocates of our spoken reo have relentlessly sought to sit down with these two most influential exponents of reo Māori, from the past and for today.  Few have had the opportunity; this book now opens that door. Tīmoti Kāretu and the late Wharehuia Milroy invite the reader into their conversations, their yarns and musings from decades of cultural experience.  This book’s value is undeniable.  Its language, accessible.  This is a doorway to their world,” said Dr Hond.

The General Non-Fiction, Poetry, Illustrated Non-Fiction category and Māori Language Award winners each took home a $10,000 prize.


Four MitoQ Best First Book Awards were also presented at the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.

The Hubert Church Prize for a best first book of Fiction went to Kirsten Warner for The Sound of Breaking Glass (Mākaro Press).

The E.H. McCormick Prize for a best first work of General Non-Fiction was presented to Chessie Henry for We Can Make a Life (Victoria University Press).

The Jessie Mackay Prize for a best first book of Poetry was awarded to Tayi Tibble for Poūkahangatus (Victoria University Press).

The Judith Binney Prize for a best first work of Illustrated Non-Fiction went to John Reid for Whatever It Takes: Pacific Films and John O’Shea 1948-2000 (Victoria University Press).

Each MitoQ Best First Book Award winner received $2500.


The 2019 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards judges were:

Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize: journalist, reviewer and editor Sally Blundell; author and programme director of WORD Christchurch Rachael King; novelist, short story writer and lecturer James George (Ngāpuhi) and award-winning New York-based novelist Joseph O’Neill  who assisted the three New Zealand judges to select this year’s Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize winner.

Royal Society Te Apārangi Award for General Non-Fiction: science writer Rebecca Priestley, Associate Professor at Victoria University of Wellington; award-winning historian and University of Otago academic Angela Wanhalla and curator, educator and writer Karl Chitham (Ngāpuhi), new director of the Dowse Art Museum in Lower Hutt.

Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry: creative writing teacher Airini Beautrais; Massey University Professor Bryan Walpert and Pasifika poet Karlo Mila who runs an indigenous leadership programme.

Illustrated Non-Fiction category: Well-known writer, curator and commentator on all aspects of architecture, design and art Douglas Lloyd Jenkins; curator at Dunedin Public Art Gallery Lucy Hammonds and experienced bookseller Bruce Caddy.

Award-winning writer Paula Morris of the New Zealand Book Awards Trust, which governs the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards, says in a highly competitive year of groundbreaking, compelling books, it is heartening to welcome two new sponsors.

“Peter and Mary Biggs, long-time arts supporters in New Zealand, are now sponsoring our poetry prize, and the innovators of MitoQ are backing our first book winners. Their commitment speaks to the vitality and mana of our writers, artists and publishers,” says Ms Morris.

The Ockham New Zealand Book Awards are supported by Ockham Residential, Creative New Zealand, the Acorn Foundation, the Royal Society Te Apārangi, Mary and Peter Biggs CNZM, MitoQ and the Auckland Writers Festival.


For winners’ images: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/wqznczvyv4077z0/AAAHfEeyCzQ7WuO3dJAkmBRba?dl=0

For winning book covers: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/36wkvug4i87y0l9/AADzWMd7HsvJTC1LRvLCjYRwa?dl=0


Winners’ banner images

Print:  https://www.dropbox.com/sh/r8hz9o6q595b88f/AAARsdZQSCtsPwocfYOY20Hva?dl=0

Web: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ahfbowl2g9hixl2/AAAh-sjx5uQZ3aIhExERpgKZa?dl=0


  • Media are welcome to attend The Ockham New Zealand Book Awards Ceremony at the Auckland Writers Festival on Tuesday 14 May, 7.00pm – 8.45pm ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre.
  • Winners are available for interview
  • Judges are available for interview
  • Winning books are available for review
  • Author images and book jacket images are available


To register your interest in attending the ceremony, please contact: Penny Hartill – director hPR, 021 721 424, penny@hartillpr.co.nz

www.nzbookawards.nz         https://www.facebook.com/NewZealandBookAwards/

@theockhams            #theockhams


Editor’s Notes:

The Ockham New Zealand Book Awards are the country’s premier literary honours for books written by New Zealanders. First established in 1968 as the Wattie Book Awards (later the Goodman Fielder Wattie Book Awards), they have also been known as the Montana New Zealand Book Awards and the New Zealand Post Book Awards. Awards are given for Fiction (the Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize), General Non-Fiction (the Royal Society Te Apārangi Award for General Non-Fiction), Illustrated Non-Fiction and Poetry (the Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry). There are also four awards for first-time authors (The MitoQ Best First Book Awards) and, at the judges’ discretion, Te Mūrau o te Tuhi a Māori Language Award. The awards are governed by the New Zealand Book Awards Trust (a registered charity). Current members of the Trust are Nicola Legat, Karen Ferns, Paula Morris, Catherine Robertson, Jenna Todd, David Bowles, Pene Walsh and Melanee Winder. The Trust also governs the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults and Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day.

Ockham Residential is Auckland’s most progressive developer. By creating apartments that are well-designed, made with quality materials and are well-loved by the community, Ockham is committed to shaping a built environment that reflects Auckland as a world-class city, the grandeur of its landscapes and the ideas of its people. Founded in 2009 by Aucklanders Mark Todd and Benjamin Preston, Ockham also aims to enhance the community through sponsorship of the arts. The principal sponsor of the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards, the company announced at the 2018 ceremony that it would continue its support for a further 5 years. Ockham is also a proud supporter of architecture and the visual arts as the lead partner of Objectspace.

The Acorn Foundation is a community foundation based in the Western Bay of Plenty, which encourages people to leave a gift in their wills and/or their lifetimes to support their local community forever. Donations are pooled and invested, and the investment income is used to make donations to local charities, in accordance with the donors’ wishes. The capital remains intact. Since it was established in 2003, Acorn has distributed over $4.6 million. Donors may choose which organisations are to benefit each year, or they may decide to leave it to the trustees’ discretion. Community foundations are the fastest growing form of philanthropy worldwide, and there are now 15 throughout New Zealand, with more in the early stages. The Fiction Prize has been provided through the generosity of one of the Foundation’s donors, and will be awarded to the top fiction work each year, in perpetuity. Its base figure of $50,000 will be adjusted each year, to reflect wage inflation.

Royal Society Te Apārangi is an independent not-for-profit organisation that supports all New Zealanders to explore, discover and share knowledge. Its varied programmes provide funding and learning opportunities for researchers, teachers, school students, together with those who are simply curious about the world. To celebrate the discoveries of New Zealand researchers, the Society awards medals and elects Fellows, who are leaders in their fields. These experts help the Society to provide independent advice to New Zealanders and the government on issues of public concern. The Society has a broad network of members and friends around New Zealand and invites all those who value the work New Zealanders do in exploring, discovering and sharing knowledge to join with them.

Creative New Zealand has been a sustaining partner of New Zealand’s book awards for decades. Creative New Zealand encourages, promotes and supports the arts in New Zealand for the benefit of all New Zealanders through funding, capability building, an international programme, and advocacy. It offers financial support for emerging and established artists, art practitioners, groups and organisations, and provides training and online resources to help artists and practitioners develop professionally, grow audiences and markets, and manage their organisations. It also supports internships and national touring to help develop New Zealand arts. Creative New Zealand provides a wide range of support to New Zealand literature, including funding for writers and publishers, residencies, literary festivals and awards, and supports organisations which work to increase the readership and sales of New Zealand literature at home and internationally.

MitoQ is one of New Zealand’s newest global success stories. Founded on breakthrough cellular research undertaken at Otago University, MitoQ® is the only product to directly target the mitochondria. Over 300 reviews and studies have to date been published around the positive effects of MitoQ® on health. MitoQ’s success has placed the company in the exciting position of being able to put back into its communities through sponsorship, particularly in the arts, which it sees as essential to the wellbeing of society. The company is delighted to support the enrichment of New Zealand literature through the MitoQ Best First Book awards.

Mary and Peter Biggs CNZM are long-time arts advocates and patrons – particularly of literature and theatre. They have funded the Biggs Family Prize in Poetry at Victoria University of Wellington’s International Institute of Modern Letters since 2006, along with the Alex Scobie Research Prize in Classical Studies, Latin and Greek. They have been consistent supporters of the International Festival of the Arts, the Auckland Writers Festival, Wellington’s Circa Theatre, the New Zealand Arts Foundation, Featherston Booktown, the New Zealand Book Council, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Featherston Sculpture Trust and the Kokomai Arts Festival in the Wairarapa. Peter was Chair of Creative New Zealand from 1999 to 2006. He led the Cultural Philanthropy Taskforce in 2010 and the New Zealand Professional Orchestra Sector Review in 2012. Peter was appointed a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for arts governance and philanthropy in 2013.

The Auckland Writers Festival is the largest literary event in New Zealand and the largest presenter of New Zealand literature in the world. Now in its 19th year, it hosts more than 200 local and international writers for seven days of discussion, conversation, reading, debate, performance, schools, family and free events ranging across fiction, non-fiction, poetry, music, theatre, culture, art and more. Festival attendance in 2018 exceeded 74,000.


It’s time to grab your apron strings and lasso your neighbour’s free-range pig! The Topp Twins are back with a gorgeous book of mouth-watering recipes to see you right the whole year round.

Join Dames Lynda and Jools as they go on a trip around New Zealand meeting passionate food producers, home cooks and lovers of life in Topp Country: A Culinary Journey Through New Zealand with The Topp Twins.

The Topp Twins bring us tales from the countryside through the universal pleasure of food and love, as they meet 60 ethical farmers and growers.  Their deep love for the land and its people is interwoven with inspiring stories, poems and around 75 recipes, including closely guarded family secrets.

There are recipes meaty and veg and from sweet to savoury, for breakfast, lunch,  dinner and pud. Nana’s Bacon Balls, Linda’s Oat-Crusted Roast and Grandma Hora’s Apple Shortcake, too. You get to meet the people, all heartlanders, who made the recipes and hear the stories behind them, too. Food made with love and all in full colour.

The Twins’ diverse appeal is reflected in the people they meet: from free-range pig farmers in the deep rural south to urban taco-trucking hipsters. As they travel around New Zealand they discover a land full of top tucker and great yarns.

The Twins’ comedy characters, Camp Mother and Camp Leader, present Saucy Tips, while the Bowling Ladies share recipes and tips for their retro but ever-popular Tasty Treats. Rural blokes, the Kens, have penned poems celebrating the country lifestyle and what it means to be a Kiwi, in love with our land and its bounty.

Topp Country Book Front Cover LRTake two comic cups of TWINS
Whisk together with generous handfuls of EVERYDAY KIWIS
Throw in a dash of everyone’s FAVOURITE FAMILY RECIPES
Drizzle with COMEDY
And serve with lashings of LOVE.
And what do you get?



Topp Country: A Culinary Journey Through New Zealand with The Topp Twins |  Diva Books  |  Published November 2018  |  full colour hardback rrp $49.95

For more information, interview or extract opportunities and review copies please contact: Penny Hartill, hPR, 021 721 424, penny@hartillpr.co.nz

H & H front

Hudson & Halls: The Food of Love by Joanne Drayton

Hang onto your stuffed squid! Hudson and Halls, pioneers of celebrity television, are back in a tell-all book.

Hudson & Halls: The food of love is more than just a love story, though a love story it certainly is. It is a tale of two television chefs who helped change the bedrock bad attitudes of a nation in the 1970s and 80s to that unspoken thing – homosexuality.

New York Times best-selling Kiwi author Joanne Drayton delivers a fast-paced and moving account of the couple who became reluctant role models for a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ generation of gay men and women who lived by omission. They were also captains of a culinary revolution that saw the overthrow of Aunty Daisy and Betty Crocker and the beginnings of Pacific-rich, Asian-styled international cuisine.

Drayton uncovers eye-opening, never-before-made-public stories about Peter Hudson and David Halls’s childhoods.  Hudson’s family in particular led a double life, one involving crime and illegal activity under the guise of respectability. Theirs is truly a story of transformation.

The couple’s drinking, bitching and bickering on screen and their spontaneous unchoreographed movements across the stage broke taboos and melted formalities. With their burnt baked Alaska, and frenetic capsicum-skinning demonstrations, they captivated an unlikely bunch of viewers, from middle-aged matrons to bush-shirted blokes.

Drayton brings alive the dizzy, hedonistic days of the 1980s, when dinner parties thrown by the dark, debonair Peter Hudson and blond-haired blue-eyed David Halls were legendary and their home the place to be seen for the cream of the Auckland social set.

If you thought you knew all there was to know about unforgettable culinary stars, Hudson & Halls, then get ready for a major encore. In this riveting and meticulously researched book, New York Times bestselling author Joanne Drayton celebrates the legacy and uncovers the past of the unforgettable Hudson and Halls.

I was 13 when I first saw David and Peter cooking on TV. Their cooking was miles from my family’s style, so much more glamorous and aspirational, and there was something ‘other’ about them. I was enthralled. They helped improve the culinary scene in NZ, while subtly lifting the taboo on same-sex relationships. There is so much in this terrific book I knew little about. – Peter Gordon, chef, restaurateur, writer

Hudson & Halls: The Food of Love by Joanne Drayton   | Embargoed until 18 October |  Published by Otago University Press  | rrp$ 49.95

The book will be launched by Peter Gordon at Pah Homestead on Thursday 18 October. A gala dinner follows.

For a review copy, interview and extract enquiries or for further information please contact: Penny Hartill, hPR, 021 721 424, penny@hartillpr.co.nz


Joanne Drayton is author of New York Times bestseller The Search for Anne Perry (2014), which was a finalist in the New Zealand Book Awards 2013, the subject of a 60 Minutes documentary, and a cover story in the New Zealand Listener. Her critically acclaimed Ngaio Marsh: Her life in crime (2008) was a Christmas pick in the UK’s Independent newspaper in 2009. Joanne has written three other groundbreaking biographies. In 2007 she was awarded a National Library Fellowship, and in 2017 she received a prestigious Logan Nonfiction Fellowship at the Carey Institute in Upstate New York. She lives in Auckland, New Zealand, with her partner and three cats.

“Intimate, moving and eloquent, shot through with the author’s celebrated wit, Driving to Treblinka shines a light on what it means to survive. This compelling search for a father’s grave is, above all, an affirmation of unstoppable life” –  Catherine Chidgey

Award-winning journalist, Diana Wichtel, is best known for her acerbic wit and engaging writing style. Few know her extraordinary life story.

As a young child Diana Wichtel is brought up in Vancouver, Canada. Her mother is a Catholic New Zealander, her father a Polish Jew who miraculously survived the Holocaust. When she’s thirteen, her life changes dramatically as her mother whisks her and her sister and brother away to New Zealand. Their father is to follow.

She never sees him again.

Many years later she sets out to discover what happened to him. The search becomes an obsession as she painstakingly uncovers information about his large Warsaw family and their fate at the hands of the Nazis, scours archives across the world for clues to her father’s disappearance, and visits the places he lived.

Driving to Treblinka is a moving, powerful and unforgettable story. It is a deep reflection on the meaning of family, the trauma of loss, and the insistence of memory.

It asks the question: Is it better to know, or more bearable not to?

Diana Wichtel is an award-winning journalist. After gaining an MA at the University of Auckland, she tutored English before moving into journalism. She has also written dialogue for television and was the recipient of the 2016 Grimshaw Sargeson Fellowship. Diana Wichtel lives in Devonport, Auckland with journalist Chris Barton.

Driving to Treblinka: A long search for a lost father by Diana Wichtel  | Release date: September 28, 2017, RRP: $45.00

For a review copy, cover image, extracts, and/or interview with the author, contact Penny Hartill, penny@hartillpr.co.nz (09) 445 7525 / 021 721 424

It’s a wonderful sense of deja vu to be back contracting for Penguin this year, some ten years after working in-house as head of marketing and publicity. I was approached to provide publicity for a number of key titles across a a variety of genres including literary fiction, NZ non-fiction, international mass market fiction, memoir, humour and food. I had the pleasure of generating publicity for Jeremy Corbett’s Which Way Up? and fabulous foodie, Penny Oliver and her new cookbook, Single Serve. I worked with Lloyd Jones some 11 years ago on his novels, Paint Your Wife and Here at the End of the World We Learn to Dance so I was delighted that Penguin engaged me to publicise his memoir, A History of Silence.

hPR works with many publishing houses and self-published authors, drawing on long-held media contacts and proven publicity techniques to establish or grow an author’s public profile and help generate book sales.

Services range from arranging a simple review mailing, right through to a full monty, multi-city author events and media tour.

Which Way Up200

I was media consultant to the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards and the New Zealand Post Book Awards (formerly Montana New Zealand Book Awards) for six years.

As the awards are the highest accolades a New Zealand author can hope to achieve in their own country, I was lucky enough to work with the nation’s most talented emerging and established writers.

Each year, the Awards generate significant media coverage – of the awards themselves, the judges, the finalists and the winners. The Award’s coverage not only impacted on the winners’ book sales, but also on publishers’ reputations and that of the book industry as a whole. It was a significant responsibility and one I relished, working determinedly to achieve maximum media coverage for all stakeholders.

In 2011, Margaret Mahy won the New Zealand Post Book of the Year. Understandably, media attention was substantial. Capturing interest required judicious judgement – balancing the needs of a very popular writer, the need to negotiate due editorial space was devoted to her win and the need, on behalf of the book industry, to generate media for all of the winners’ books.

Media managing these awards required working with the chief reporters of virtually every newspaper and radio station in the country; national content editors at Fairfax, Reuters and APN; the bureau chiefs, producers, reporters across national TV networks; arts, literary and news websites; literary bloggers and radio show producers.

The role meant always thinking outside the square for new angles, in addition to news announcements and coverage with literary media.

The coverage generated grew year-on-year and was valued in the many millions.