Thursday, September 01, 2011
Exciting Historical Projects Scoop Rich Writers’ Awards
Leading New Zealand historian Malcolm McKinnon and an author from a new generation of Maori scholars, Melissa Williams have been award the 2011 CLL Writers’ Awards at a ceremony held at the National Library in Auckland tonight. Each receives $35,000 – one of the richest non-fiction prizes in New Zealand literature.
Dr McKinnon, a widely published author and recipient of the Reader’s Choice Award at the 1998 Montana Book Awards for New Zealand Historical Atlas, will write a narrative history of the 1930’s Depression in New Zealand.
The Selection Panel for the CLL Awards were “awed by the breadth of the proposal from McKinnon that will take into account untapped documentary evidence of a defining period in New Zealand’s history. It should be the most important book on the subject for decades, perhaps ever.”
McKinnon currently lectures at Victoria University and is theme editor for “Places” on Te Ara, the Encyclopaedia of New Zealand. He has published books on the New Zealand Treasury, foreign policy, and Asian immigration and was president of the Professional Historians Association of New Zealand/Aotearoa from 2003-2007.
Having completed a PhD thesis entitled “Back-home and Home in the City” in late 2010 Melissa Matutina Williams will open our eyes to a story that needs to be told – the historical movement from rural tribal areas into the city and back again by Te Rarawa from the Hokianga.
“The excitement in this project comes from the remarkable oral narratives of the Te Rarawa men and women who migrated from Panguru, North Hokianga to Auckland city in the mid-twentieth century”. The work will challenge existing accounts of the shared history of the iwi.
Melissa has recently commenced work as a historical researcher with one of New Zealand’s leading independent publishing houses – Bridget Williams Books. Of the Te Rarawa project, Bridget Williams’ comments – “This is an important work in the writing of Maori history. This book has potential for both general market interest while retaining its scholarly base”.
In a change from previous CLL Writers’ Awards, 5 authors were named as finalists in 2011. Other projects recognised by the Selection Panel for their potential to contribute strongly to the New Zealand non-fiction collection were :
Dr Lee Davidson – Mountain Feeling : The Lives of Climbers and Other Stories
Bradford Haami - Ka Mau Te Wehi : May the Force Be With You
Janet Hunt – Dick Henry and the Birds
The 2010 award winners are both expected to publish in 2012. Steve Braunias’ New Zealand: The Biography is expected in the first half of the year. The sad passing of Dame Christine Cole Catley may delay the publication of her autobiography Getting Ready until later in 2012. Dame Chris was fondly remembered at the 2011 awards event by those present who represented the full breadth of New Zealand’s literary sector.
Another former CLL winner, Paul Millar, was a finalist in the General Non-fiction category of this years’ NZ Post Book Awards.
Established in 2002, the CLL Writers’ Awards has seen $1,000,000 invested in New Zealand non-fiction.