Poetry Box news: Call for CYA NZ Book Award Judges

The organisers of the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults are inviting expressions of interest from members and followers of the children’s literature community who would like to be considered as judges of the 2023 awards.

Applications to judge are now open to all those with suitable qualifications and experience, and will close on 26 October.

Awards are given in six categories: Picture Book, Junior Fiction, Young Adult Fiction, Non-Fiction, Illustration and te Reo Māori. A total of five judges will be appointed for the English and bilingual categories and a further three judges will deliberate Te Kura Pounamu Award, which is given for books written entirely in (or translated entirely into) te reo Māori.

Nicola Legat, chair of the New Zealand Book Awards Trust Te Ohu Tiaki i Te Rau Hiringa, which governs the awards, says applications are welcomed from both the children’s literature community and members of the public with relevant experience. Past judges have included librarians, kaiako, authors, publishers, booksellers, academics, reviewers and bloggers. The organisers particularly welcome expressions of interest for both panels from applicants with a deep knowledge of te ao Māori and te reo Māori, fluency being essential for judges of Te Kura Pounamu award.

“We can’t deny that judging these awards is a big and important task, but over the years our judges have consistently told us how rewarding they have found the mahi. After all, what could be more enjoyable than immersing yourself in assessing the best New Zealand books of the year for rangatahi, and celebrating the importance of books and reading?” says Nicola Legat.

Convenor of the 2022 judges, author and educationalist Pauline (Vaeluaga) Smith, describes the role as demanding, but the highlight of her year. “With a record 199 splendid, enchanting and thought-provoking entries, we had to hit the ground running. The experienced and diverse judging panel leaned into their strengths, creating vigorous discussions and a robust process. It was promising to see strong threads of te ao Māori throughout many entries supporting a uniquely Aotearoa flavour for our young readers,” Pauline says.

The English language judges will deliberate over what is expected to be at least 150 entries in five categories. They will select up to five finalists in each, and also up to five Best First Book finalists, then a winner in each category. Te reo Māori panel will also select up to five finalists (from approximately 20 entries) and a winner for Te Kura Pounamu Award. Both panels will be responsible for deciding on the Margaret Mahy Book of the Year.

Entries for the 2023 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults are due to open on 16 November and the judges will begin their reading in mid-December. They reveal their finalists in early June 2023 and the awards event will be held early to mid-August in Wellington.

Expressions of interest forms and background information on the judging process and judges’ responsibilities can be downloaded below or supplied on request by emailing childrensawards@nzbookawards.org.nz.

Expression of Interest form

Judging panel general information (English and bilingual categories)

Judging panel general information (Te Kura Pounamu Award – te reo Māori)

Applications must be submitted by 5pm on Wednesday 26 October, and should include a covering letter and a brief resume that demonstrates the applicant’s experience and therefore suitability for the judging role.

The judging panels will be selected by the New Zealand Book Awards Trust, which includes representatives from the Publishers Association of New Zealand; the New Zealand Society of Authors; LIANZA, the association for library and information professionals in New Zealand; and Booksellers Aotearoa New Zealand.

The New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults are made possible through the generosity, commitment and vision of its funders and sponsors: Creative New Zealand, HELL Pizza, Wright Family Foundation, LIANZA, Wellington City Council, The New Zealand Society of Authors Te Puni Kaituhi o Aotearoa, and Nielsen Book.

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