MEDIA RELEASE - Friday 12 December 2003
NEW ZEALAND ENTRIES ADD UP TO OVER A QUARTER OF TOTAL RECEIVED IN PRESTIGIOUS INTERNATIONAL AWARD FOR FICTION WRITING
Over a quarter of the entries in this year's South Pacific & SE Asian Region of the Commonwealth Writers Prize come from New Zealand. Of the 78 entries received to date, Graham Beattie, chair of the judging panel for the region, says New Zealand's entries in particular, showcase some of this country's finest senior writers including Fiona Kidman, Elizabeth Knox, Albert Wendt, Witi Ihimaera and Maurice Gee. Beattie also says there is a pleasing representation from first time writers in the Best First Book Category.
Entries in the Commonwealth Writers Prize are restricted to four per publisher per imprint, in each region: two for the best book prize and two for the prize awarded to the best first published book.
Awarded annually, this major prize for fiction celebrates the outstanding literary talent that exists in many parts of the Commonwealth and its contribution to contemporary writing in English. Entries are first assessed by four regional panels of judges and the selection of the overall winner is made by a distinguished pan-Commonwealth panel. In 2004 there will be one award of £10,000 for the best book submitted and an award of £3,000 for the best first published book. In each of the four regions of the Commonwealth two prizes of £1,000 will be awarded: one for the best book and one for the best first published book.
In February next year, Beattie will be joined in Auckland by fellow judges, Nor Faridah Manaf from Malaysia and Deborah Robertson from Australia to select the two regional winners. The final judging will take place in Melbourne in May.