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2020 Ngaio Marsh Awards Finalists revealed

2020 Ngaio Marsh Awards Finalists revealed

The finalists for New Zealand’s 2020 Ngaio Marsh Awards have been announced today. The awards celebrate the best in crime fiction from New Zealand across two categories: best novel, and best first novel. 

‘Ten years after we launched the Ngaio Marsh Awards to help celebrate excellence in local crime, mystery, thriller and suspense writing, it’s heartening to see so many new voices infusing and stretching our #yeahnoir community,’ said Craig Sisterson, the founder of the Awards.

‘While we’ve had 80 debut authors enter the Ngaios in recent years, it’s also been fantastic to see many experienced Kiwi storytellers become first-time entrants as they’ve entertained readers and explored society …’ he added.

This year, the two categories have seen some crossover.

First time novelists Becky Manawatu and RWR McDonald are also in the ‘best novel’ list.

Two other finalists, Gudrun Frerichs and Reneé are first time crime writers, but have previously published in other genres. 

J P Pomare, who has won previously, and three-time Best Novel winner Paul Cleave have also made the Best Novel list of finalists.

Collectively, the authors among these two categories of finalists have been shortlisted for, and even won, a number of prestigious awards. These include the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement, the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction, The Australian Book Industry Awards, and the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards.

Further, they have also seen success at the Saint-Maur Crime Novel of the Year in France, and the Edgar Awards and the Barry Awards – both of which are US-based.

‘Our international judging panels have been dealing with a range of … lockdown situations this year, but have thoroughly enjoyed reading the range and quality of the stories offered by our Kiwi authors,’ said Mr Sisterson.

Each category is judged by a separate international panel, consisting of book critics, bestselling authors, academics, and festival directors from New Zealand, Australia, the US and the UK.

Finalists will be celebrated, and winners announced, at the WORD Christchurch Spring Festival, which will run from 29 October to 1 November.

‘It’s been a tough year for so many people,’ Mr Sisterson added. ‘We’re glad to be able to highlight some great Kiwi storytelling.’