03 Nov 2021

This content is tagged as Literature .


2021 Prime Ministers Awards for Literary Achievement winners announced and live online literary panel

A prolific writer for young adults, an award-winning poet and one of New Zealand’s most
distinguished historians are being honoured in the 2021 Prime Minister’s Awards for Literary

With interests spanning ecology, resilience and resourcefulness, and the Treaty of Waitangi – Creative New Zealand is pleased to announce this year’s recipients:

  • Poetry: Anne Kennedy – an award-winning poet, fiction writer, screenplay editor and teacher.
  • Non-fiction: Dame Claudia Josepha Orange PhD OBE DNZM – one of New Zealand’s most distinguished historians and an award-winning author best known for her 1987 book The Treaty of Waitangi.
  • Fiction: David Hill MNZM – an award-winning writer and teacher, renowned for his young adult fiction.

The Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister and Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, says, “I’m thrilled to offer my congratulations to Anne Kennedy, David Hill, and Dame Claudia Orange – each renowned for work across multiple areas. Supporting these awards is an honour and they truly are an annual highlight for me.”

Due to COVID-19 complexities, the usual Unity Books lunchtime in-store event will once again move to an online panel so that these outstanding writers can be acknowledged for their contributions to New Zealand literature.

The recipient of the 2021 Creative New Zealand Michael King Writer’s Fellowship, Dr. Monty Soutar, ONZM (Ngati Porou, Ngati Awa, Ngai Tai ki Tamaki, Ngati Kahungunu) will also take part in the online panel, hosted by writer, historian and former journalist Paul Diamond.

“While COVID means we can’t gather in person to congratulate these outstanding writers, I know the online panel event, which will also acknowledge the 2021 Creative New Zealand Michael King Writer’s Fellowship winner, leading historian Dr Monty Soutar, will provide the opportunity for a great celebration,” adds the Prime Minister.

Arts Council Chair Caren Rangi echoes the Prime Minister’s sentiments: “On behalf of the Arts Council of New Zealand Toi Aotearoa, I’m so excited to offer our warmest congratulations to David, Anne and Dame Claudia – such treasured and accomplished writers drawn from across the motu, with diverse tales to tell. Thank you for your continued passion, skill and devotion to New Zealand literature.”

“While COVID-19 may have foiled our plans for an in-person awards ceremony, I’m looking forward to acknowledging these recipients, along with Dr. Soutar, during our online literary panel – what a rich kōrero that will be!”

Each recipient of the Prime Minister’s Awards for Literary Achievement will be awarded $60,000 in recognition of their outstanding contribution to New Zealand literature.

The awards were established in 2003. Every year New Zealanders are invited to nominate their choice of a New Zealand writer who has made a significant contribution to New Zealand literature in the genres of non-fiction, poetry and fiction. Writers are also able to nominate themselves for these awards. Nominations are assessed by an external expert panel and recommendations are forwarded to the Arts Council of New Zealand Toi Aotearoa for approval. This year’s selection panel was David Eggleton, Anne de Lautour, Darryn Joseph, and Paddy Richardson.

A full list of previous recipients can be found on the Creative New Zealand website.

Live Online Literary Panel 

Creative New Zealand, in partnership with Auckland Live and The Big Idea, invites New Zealanders from across the motu to come together for a live, online panel discussion with the 2021 recipients of the Prime Minister’s Awards for Literary Achievement.

Tune in on Tuesday 16 November, 6.30-8pm to watch David Hill, Anne Kennedy, Dame Claudia Orange and Dr Monty Soutar read and discuss their work with New Zealand writer, broadcast journalist and historian, Paul Diamond. During the live stream, viewers can submit questions to the writers via the comment threads on Facebook and on YouTube. The live stream will be recorded and made available for those that are unable to join.

This event is made possible with the support of Auckland Live. Presented in partnership with The Big Idea and supported by Unity Books.

High-res images available in Dropbox

For media enquiries, please contact:

Heather Byrne

Senior Communications Adviser - Kaiārahi Matua Whakawhitiwhiti Kōrero
Creative New Zealand | Toi Aotearoa
M: +64 27 292 1589 | E: heather.byrne@creativenz.govt.nz