The Literary Achievement Awards

Bronwyn Torrie at the Dom Post reports:

A literary dame, an internationally published poet and a celebrated historian have been recognised for their impact on New Zealand’s literary landscape.

Dame Fiona Kidman, Peter Bland and James Belich received the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement at Premier House in Wellington last night. Each receives $60,000.

Established in 2003, the annual awards recognise writers who have made significant contributions to non-fiction, poetry and fiction.

I happened to be at the awards last night, and it was lovely to see the awards presented to some of our literary giants.

Two of the awards were presented by Arts Minister Chris Finlayson, and one by Opposition Arts Spokesperson Steve Chadwick. I thought it was a nice touch, to share the presenting duties.

The funniest moment of the night was when Finlayson was making his introductory remarks, and greeting the various MPs, Ambassadors and other VIPs there. He saw Justice Joseph Williams in the audience and quipped “Good to see Justice Williams here, I presume he is here as his recent judgements are a finalist for the literary fiction award“.

It’s a rare sight to see the Attorney-General dissing a High Court Judge. Lots of laughter, including I suspect from Justice Williams.

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