Better exposure for New Zealand authors is the vision behind changes being made this week to some of the format of the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.
The visits of finalist authors to a range of schools and libraries across New Zealand is being replaced by three high profile events attended by large numbers of children, ensuring that more children will meet New Zealand writers.
The finalist books are being integrated into the highly successful HELL Reading Challenge, in which children receive a Hell pizza for every pizza wheel they complete by reading seven books. In 2016, 200,000 wheels were circulated to schools and libraries, and the target for 2017 is to increase this to 250,000, which will mean more than 1.5 million books being read by young Kiwis as a result of the challenge. Incentives will be offered for reading the crop of 30 awards finalists.
The number of awards’ booklets in circulation promoting the finalists will also be increased substantially. 26,000 copies will again go out in the Listener magazine with many thousands more going to bookstores and libraries across New Zealand.
Finally, new point of sale material will drive engagement by children, parents and librarians.
As part of these changes the Children’s Choice awards will be discontinued as a result of the complexity of its operation and falling participation by schools.
“The Trust is very confident that the changes it is making will be of benefit to authors, their publishers and to young readers,” says Trust chair Nicola Legat. “The Trust has been working hard to make sure these awards support and honour New Zealand literature for children and young adults. We have improved the judging process, are giving away $55,000 in prize money, and the added exposure will deliver increased sales and audience engagement”.
More than 150 entries have been received for the 2017 awards. This year’s shortlist will be announced on Wednesday 7 June and the awards event will be held in Wellington on Monday 14 August.
The 2017 HELL Reading Challenge is now open for registrations. For information on the Challenge visit the Book Awards Trust website.
The New Zealand Book Awards for Children & Young Adults and the HELL Reading Challenge are administered on behalf of the New Zealand Book Awards Trust by the New Zealand Book Council. The awards are made possible through the generosity, commitment and vision of funders and sponsors, Creative New Zealand, HELL Pizza, Book Tokens (NZ) Ltd, Copyright Licensing Limited, LIANZA, Wellington City Council and Nielsen Book Services.