Auckland University Press Authors win 2014 Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement

23 October 2014



Congratulations to Auckland University Press authors Jock Phillips and Ian Wedde for their success in this year’s Prime Minister’s awards for literary achievement.


Each will be awarded $60,000 in recognition of their outstanding contribution to New Zealand literature: Ian Wedde for poetry and Jock Phillips for non-fiction.

Arts Council Chairman, Dr Dick Grant, says, “I am delighted to congratulate this year’s winners.  Without exception they have not only contributed fine literary works to our New Zealand canon, but also offered a legacy of exploration and insight into what it means to be a New Zealander.”

Ian Wedde is the prolific author of collections of poems, novels, short stories, essays and criticism, and the editor of several anthologies. On hearing the news Wedde responded, “I think the awards matter as generous acknowledgements - generosity is a reward in itself, and especially when it involves both those who support a writer with nominations, and the country's chief cultural agency. The award is an honour, and of course the money will be immensely helpful, but in a way the best part is the generosity. Some people have thought what I write has value and have been prepared to say so - just as my publishers have been prepared to stick with me for a lot of years. That means a lot to me, both personally and as one writer among many.”

Jock Phillips is a historian, editor and the esteemed author of many books and articles.  Philips replied “I look upon this award as partly recognition of the importance of serious New Zealand history-writing to the wider community; and partly an acceptance that writing in digital formats (which is largely where my research and writing has appeared for the last 15 years) has an important place in our literary world.  For me personally the award is a wonderful kick-start for my new writing career as I finish my day job editing Te Ara, the Encyclopedia of New Zealand.”

Director of Auckland University Press Sam Elworthy said, ‘‘It’s just outstanding to see two of the great doing people in New Zealand’s cultural life, and two great Auckland University Press authors, getting this recognition in the Prime Minister’s Awards. From Te Ara to Te Papa, history to poetry to art, Ian Wedde and Jock Phillips have given heaps to New Zealand and we look forward to much more to come.”