Dunedin poet shortlisted for Ockhams Award

Sue Wootton
Sue Wootton
A Dunedin poet will be among the hopefuls vying for national honours when the New Zealand book awards are announced in May.

The Ockham Awards shortlists were revealed this morning and Sue Wootton's collection The Yield, published by Otago University Press, is in the running for the poetry gong.

Wootton is no stranger to recognition, having won various local and national awards over the last 12 years, and was longlisted in last year's Ockhams fiction category for her novel Strip.

The Yield was well received in literary circles and got a glowing review from Otago Daily Times poetry reviewer Hamesh Wyatt.

"Wootton knows how to square up cliches, throw them over her shoulder and leaves the reader enlightened,'' he wrote last year when the collection was published.

"She creates something dreamy, grand and totally her own.''

Award category convener Robert Sullivan said it was an excellent year for poetry.

"These shortlisted books are thoughtful, luminous, both precisely and generously descriptive of emotion and intellect, delighting in the dance of language. These lyrical poets channel fine depths to lift up poems as lights,'' he said.

Otago University Press will also be celebrating with the inclusion of The Face of Nature: An Environmental History of the Otago Peninsula, by Wellington author Jonathan West, which made the final four for the illustrated non-fiction award.

This year marks the 50th national book award and trust chairwoman Nicola Legat said the 150 entries showed the continuing strength of our literature.

"New Zealand publishing is outstanding. That such a little country can generate so many beautifully written and excellently published books is nothing short of incredible, really,'' she said.

While Ms Legat said she had read many of the shortlisted books, she would not be drawn on any personal favourites - "as much as I would like to''.

"These books reflect who we are as people and how we are developing as a nation, demonstrating that the writer's role is as important now as it was half a century ago.

"Like many of the books nominated in previous years' awards, the cream of this year's crop are destined to become classics,'' she said.

The winners will be announced at the Auckland Writers Festival on May 15.



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