Awards

Ian Wards Prize

A wonderful surprise, completely unexpected, is the news that I have been awarded the Ian Wards Prize 2020 for Shirley Smith: An Examined Life.

The ARANZ website explains:

The Ian Wards Prize honours the contribution to New Zealand scholarship of Ian McLean Wards, Chief Government Historian between 1968 and 1983, and, through his actions and unceasing advocacy over a period of more than 50 years, one of the principal architects of New Zealand’s modern archives system.

This annual prize recognises a published work which makes substantial, imaginative and exemplary use of New Zealand archives and records. The publication must appropriately and fully reference the archives and records used.

My thanks to the ARANZ Council for this recognition. It means so much to me.

the Ockhams! the Reprint!

Congratulations to the winners, and to all my fellow finalists at last night’s Ockham Awards virtual ceremony. I wonder about the fun we missed, not celebrating together??? But we shared a unique experience doing it virtually and I hope you all had a very good time in your bubbles!

And Bravo Ockhams for promoting your authors so well throughout the lockdown and last night. It’s good for us and for other NZ writers. We all need this support!

This morning I was happy to see that my new books are at last arriving, so will be available at VUP and bookstores very soon. Onwards to Level 2!

on temporary VUP loading bay

Ockhams Out Loud

A new thing to come out of lockdown is Ockhams Out Loud.

The plan was that finalists were to read from our work at the awards ceremony in Auckland on 12 May. COVID-19 put paid to that but the Ockham organisers thought creatively. They recorded our readings from our bubbles for  their special  YouTube channel. We met in our categories online to prepare for this. (Thank you James Leonard for technical advice.) I hope one day we’ll meet in person.

Deciding on which passage to read was quite an interesting exercise. I settled in the end for one explaining Shirley’s decision to keep her own name when she married in 1944 and the battle she had to get people to accept it. With more than two minutes I would have added that not even her father or her beloved grandmother respected her wish. But while they addressed their letters to Mrs W B Sutch, Shirley was more successful with the maternity staff in Sydney where gave birth to their daughter, only they insisted on calling her Mrs Smith – and her husband, Mr Smith!

2020 Awards Shortlist

After the excitement of Circa’s play reading of  Shirley and Bill to a full house on Sunday, I’m happy to add that Shirley Smith: An Examined Life is on the shortlist for the New Zealand Book Awards:

‘Sarah Gaitanos champions the life of Shirley Smith, whose achievements working for human rights and social causes are often overshadowed by the notoriety of her husband, Bill Sutch. Drawn from voluminous archives and the recollections of family and colleagues, a clear picture is presented of a frank, principled woman who swam against the current of her time. Written with clarity, insightful interpretation of sources and a steady tone, a remarkable story is expertly revealed.’