Award Winners by


The Summer holidays are behind us, autumn is on its way, and a good book is always the perfect companion for days relaxing in the sun or in front of the fire.

Award-winners are are good place to start, and Dunedin Public Libraries stock an extensive selection from 2020, in various formats, including E-books.

Booker PrizeShuggie Bain. Douglas Stuart
Hugh "Shuggie" Bain is the youngest of three children growing up with an alcoholic mother and an absent father.  The main setting is 1980s Glasgow where Thatcherism has left its mark - vast unemployment and poverty. Shuggie is bullied at school for being 'different' and effeminate.  He often takes days off school to care for his mother, Agnes, after one of her hangovers. While his two siblings eventually leave the family home, Shuggie devotes himself to caring for Agnes.

Edgar Allan Poe Award: The Stranger Diaries. Elly Griffiths
Gothic writer R.M. Holland was famous for his book called The Stranger.  The house where he lived, and where Holland's wife was murdered, is now a high school and teacher, Clare Cassidy, is writing a biography of Holland.  When Clare's friend is found dead with a line from The Stranger by her side, the police are called and Clare is regarded as a suspect. Clare starts a diary detailing her fears and her suspicions about the killer.  She is horrified when she discovers that someone else has been writing in her diary. The dark presence of R.M. Holland is felt around the school.......

International DUBLIN Literary Award: Milkman. Anna Burns
In this unnamed city, to be interesting is dangerous. Middle sister, our protagonist, is busy attempting to keep her mother from discovering her maybe-boyfriend and to keep everyone in the dark about her encounter with Milkman. But when first brother-in-law sniffs out her struggle, and rumours start to swell, middle sister becomes 'interesting'. The last thing she ever wanted to be. To be interesting is to be noticed and to be noticed is dangerous. Milkman is a tale of gossip and hearsay, silence and deliberate deafness. It is the story of inaction with enormous consequences.

Ockham New Zealand Book Awards: Aue. Becky Manawatu
Taukiri is heading north, away from the South Island town where he experienced violence and loss.  He feels guilty about leaving his small brother, Arama, and says he will return one day, but that doesn't seem to come.  Arama is left on a farm with remote, dysfunctional whanau.  Life improves for a time when he makes a friend who has a dog.  The story delves off into the lives of people who underpin Arama's life.  His aunt gives him aroha and tells him stories and gives him plasters for the hurt.

Pulitzer Prize: The Nickel Boys. Colson Whitehead
Elwood Curtis is an African-American business man in New York City in the 2010s.  An investigation is being held into the Nickel academy, a reform school where he was imprisoned due to an innocent mistake, in the 1960s,  and which is now closed. The school had a history of abuse and Elwood, along with other classmates is called on to testify. The narrative then takes the reader to 1960s where we learn about Elwood's backstory and how he came to be the man he is today.

Women's Prize for Fiction: Hamnet: Maggie O'Farrell
Warwickshire in the 1580s. A young Latin tutor, and aspiring writer falls for Agnes, a young woman who is known throughout the countryside as a healer. They marry and settle in Stratford, and have three children, including twins, Hamnet and Judith. The boy, Hamnet, dies from bubonic plague in 1596, aged eleven.  A few years later his father writes a play called "Hamlet".  The plot alternates between Agnes's early life, the early years of her marriage, and the devastating consequences of the loss of a child.