Victoria University of Wellington's Pip Adam wins Ockham New Zealand Book Awards premier $50,000 prize

With a novel described by judges as something which "will bring readers back from the dead", Victoria University's Pip Adam has won the 2018 $50,000 Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize in the country's premier book awards.

Pip Adam
Pip Adam - photo by Victoria Birkinshaw

International Institute of Modern Letters PhD graduate and lecturer Pip Adam received the honour for her novel The New Animals published by Victoria University Press.

The New Animals, which parodies the Auckland fashion scene, was praised by the category judges as a confrontational, revelatory novel that holds a mirror up to contemporary New Zealand culture.

The judges said, “It’s stylistically raw and reveals a good deal in a modest way. The New Animals is so vivid in imagery and imagination that the judges haven’t stopped thinking about it since. In this category in 2018 it’s the book with the most blood on the page. It will give you an electric shock.”

Pip Adam said she was feeling very grateful and overwhelmed. "It was an incredible thing to be shortlisted and to win...I kind of can't believe it yet. I'm so grateful to the Acorn Foundation for this prize.

"The International Institute of Modern Letters was the first place where I felt like a real writer. It's a special place. I'm really grateful to Damien Wilkins in particular who has been an amazing example of what fiction can do, and has taken a lot of time to help me shape my own work. It's a special place."

Victoria University Press publisher Fergus Barrowman said it was a strong year for fiction with many great New Zealand books on the list. "We are extremely delighted for Pip and look forward to lots more readers discovering her fierce and wonderful book."

Victoria University Press also picked up two Best First Book Awards:

The Hubert Church Best First Book Award for Fiction: Baby by Annaleese Jochems (Victoria University Press).

The Jessie Mackay Best First Book Award for Poetry: Fully Clothed and So Forgetful by Hannah Mettner (Victoria University Press).

Each Best First Book Award winner received $2500.