BowPress.com- Newsroom’s Steve Braunias announces that the Ockham NZ Book Awards have gone ‘fully woke’ with the announcement of the contenders for the literary prize.
Writing for Newsroom’s ReadingRoom, Braunias notes that New Zealand literature
has long tried to be work and ‘made various woke noises’, but he notes that
the recently announced 2021 Ockham New Zealand national book awards has become
a bit of a “wokefester festival”.
“Sixteen authors have made the shortlist. Seven are writers of colour. Seven are women. None of the writers in the poetry category are white. Three of the four books nominated for the non-fiction award are concerned with Māori. As well, there’s a novel so woke that it actually features a trigger warning! Gee someone ought to do that for any future editions of Nabokov’s Lolita. That’d really make a difference, wouldn’t it.
“One of the Ockham shortlisted books is by Alison Jones, a professor who teaches academic writing to mainly Māori and Pacific education students at Te Puna Wānanga; her memoir This Pākehā Life explores her immersion into the Māori world. It’s also very good.”
Braunias notes that ‘woke’ is not a synonym for lame and that a number of the books are exceptionally good, although unlikely to reach the readership and sales success of Becky Manawatu’s “Aue’
As for judging the wokeness, quite apart form the awards, he goes on to ward 9 points of out of 10 for wokeness to the poetry category convenor.
“Time to judge the judges for their wokeness. Poetry category convenor of judges Dr Briar Wood: “The four shortlisted collections are striking, all exhibiting an acute global consciousness in difficult times.” Points out of 10 for wokeness: 9 (“acute global consciousness”).”
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