Wellington writer Lloyd Jones has continued a literary winning streak, bagging the top fiction prize in the Montana Book Awards for his novel Mister Pip.
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The book, set in war-torn Bougainville in the early 1990s, won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize earlier this year - the first New Zealand novel to win the premier award since 1989.
Last night Mister Pip scooped the fiction category and the Montana Medal for Fiction or Poetry at the Montana Book Awards ceremony in Auckland, netting Jones $15,000 in prize money.
It also won the Readers' Choice Award, voted by the public.
The judges said Jones' novel was a powerful work of the imagination that was also authentic and richly textured.
Mister Pip is already being talked about as a contender for the Man Booker Prize this year, a reviewer for The Spectator saying it had Booker-worthy themes, a gripping plot, and that "it knocks the only New Zealand winner so far, (Keri Hulme's) The Bone People, for six".
Mister Pip has been enthusiastically reviewed in Britain and will be published in a dozen countries this year, including the United States and Germany, where Jones will spend the next 11 months as the recipient of the Creative New Zealand Berlin Writers' Residency.
Jones has been writing fulltime for more than 20 years.
Previous novels include The Book of Fame, which won the fiction prize at the 2001 Montana Awards and is being made into a film.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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