Dunedin author takes out prestigious Margaret Mahy Book of the Year Prize

David Elliot's Snark has won the  Margaret Mahy Book of the Year Award and the Russell Clark Award for Illustration at ...

David Elliot's Snark has won the Margaret Mahy Book of the Year Award and the Russell Clark Award for Illustration at this year's New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.

A book inspired by the verse of Lewis Carroll has taken home the top prize at this year's New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults

Dunedin author and illustrator David Elliot's Snark: Being a true history of the expedition that discovered the Snark and the Jabberwock . . . and its tragic aftermath won both the Margaret Mahy Book of the Year Award and the Russell Clark Award for Illustration at the 2017 awards which were announced on Monday evening in Wellington.

Published by Otago University Press, the Ashburton-born Elliot's tale is billed as a "tumultuous romp" through worlds created by Carroll in his 19th Century nonsense poems.  

Juliette MacIver and Sarah Davis' That's Not a Hippopotamus! took home the prize for Best Picture Book.

Juliette MacIver and Sarah Davis' That's Not a Hippopotamus! took home the prize for Best Picture Book.

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In awarding Elliot's book a combined $15,000 worth of prize-money for the two awards, judging panel convenor Pam Jones paid tribute to Elliot's "rich imagery" and "compelling storytelling". 

"David Elliot has a clear wit that pervades his sketches. His draughtmanship is outstanding. However, it's the cohesive way he has combined all elements of this book that won the judges over. David Elliot's twist on Lewis Carroll's nonsense poems is unique, and offers everything the reader could want – mystery, adventure and intrigue."

Dunedin author and illustrator David Elliot "has a clear wit that pervades his sketches", believed the judging panel for ...
John Hawkins

Dunedin author and illustrator David Elliot "has a clear wit that pervades his sketches", believed the judging panel for the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.

Other winners included Juliette MacIver and Sarah Davis' That's Not a Hippopotamus! (Picture Book), Tania Roxborough's My New Zealand Story: Bastion Point  (Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction), Maurice Gee's The Severed Land (Young Adult Fiction), Josh James and Jack Marcotte's Jack and Charlie: Boys of the Bush (Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction), Sacha Cotter's Te Kaihanga Mapere (Te Kura Pounamu Award for best book in te reo Maori) and Julie Lamb's The Discombobulated Life of Summer Rain (Best First Book Award). 

"This year's winners have produced rich, evocative and engaging books," says Jones. "In these titles we have a platter of delicious reads that celebrate our unique New Zealand culture and showcase delightful characters who will entertain a wide spectrum of readers and non-readers alike. Much praise must also go to the publishers of some truly beautiful editions that will undoubtedly enhance the readers' experience, in a way the e-book versions never could. New Zealand children and young adult publishing is in good heart."

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