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July 20, 2014 | by  | in News |
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Victoria Publishing Written Up

Two writers published by Victoria University Press have won prizes for best first book in fiction and poetry at this year’s New Zealand Post Book Awards.

Amy Head, a editor based in Wellington, was awarded the New Zealand Society of Authors (NZSA) Best First Book in Fiction for her book Tough, a collection of short stories set in the South Island’s West Coast.

Featuring “rugged people in equally rugged landscapes”, panel judge Miriama Kamo described the book as being “then and now in a literary panorama mirroring the very place upon which the collection is built.”

“So much of the history of the coast […] has been about adapting to isolation. Geography still holds sway, and I wanted the stories to reflect that,” says Head of her work.

Marty Smith, a teacher from Hawkes Bay, was awarded the Best First Book in Poetry for his compilation on returned servicemen and the effects of war on families, entitled Horse with Hat.

“If Kiwi filmmaking can be characterised as ‘cinema of unease’, then Horse with Hat is the literary equivalent – dark, quiet, explosive and compelling,” Kamo describes.

Both writers have Master’s degrees in Creative Writing from Victoria University’s International Institute of Modern Letters.

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