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Announcing the winner of the 2023 Michael Gifkins Prize

Tina Shaw has been named the winner of the 2023 Michael Gifkins Prize for her manuscript A House Built on Sand. Shaw wins a publishing contract with Text and a NZ$10,000 advance against royalties.

The prize is awarded annually to an unpublished manuscript by a New Zealand writer, celebrating the life and work of the esteemed writer and literary agent Michael Gifkins.

A House Built on Sand (previously titled My Rose) is the gripping story of a mother–daughter relationship, with a mother who battles her unreliable memory to unravel a mystery from her past.

Tina Shaw has written for a diverse range of age groups and genres. Her most recent novel, Ephemera, is set on the Waikato River, a location she knows well from growing up outside Kirikiriroa. She works as a manuscript assessor and is the editor of the New Zealand Society of Authors’ quarterly publication, NZ Author. As editor, her seventh edition of the Bateman NZ Writer’s Handbook will be published later this year.

Tina Shaw said, ‘I’m very excited to have won the Michael Gifkins Prize. It’s a huge privilege to be published by Text Publishing and to see my work on a larger stage. This story is one that’s particularly close to my heart, and I know it’s in good hands with Text.’

A House Built on Sand is slated for publication by Text in September 2024.

Shaw was shortlisted by Text Publishing alongside G. M. Allen, Jane Bitomsky, Danielle Heyhoe and Helen Waaka from an impressive longlist of fifteen manuscripts, selected by judges Michelle Elvy and Ruby Porter.

Publisher Michael Heyward said, ‘The Michael Gifkins Prize has already helped quite a few impressive New Zealand writers find readers for their work. We are proud of the achievements of the prize, and honoured by our association with Michael’s family and with NZSA. We thank them for their continued support of the award. We are delighted that this year’s winner is Tina Shaw and are looking forward to publishing her novel A House Built on Sand in 2024.’

The winner of last year’s prize, Backwaters by Emma Ling Sidnam, will be published in September 2023. Backwaters is a tender, nuanced debut novel about the bittersweet search for belonging. It will be launched at Unity Wellington on 27 September and at Old Government House in Auckland on 3 October.

Previous winners of the Michael Gifkins Prize are Ruby Porter (2018) for Attraction, Tom Remiger (2019) for Soldiers, Gigi Fenster (2020) for A Good Winter and Tom Baragwanath (2021) for Paper Cage.

Submissions to the 2023 prize will open on 31 July and close at midnight NZST on 13 October 2023. The prize will be administered by the New Zealand Society of Authors Te Puni Kaituhi o Aotearoa (PEN NZ Inc). Entry forms and terms and conditions can be found here.

The Michael Gifkins Prize is made possible by a generous financial commitment from the Gifkins family and from Text Publishing. It is administered by the New Zealand Society of Authors Te Puni Kaituhi o Aotearoa (PEN NZ Inc).

For enquiries, please contact:    

Lydia McClelland
Text Publishing   

Jenny Nagle
New Zealand Society of Authors Te Puni Kaituhi o Aotearoa (PEN NZ Inc) | +64 27 627 2728


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