Britain has the Daggers, Canada the Arthur Ellis Awards, Australia the Ned Kellys and for the best New Zealand novels there are the Ngaio Marsh Awards. The 2020 winners have just been announced, and both awards have been won by debut crime novelists.
The Ngaio Marsh Best Novel Award goes to Becky Manawatu for AUÉ, a book about domestic violence and gang life, told by eight-year-old Arama, his teenage brother Tauriki and a young woman called Jade. Manawatu has received a trophy as well as $1000 from WORD Christchurch. AUÉ had already won the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction at the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.
Congratulations also go out to RWR McDonald, who has won the 2020 Ngaio Marsh Best First Novel Award for The Nancys. Like AUÉ, it’s told through the eyes of a child as 11-year-old Tippy Chan teams up with her uncle, and his boyfriend, to solve the murder of her teacher. Along with the award, RWR McDonald has received a cash prize.
Unfortunately, neither novel is currently available via mainstream outlets in the UK or the United States. However, The Nancys can be downloaded as an audiobook and both can be ordered online through Amazon. Hopefully, soon both will have UK and US editions.