Top shelf Wellington author
Lloyd Jones has won the Commonwealth Writers Prize overall best book award for his novel Mister Pip. The NZ $27,400 cheque was presented to Jones at the Calabash Literary Festival in St Elizabeth, Jamaica, along with an invitation for tea with the Queen at Buckingham Palace. Described by the Prize’s chief judge as “mesmerising”, Mister Pip is a story about the transformative power of literature set in war-torn Bougainville in the early 1990s. “There are so many books in the world and it’s hard for each of them to find any space,” said Jones. “Competitions like this, with some prestige, suddenly put that book up in its own little shelf, as it were.” Jones became known as NZ’s first “million dollar author” with the foreign rights sale for Mister Pip. He leaves for Germany next month to begin a Creative New Zealand Berlin Writers’ Residency.