English PEN announced that Richard Beard is the winner of this year's PEN Ackerley Prize, which is dedicated to memoir and autobiography, for The Day That Went Missing. Chair of the judges Peter Parker said: "The title of Richard Beard's beautifully written memoir refers to the day in August 1978 when his nine-year-old brother accidentally drowned during a family holiday. The family's way of dealing with this catastrophe was to suppress all mention and memory of it. Determined to discover the truth, Beard turns detective, sifting evidence and comparing conflicting accounts in order to piece together the long-buried events of that dreadful day and its lingering aftermath. Compulsively readable, fearless, and in places surprisingly funny, the book is an extraordinary act of reclamation and reconciliation."
Accepting the prize, Beard observed: "Memoir is somewhere between history and fiction. On the shortlist we had a champion historian and a champion fiction writer, and I was very lucky to fall in between the two of them."
The shortlisted titles for the 2018 Ngaio Marsh Awards for New Zealand crime fiction, as reported by Books+Publishing, are:
Best Crime Novel:
Marlborough Man by Alan Carter
See You in September by Charity Norman
Tess by Kirsten McDougall
The Sound of Her Voice by Nathan Blackell
A Killer Harvest by Paul Cleave
The Hidden Room by Stella Duffy
Best First Novel:
The Floating Basin by Carolyn Hawes
Broken Silence by Helen Vivienne Fletcher
All Our Secrets by Jennifer Lane
The Sound of Her Voice by Nathan Blackwell
Nothing Bad Happens Here by Nikki Crutchley
Winners will be announced on September 1.