The winners for the 2019 Ngaio Marsh Awards, honoring the best in New Zealand crime writing, are:
Novel: This Mortal Boy by Fiona Kidman
First Novel: Call Me Evie by JP Pomare
Nonfiction: The Short Life and Mysterious Death of Jane Furlong by Kelly Dennett
Jessica Love won the 2019 Klaus Flugge Prize, which recognizes "the most exciting and promising newcomer to children's picture book illustration," for Julian Is a Mermaid. Chair of the judges Julia Eccleshare said that "we had another extremely strong shortlist but the judges were unanimous in their decision to award the prize to Jessica Love. Julian Is a Mermaid reminds us that picture books can make us understand the world differently and better; that they are for everyone. It is a ground-breaking book and has the qualities that Klaus Flugge has always championed in his own publishing."
Judge Anthony Browne, a former Children's Laureate and award-winning illustrator, said the winning title "is an astonishingly beautiful book. It's amazing to realize this is Jessica Love's first attempt. She has quickly realized how picture books work--the understated words fit so brilliantly with the stunning illustrations, never getting in the way, never trying to do the same job. It's a perfect picture book."
Fellow judge Farrah Serroukh of the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education added: "The illustrations say things that it would be difficult for words alone to express. The layers of meaning that can be inferred through each spread are rich, sophisticated and plentiful. Quite simply, it is a stunningly beautiful, heart-warming debut."