Time Out Books: NZ Bestsellers


For the week ending 1 May 2022





1. Greta and Valdin by Rebecca K. Reilly (VUP)

Another week in the top fiction spot for a finalist in the Ockham New Zealand Book Awardsthe only debut shortlisted for the $60,000 Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction. Charlotte Grimshaw sees it as part of ‘the great, joyous tradition of dramatic comedies.’ Read her full review here.



2. Kurangaituku by Whiti Hereaka (Huia)

A subversive, imaginative re-framing of the myth of the monster bird woman, Kurangaituki is an audacious structural featand another finalist for the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize. Hereaka’s first novel for adults has been compared with Keri Hulme’s The Bone People: ‘both push against the conventional expectations of how to write and read a novel,’ writes Tania Roxborogh for Kete.


3. Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason (HarperCollins)

Shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction in the U.K., this is an exploration of inheritance, desire and forgiveness, it’s the ‘blisteringly funny’ story of tall, blonde, and brilliant Martha’ set from the mid 90s to 2017, ‘as she navigates life with an undiagnosed mental illness, Josie Shapiro writes on Read Close.



4.  A Good Winter by Gigi Fenster (Text)

Another Ockhams fiction finalist, and winner of the 2020 Michael Gifkins Prize for an unpublished manuscript, A Good Winter is a tense, disturbing and often funny psychological thriller about women’s relationships and dangerous obsessions. A ‘a short, powerful portrait of a mind on the edge, writes Rebecca Hill for the ANZL: read her full review here.



5. Auē by Becky Manawatu (Mākaro Press)

We can’t get enough of the winner of the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction at the 2020 Ockham NZ Book Awards. Auē has been New Zealand’s best-selling novel for the past two years. Hear Becky discuss her book with Lynn Freeman on Radio New Zealand.







1. Grand: Becoming My Mother’s Daughter by Noelle McCarthy (Penguin)

Yet another week at number one for an engrossing memoir that is ‘complex, thrilling and raw’ and ‘the opposite of comfort reading,’ writes Rachael King. ‘At the heart of this book is a revelation about lines of women in families, and trauma, and how it has the potential to repeat. In fiction, in myth, we’d say we are doomed to repeat it’. Read the full review on Reading Room.


2. NUKU: Stories of 100 Indigenous Women by Qiane (Qiane + Co)

A finalist in the Illustrated Nonfiction category in this month’s Ockham NZ Book Awards, this beautiful book combines photography and first-person testimony to showcase indigenous women making a difference in politics, healthcare, business, education, sport and the arts. Read an interview about the multi-year project with Qiane at te ao Māori News.


3. The Mirror Book by Charlotte Grimshaw (Vintage)

A return to #1 for the memoir sensation of last year, a General Nonfiction finalist in this month’s Ockham NZ Book Awards. A ‘fascinating portrait of not only a family, but the writing process. How we magpie material (go and make a story out of it) and what we build from it and at whose expense?’ Read Rachael King’s full review here.



4. Things I Learned at Art School by Megan Dunn (Penguin)

A ‘rich, rewarding, funny and poignant memoir written as a series of essays beginning from early childhood and ending in the ICU ward with her mother in 2019.’ Via Gen-X pop-cultural icons and moments, we move through Dunn’s misadventures in art school, her obsession with mermaids and bar-tending at a massage parlour. Read Sally Blundell’s full review here.



5. I Am Autistic by Chanelle Moriah (Allen & Unwin)

Another strong week for this interactive guide to understanding autism, written for autistic people and their families, friends and workmates. Listen to Chanelle discuss the book’s kaupapa and success on Nine to Noon.



'NZ literature is such a vast and varied thing' - Pip Adam

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