Acclaimed Samoan-born novelist Albert Wendt (pictured with Prime Minister John Key) was last night awarded New Zealand’s highest literaryaward – the 2012 Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement for Fiction at Premier House in Wellington.
Albert has been an influential figure in the developments that have shaped New Zealand and Pacific literature since the 1970s, writing numerous works of fiction and several volumes of poetry, and editing notable anthologies of Pacific literature.
Albert Wendt was awarded the 1980 Wattie Book of the Year for ‘Leaves of the Banyan Tree’ and a Montana Book Award for ‘Whetu Moana’ in 2004.
He has won the Commonwealth Book Prize for the S-E Asia and Pacific Region twice – first in 1992 with his novel, ‘Ola’ and again in 2010 with his novel ‘The Adventures of Vela’.
He is acknowledged internationally as one of Samoa’s, New Zealand’s, and the Pacific’s major novelists and poets. He has been an important influence in the development of the indigenous novel around the world, over the past thirty years. His work has been translated into many languages and is read and taught throughout the world.
His most recent book published by Huia Publishers in September 2012 – ‘Ancestry’ – is a collection of his latest short stories.
‘All of us here at Huia congratulate Albert on his award’ said Huia Publishers Managing Director Robyn Bargh. ‘We have enjoyed and have been privileged to work with an author of Albert’s stature over the last decade’.
Albert Wendt was Professor of New Zealand and Pacific Literature at the University of Auckland from 1988 to 2006, and held the Citizens’ Chair at the University of Hawaii from 2004 to 2008. He is now Emeritus Professor at the University of Auckland, and is writing and painting full-time.