2020 Ngaio Marsh Awards

The winners of the 2020 Ngaio Marsh Awards for the New Zealand crime fiction were announced at the WORD Christchurch Spring Festival on October 30.


  • AUE by Becky Manawatu. [Note: WordPress does not support the proper E with a macron.]


  • The Nancys by RWR McDonald

Both were debut books.

The judges called The Nancys —

“Hilarious and inventive, the dynamic between the young protagonist and the adult characters is unusual and special. A clever hat-tip to one of the most indelible female characters in the genre, and a story that blends crime and humour in unexpected ways. A book with standout, oddball characters.”

The judges said about AUE:

“A breathtaking expose of lives lived on the margins, and the fight for redemption and absolution … takes technical chances without being overbearing, and it’s affecting without being schmaltzy … Utterly devastating and some of the finest prose I have come across in the genre or in any recent Kiwi literature … Manawatu doesn’t use crime as a plot device but shows it woven into the fabric of her characters’ lives, defining them, sometimes destroying them, and serving as a perverse unifier.”

It was the award’s tenth anniversary season.