Keri Hulme (Kāi Tahu, Kāti Māmoe) was the first New Zealander to win the prestigious Booker Prize in 1985. She was also the first writer to win the Booker Prize with a debut novel. In August 2022, the original manuscript of the bone people was sold at auction and the proceeds of the sale have been gifted to the Māori Literature Trust. This generous koha will strengthen our mission to foster and promote Māori writers, whilst giving us an incredible opportunity to honour the legacy of the visionary Keri Hulme.
We have collaborated with the Hulme whānau to determine how the proceeds can be used to support the future of Māori writers with career development, workshops and more. Together we have decided the best way to benefit the Māori writing community is to save and grow much of the fund for long-term, sustainable initiatives.
To acknowledge Keri Hulme and her incredible contribution to Māori Literature, we are establishing an award in her memory. We are honoured to announce the Keri Hulme Award, presented bi-annually to a mid-career writer who represents the value of perseverance against the odds. The Hulme whānau have chosen this value as it best represents the publication of the bone people. The award will include prize money to support working writers, as well as the guardianship of an award taonga, once presented to Keri Hulme herself. We look forward to announcing more details in the coming weeks.
Chair of the Trust, Robyn Bargh said “We are truly grateful for this extraordinary gift. Throughout her life, Keri has been a steadfast advocate for Māori writers. This koha will enable us to honour Keri’s legacy, by providing more opportunities for Māori writers.”