Stuck for the perfect Christmas gift? Four prominent authors pick the perfect books for your loved ones.

Emily Writes, author of Rants in the Dark

I have the most wonderful memories of being given books at Christmas as a child. The night before Christmas, if I was very lucky, I'd have a book to read by torch-light under the covers.

It is the most wonderful thing to see my children fall in love with books and this Christmas I'm continuing my tradition of giving them a book each the night before.

This year's favourites include I Need a New Bum by Dawn McMillan, which brings the house down - and my son slept with a plastic capsicum for 10 weeks after reading Toby Morris' Capsicum Capsi Go.


Promised Land by Wellingtonians Chaz Harris and Adam Reynolds is so dog-eared I needed to buy another copy – I've since supported the successful Kickstarter for their second book Maiden Voyage.

This Christmas I'm going with 5-year-old humour Too Much Poo and the absolutely stunning Aotearoa by award-winning illustrator Gavin Bishop. I also bought Feel A Little, by Jenny Palmer and Evie Kemp, which is just too beautiful for words.

I also have The Little Mouses' Tail, a beautiful crowd-funded book created by a family in Auckland passing their Persian heritage and culture down to their children.

I've bought Annual 2 because I think everyone - young and old - can enjoy it.

I have left quite the wish-list of books for my husband, I've asked him to buy me the Journal for Urgent Writing Vol.2 and Airini Beautrais' Flow. I'll be buying my family and friends books as well this Christmas. I've so far bought Black Marks on a White Page, an anthology of Māori and Pasifika writers.

I love Bridget Williams Books Texts for cheaper gifts for loved ones - I've bought Holly Walker's powerful The Whole Intimate Mess and Nicola Gaston's fascinating Why Science is Sexist. As a family gift I'm buying us Maori at Home by Stacey and Scotty Morrison, so we can improve our reo.

Paula Morris, Novelist

This year I'm challenging everyone I know to make (at least) one gift they buy a book by a New Zealand writer, published by a New Zealand publisher, and bought from a New Zealand bookshop.

This way we can all support our local writers, shops and publishing industry, plus give excellent books as presents.

I'm giving my sister Limbs Dance Company: Dance for All People by Marianne Schultz (DANZ), because she went to their classes and performances in the 70s and 80s.

For my nephew I've bought Anne Salmond's Tears of Rangi: Experiments Across Worlds (AUP), about clashes and exchanges in NZ from first contact to contemporary debates about natural resources.

My niece lives in Germany now, so I've already sent her a copy of my new collection of stories and essays, False River, to make her miss home (and me).

And I've got my husband the reissued version Te Toi Whakairo: The Art of Māori Carving by Hirini Moko Mead (Oratia Media) because he's signed up for a Māori carving course at Te Wananga in Mangere next year. Buy NZ books and spread the word: #NZChristmasBookChallenge

Michael Gill, author of Edmund Hillary, a Biography

For myself? From the fiction list I've chosen A Long Way Home by Peter Carey and The Necessary Angel by C.K. Stead, two authors whose books I always read.

To these I'll add Baby by Annaleese Jochems ("subversive debut") and Jesmyn Ward's Sing, Unburied, Sing. Her memoir, Men We Reaped, helps explain the turmoil of the US in 2017.

In NZ non-fiction, Leonard Bell's Strangers Arrive describes the leavening influence on New Zealand of emigres fleeing Europe before and after WWll.

Undreamed of…50 Years of the Frances Hodgkins Fellowship by Priscilla Pitts and Andrea Hotere connects with my affection for Dunedin and an interest in a half century of NZ art.

And my own, Edmund Hillary, a Biography? This was a book I had to write, partly because there was so much material lying around unused, partly to wrestle with why Sir Ed is the person who best represents how we see ourselves.

There are great stories to be told but so much affection to explain, as well as the admiration. So it's an easy choice for armchair mountaineers and blokes over 60, but I've been surprised at the warmth expressed by women readers getting to know a very special person.

Kate De Goldi, editor of Annual 2

For age: 9 & 6 years
Aotearoa; the New Zealand Story by Gavin Bishop; PenguinRandom House (a tour de force of visual storytelling).

The Longest Breakfast by Jenny Bornholdt & Sarah Wilkins; Gecko Press (the chaos of breakfast beautifully rendered).

25 yrs: Floods Another Chamber by James Brown; VUP (limber, clever, mordant, surprising poetry; also very funny).

28 years: Nikau Cafe by Kelda Hains; Nikau Cafe (fabulous recipes; exemplary ethics).

44 years: Hard Frost; NZ literature, 1908-1945; VUP (a thrilling rethink of our nationalist literary legacy. Wonderfully readable scholarly writing).

45 years: Daemon Voices; Philip Pullman, essays on storytelling ed. Simon Mason; David Fickling Books (fierce & exhilarating thinking from one of the best stocked minds in children's literature).

53 years: Salt Picnic by Patrick Evans; VUP (part 3 of the author's "Janet Frame" novels; terrific).

55 years: The new animals by Pip Adam; VUP (enthralling, disturbing, technically virtuosic exploration of work, fashion, and the mutability of self).

67 years: The Blue Cat by Ursula Dubosarsky; Allen & Unwin (war and its devastations, only partially understood by a 10 year old. Spare, beautiful, and desolating).

69 years: White Rage; The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson; Bloomsbury (distressing, necessary anatomisation of structural American racism since the Civil War).

The Big NZ Literary Quiz

1 False River author Paula Morris won the Montana Medal for Fiction for which of her novels?

2 What is the name of the former Green MP who this year released a book about her experience as a mum in parliament?

3 Which Julia Donaldson and Axel Shaeffer picture book was translated in te reo and published by Huia Publishers this year?

4 What is the title of the book by Mandy Hager that she researched during her time as the Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellow in 2014?

5 Witi Ihimaera collaborated on two publications this year: Black Marks on the White Page and Sleeps Standing: Moetu. Who were his key collaborators?

6 What is the name of the third in the Snake and Lizard series from Joy Cowley and Gavin Bishop?

7 What book won the 2017 Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize?

8 What book won the 2017 Margaret Mahy Prize for Best NZ Children's Book?

9 Which New Zealand illustrator became notorious for her Common Household Biscuits & slices in New Zealand?

10 Who is the co-editor of Annual 2, in which the above appears, alongside Kate De Goldi?

11 How many times did Margaret Mahy win the Carnegie Medal? (And for which books?)

12 Who is the current Randall College resident, and won the 2016 Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize?

13 Which book won the Te Reo Award at this year's NZ Book Awards for Children & Young Adults?

14 Which novelist published her first adult novel this year?

15 What is the name of her brother, who published the non-fiction title Hit & Run, in collaboration with Jon Stephenson?

16 Which 23-year-old novelist wrote Baby, which made the longlist for the 2017 Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize?

17 What is the name of the Māori Books and Journalism Awards, run by Massey University?

18 Which publisher releases a series vaunted as "short books on big subjects"?

19 Which bestselling writer and illustrator of more than100 books for children is based in Taupo?

20 Who is the author of bestselling book Aotearoa: The New Zealand Story?

1 Rangatira
2 Holly Walker
3 He Wehi i te Puruma (Room on the Broom)
4 Heloise
5 Tina Makereti and Hemi Kelly
6 Helper and Helper
7 The Wish Child, by Catherine Chidgey
8 Snark: Being a True History of the expedition that discovered the Snark and the Jabberwock…and its tragic aftermath, by David Elliot
9 Giselle Clarkson
10 Susan Paris
11 Twice, for The Changeover and The Haunting
12 Stephen Daisley
13 Te Kaihenga Māpere, by Sacha Cotter & Josh Morgan
14 Mandy Hager, who published Heloise
15 Nicky Hager
16 Annaleese Jochems
17 Nga Kupu Ora awards
18 BWB Publishers
19 Donovan Bixley
20 Gavin Bishop