This week, at the Ockham New Zealand Books Awards, in their 51st year and part of the Auckland Writers Festival, Dame Fiona Kidman received the $53,000 Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize for her novel This Mortal Boy.

Dame Fiona Kidman's This Mortal Boy recreates the events leading to the hanging of Albert "Paddy" Black in 1955. Black, a 20-year-old labourer from Northern Ireland, was found guilty of murder after the stabbing of 19-year-old English seaman Alan Jacques at a Queen St milk bar.

Black was the second to last person in New Zealand sentenced to death by hanging. The punishment was