Authors Airini Beautrais and Sara McIntyre have been named on the longlist for the 2021 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.
The works were selected from 179 entries and include 13 first-time authors, one of whom is McIntyre, whose book "Observations of a Rural Nurse" was nominated for the Booksellers Aotearoa New Zealand Award for Illustrated Non-Fiction.
The photographic book is a personal account of her connection with Kākahi, a settlement about 10km up the Whanganui River from Taumarunui.
Fifty of McIntyre's photographs were displayed at the Sarjeant Gallery last year as part of the accompanying "Observations of a Rural Nurse" exhibition.
McIntyre, herself a "big fan of lists", said there was stiff competition in her category, but that made being nominated feel even better.
"This is the first book I've done, so just to be named alongside them is great," McIntyre said.
"I set off doing this and never thought it would be such a serious book in the end.
"To have it so well acknowledged has been a thrill, because I just thought it would be nice to put a book out for myself rather than anything else."
Producing a book needed to be done carefully, McIntyre said, and scrutinising "every comma and full stop" could be exhausting at times.
"It takes much longer than you think it's going to, which is quite nice actually. By the time this book was published I knew it inside and out."
There were plans afoot for another, McIntyre said, but there was "no need to rush".
Whanganui's Beautrais has previously been on the longlist three times for the Poetry Award and has served on the judging panel for that category.
She is quietly excited to be longlisted for the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction this year.
"The fiction category prize is $50,000 so obviously it would great to win it.
"I will be very happy if I make the shortlist this time."
Beautrais' short story collection "Bug Week and Other Stories" drew high praise from short story writer and novelist Owen Marshall when it was published last year.
Marshall said the stories in Bug Week provided "both recognition and humour", while warning that they were "not for the faint-hearted".
"Bug Week and Other Stories" is Beautrais' first short story collection.
She is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently "Flow: Whanganui River Poems" (2017). Her first collection, "Secret Heart" (2006), won the Jessie Mackay Award for First Book of Poetry at the 2007 NZ Book Awards. In 2016 she won the Landfall Essay Prize.