Whanganui writer Airini Beautrais is a finalist in New Zealand's most prestigious book awards.
Beautrais' first short story collection Bug Week and Other Stories was published in 2020 and made the longlist for the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards last month.
Her book is now shortlisted to win the $57,000 Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction.
She is up against two past winners of the fiction award, Catherine Chidgey and Pip Adam, along with previous nominee Brannavan Gnanalingam.
Beautrais said she was delighted to have her work recognised by the judging panel.
"It is something you do alone so it is nice when it has been read and people respond positively to your work.
"I'm looking forward to putting a nice frock on and going to Auckland for the party if Covid levels will allow it."
Judges described Beautrais' work as "short stories which explore the weird, the eerie and the mordantly funny in Bug Week".
These four highly accomplished works couldn't be more different but all pack an immense literary punch, fiction category convenor of judges Kiran Dass said.
"Craft, nuance, urgent storytelling, rage against injustice and new perspectives are at the forefront of these four impressive books."
Award-winning American novelist Tommy Orange will assist three New Zealand judges to select this year's fiction winner.
The winners of the 2021 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards, including the four MitoQ Best First Book award winners, will be announced at a ceremony on May 12 as a public event during the 2021 Auckland Writers Festival.
Beautrais 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.