It was “a lovely surprise” for author Lani Wendt Young, who recently found out she won the Sir Julius Vogel award for her young adult novel, Fire’s Caress.
“[There was] much shouting and choo-hoo’s here at our place at Lotopa,” she says.
The Sir Julius Vogel Award honours the fictional works of sci-fi, fantasy or horror works created by Kiwi authors. Fire’s Caress is the 6th book in her Telesa World series.
The book was also shortlisted for the NZ Youth and Children’s Book Awards in 2021, where the judges called Fire’s Caress “a novel of brilliant collision as the roiling, arcane powers of Samoa’s mythological past confront modern-day corporate hegemony.”
Global themes of environmentalism, neocolonial resistance, and the vitality of traditional stories are embodied in deftly written characters, who crackle with intensity and life.”
Wendt Young and her husband Darren first published Telesa in 2011, relying on self-publishing after facing rejections in NZ, Australia and the US. Since then, she’s gone on to write 16 more books and accumulated numerous writing awards.
The author also expressed her gratitude for her readers, “you embraced my stories from the start, and have been amazing about celebrating the Telesa World books – long before traditional publishers, critics, and award panels ever even heard of them. Faafetai lava.”