Rooms wins NZ Booklovers Award for Best Lifestyle Book 2023


Rooms: Portraits of Remarkable New Zealand Interiors by Jane Ussher and John Walsh has won the NZ Booklovers Award for Best Lifestyle Book 2023. Judges said of the book:

‘Words like opulent, lavish and luxurious come easily when we are describing Rooms. The hardcover of the book is a luscious hot pink — daring and vibrant — it pops out from under the all-white dust jacket like a flash of racy underwear on a conservatively-dressed person. Not that the jacket itself is sombre, it’s just more understated and elegant — the white and gold setting the tone.

Then comes the mostly jade-green double-page spread of the inside cover, which is again a nice contrast to the hot pink, and which features a fabulous tropical panel detail from inside the book.  By now, the reader is on their toes guessing, anticipating the further delights to come. And come they do. The photography, the featured rooms . . . every page is splendid.

And, as it should be in a book like this in which the images need to be heroic, the small plates and details are left to the back of the book not languishing, you understand — and important in their own right, but allowing the photographic portraits to be the diva. Congratulations must go to Jane Ussher and John Walsh, but also to the publishers, Massey University Press, which has realised this ambitious project magnificently. Rooms is that rare kind of book which is so well executed, so exquisitely detailed, that it becomes an instant taonga. From the exotic end-plates to the velvet bookmarks, this is a benchmark book which sets new standards for publishers to aspire to.’

Congratulations to Jane Ussher and John Walsh, and all the other winners! You can see the full list here.