Emily Perkins has won the top prize for fiction at the Montana Book Awards.
The judges said her book Novel About My Wife registered the nuances of class, concealment and reserve in domestic English life. One judge noted that Perkins had "recolonised English literature". Her work won the medal for fiction or poetry.
Perkins told Morning Report that winning the award means a lot to her.
"Just a really lovely recognition," she said. "It was a great shortlist and all of the books that were being recognised last night were fantastic."
Wellington curator and writer Jill Trevelyan won the top non-fiction prize with her biography Rita Angus: An Artist's Life.
The Peoples' Choice award went to Kate de Goldi for The 10pm Question.
Te Reo dictionary
The first dictionary to be written entirely in te reo, He Pataka Kupu - te kai a te rangatira, won the Maori Language Award.
The dictionary, whose name translates as "a storehouse of words - the food of chiefs", contains about 24,000 words.
Montana Book Awards Te Reo Maori advisor, Hone Apanui, says it is a ground-breaking work that has a major role to play in the renaissance of the language.
The awards were presented at the Auckland War Memorial Museum on Monday night.