Samoa’s award winning author, Lani Wendt Young recipient of Best Youth Novel award


Award-winning Samoan author, Lani Wendt Young is the winner of the Best Youth Novel award in the 2022 Sir Julius Vogel Awards in New Zealand. 

Wendt-Young, achievements as an Author continues to be recognized for her exemplary work in fiction writing. In February 2019, she was the recipient of a New Zealand Society of Authors’ Waitangi Day Honor. The following year she was the 2018 ACP Pacific Laureate, selected by the Africa, Caribbean, Pacific Group of States.

The writer prize recognises creativity, courage and entrepreneurship. The prize acknowledged her fiction writing, utilising of digital publishing to take Samoan stories to a global audience, and also her journalism, when she was the Editor for the former media outlet, Samoa Planet.

In 2018 Wendt-Young, was the recipient of the Douglas Gabb Australia Pacific Journalism Internship, hosted by ABC News and the Australian Dept of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

In response to Radio Polynesia question over her latest achievement, Wendt-Young, said it’s gratifying to see her work get this kind of recognition, but was not an easy journey. 

“Especially when I think of how I started 11 years ago, publishing my own books after having my first novel Telesa was rejected by so many publishers. 

“I’m thankful for my husband Darren who encouraged me and who believed in my writing dream enough that he said, ‘Let’s take out a loan on our house to do this.” 

Wendt-Young, said while book awards are nice to get, what’s even more rewarding over the last decade, has been to see so many more of our Samoan and Pasifika storytellers writing and publishing their work – online, getting them into bookstores, libraries and classrooms.

“Taking control of the process and retaining ownership of our stories.” 

Adding that she is grateful and thrilled for this book from the Telesa World. In a post on her official Facebook, she thanked the Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of NZ.

“Thank you to everyone who supported this book, my awesome NZ publisher OneTree House Press, and thanks to the fabulous readers who have embraced my stories from the start and been amazing about celebrating these books.

“Faafetai lava.” 

The Sir Julius Vogel awards are fan-voted awards for various endeavours in the science fiction, fantasy or horror fields. Professional nominations can be for novels, short stories, art and others. Fan nominations can be for fanzine, writing, art, Services to Fandom, Services to Science Fiction and more.

Voting for the Sir Julius Vogel Awards takes place before and at the National Science Fiction convention each year.