Charlotte Grimshaw has won the Montana medal for fiction.
Judges described her short-story collection Opportunity as "an absorbing series of stories delving into a diverse range of lives which are all interlinked".
They say it was a "clear winner for the breadth and ambition of its design, the layers of its meaning, and the multiplicity of reading experiences it affords".
Grimshaw, the daughter of writer C K Stead, is currently overseas.
Her award was accepted by her publisher Harriet Allan at an event at the Wellington Town Hall on Monday.
The complete list of 2008 Montana New Zealand Book Awards winners is:
Montana Medal for fiction or poetry winner and fiction category winner:
Opportunity by Charlotte Grimshaw.
Fiction runner-up: Edwin & Matilda by Laurence Fearnley
Poetry winner: Cold Snack by Janet Charman (
Montana Medal for non-fiction winner and environment category winner:
Wetlands of New Zealand - A bitter-sweet story by Janet Hunt
Biography winner: The Life and Times of James Walter Chapman-Taylor by Judy Siers
History winner: Te Tau Ihu O Te Waka Volume II: Te Ara Hou - The New Society by Hilary and John Mitchell
Reference and anthology winner: A Nest of Singing Birds: 100 years of the New Zealand School Journal by Gregory O'Brien
Lifestyle & contemporary culture winner: Mau Moko: The World of Maori Tattoo by Ngahuia Te Awekotuku with Linda Waimarie Nikora, Mohi Rua and Rolinda Karapu
Illustrative winner: Bill Hammond: Jingle Jangle Morning by Jennifer Hay, with Ron Brownson, Chris Knox and Laurence Aberhart, designed by Aaron Beehre.
Each category winner was presented with a prize of $5,000.
The winners of the Montana medal for fiction or poetry (formerly called the Deutz prize) and the Montana Medal for non fiction were each presented with an additional prize of $10,000.
The runner-up in the fiction category received $2,500. The Readers' Choice award carries a prize worth $1,000.