Shortlist year: 2010

Shortlist category: Fiction

Published by: Pan McMillan

It is 1905 and brothers Yung and Shun eke out a living as green grocers near Wellington's bustling Chinatown. The pair work to support their families back in China, but know they must adapt if they are to survive and prosper in their adopted home.

Nearby, Katherine McKechnie struggles to raise her rebellious son and daughter following the death of her husband Donald. A strident right-wing newspaperman, Donald terrorised his family, though was idolised by his son.

Chancing upon Yung's grocery store one day, Katherine is touched by the Chinaman's unexpected generosity. In time, a clandestine relationship develops between the immigrant and the widow, a relationship Katherine's son Robbie cannot abide...

As World War I rolls on, and young men are swept up on a tide of macho patriotism, Robbie takes his family's honour into his own hands. In doing so, he places his mother at the heart of a tragedy that will affect everyone and everything she holds dear. Powerful, moving and unforgettable, As the Earth Turns Silver announces the arrival of a bold new voice in contemporary fiction.

About the author

Alison Wong

Alison Wong was born and raised in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, after her great grandparents on both sides migrated from China's Guangdong province in the 1890s. She studied mathematics at Victoria University in Wellington, worked in IT, and spent several years in China.

In 1996 she held a Reader's Digest NZ Society of Authors Fellowship in the Stout Research Centre, and in 2002 the Robert Burns Fellowship at Otago University. Her poetry collection, Cup, was shortlisted for the Best First Book for Poetry at the 2007 Montana New Zealand Book Awards and her poetry was selected for Best New Zealand Poems 2006 and 2007.

As the Earth Turns Silver, her first novel, was published internationally in 2009. It was longlisted for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, shortlisted for the Australian Prime Minister's Award and won the NZ Post Book Award for Fiction.

Alison lives with her family in Geelong.