Celebration of Southern Literary Talent

Celebration of Southern Literary Talent

Friday, October 04, 2013

South Taranaki’s literary talent is again being celebrated with the 26th annual Ronald Hugh Morrieson Literary Awards held next Saturday (12 October) at Hawera LibaryPlus. And if the reaction of the judges is anything to go by the future for South Taranaki authors is extremely bright.

While New Zealand poet, Karlo Mila was impressed by the variety and quality of entries in the Open Poetry section she was simply “wowed” by the Secondary School section.

“These young people are paying such close attention to what’s going on in their worlds and they are capturing it, so honestly, on the page”, says Karlo. “What was particularly powerful is that the young people of South Taranaki are writing about what they know, what they care about, and they are capturing the truth of it, the essence of it, in ways that often only poetry can.”

Mila says choosing the winners was very difficult however she particularly enjoyed the poems that told stories about life changing in South Taranaki. 

 “I enjoyed the cacophony of passionate voices writing about community, about Kiwi identity, about the government, about lament for the wars, and about the everyday politics of what is taught in schools. It was a privilege getting a glimpse into life in South Taranaki.  Even those who missed out on being acknowledged (as finalists) provided me with much reading pleasure,” she says.

Short Story Judge, Eirlys Hunter was also wowed by the secondary school entries in the Short Story section of the competition.

“I want to congratulate and celebrate the young writers of South Taranaki because so many of them have distinctive, authentic voices. Like Ronald Hugh Morrieson, these writers know how to tell a story.”  

Eirlys was moved by several stories that gave her insight into the writer’s private suffering. She says the best stories had pace, energy and tension while others were funny, dramatic and sophisticated. “They had distinctive voices, interesting characters that I cared about, and they also had something to say.” 

The Awards evening is on Saturday 12th October at 7pm at the Hawera LibraryPlus. All members of the public are welcome to attend where the Judges will also be in attendance. Please RSVP to contact@stdc.govt.nzor phone 0800 111 323.



Secondary School Poetry

Alyx Devlin

Ashley Johnson

Dawn Mills

Dominique Haremer-Higgins

Louise Jansen

Sean McColl

Sophie Andersen-Gardiner


Open Poetry

Dave Lee

Jessica Howatson

John Sargeant

Merry Wallis

Rachael Kellogg

Robyn Ryan


Secondary School Short Story

Dawn Mills

Ellen Hodder

Jake Corrigan

Reuben Hall

William Andersen-Gardiner


Open Short Story

Heather Sinclair

Marama Salsano

Paul Andersen-Gardiner

Philippa Harrison

Rolland McKellar


- ENDS –