A writer with strong Whanganui ties is in the running for the fiction prize at the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. Stephen Daisley's second novel Coming Rain is down to the last four with the winner to be announced in May.

A former Raetihi boy and Parapara shepherd, Daisley won the $80,000 Prime Minster's Literary Award in Australia in 2011 for his first novel, Traitor.

Daisley now lives near Perth but said being short-listed for a national prize in his home country was something special.

"It's a huge honour and I'm really really thrilled about it," Daisley said. "It's a massive, massive thrill to be recognised in New Zealand because it's very dear to my heart."

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Coming Rain is set on rural Western Australia and follows a young shearer's journey into the wheat belt where he falls in love with the station owner's daughter.

"I've been writing, probably for about 30 years, but I've always been working and raising a family. Now I write fulltime."

Daisley said being named alongside authors Patricia Grace, Patrick Evans and David Coventry was an honour. The winner will be announced on May 10 at the Auckland Writers Festival.