Taranaki's premiere literary competition, the Ronald Hugh Morrieson Awards, celebrated its 30th anniversary this year as it opened for entries earlier this month.

South Taranaki District Council (STDC) Libraries and Cultural Services Manager, Cath Sheard said over the last three decades the Awards have gone from strength to strength.

"When the awards first started, only secondary school students in South Taranaki could enter, whereas today the competition is open to anyone throughout Taranaki," Cath said.

"Last year we also offered a new section for secondary school students to cover non-fiction writing. This section is a research article piece and is kindly sponsored by the Normanby Lions Club and the Taranaki Daily News," she said.


The Awards, sponsored by the Lysaght Watt Trust, honour the work of one of New Zealand's most preeminent authors, Ronald Hugh Morrieson (1922 - 1972). Morrieson wrote four novels: a coming of age tale The Scarecrow (1963), Came a Hot Friday (1964), Predicament (published in 1975) and his only contemporary novel Pallet on the Floor (1976). All have been adapted for the cinema, the only New Zealand writer to have acquired this achievement. Two short stories were published posthumously, in 1974; Cross My Heart and Cut My Throat and The Chimney.

"Each year the authors who judge the awards always come away impressed at the wealth of talent we have in Taranaki, so I encourage anyone who has wanted to have a go at writing, to put forward a piece - whether it be a drama script, a short story or poem."

"For those interested we also run several writing workshops. You have until 16 August to get your entries in, so put pen to paper, or fingers to the keyboard," Cath said

There are five categories in the Awards; The Secondary School Poetry and Short Story categories, the Open section Poetry and Short Story categories and the Secondary School Research Article category - the winner of which receives a one year subscription to the Taranaki Daily News and $500.