Eleven writers from the wider Whanganui Region have been named finalists in the Ronald Hugh Morrieson Writing Awards.

Of the 237 to enter Taranaki's premiere literary competition, Hawera's Maria Cunningham, Bruce Finer and Pip Harrison are all finalists in the open section.

Secondary school finalists include Hawera High School's Niall Clancy, Maddison Cossey, Sasha Finer, Noah Hunt, Heather Phillips, Yani Remoto and Georgia Sparks, and Patea Area School's Denzal Adlam.

This year's competition is being judged by renowned Maori poet and storyteller Apirana Taylor, novelist and Tessa Duder, award recipient Rachel Stedman and journalist Matt Rilkoff.


The four were impressed by the diverse perspectives portrayed in the stories and praised the courage required to tell a story as personal as that of [the writers'] lives.

The awards ceremony is being held at the TSB Hub in Hawera on October 25 from 7pm and includes a performance by Taylor and is open to the public.

Sponsored by the Lysaght Watt Trust, the awards 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).