Literary contest judges looking for well-written works that move readers

Ronald Hugh Morrieson Award judges Mandy Hager, left, and Sue Wootton, right,  ran several workshops at South and ...
Petra Finer

Ronald Hugh Morrieson Award judges Mandy Hager, left, and Sue Wootton, right, ran several workshops at South and Central Taranaki libraries to encourage and support this year's entrants.

Authentically-voiced writing that moves its reader will draw the eyes of this year's Ronald Hugh Morrieson Literary Awards judges.

Novelist Mandy Hager and poet Sue Wootton, the judges for 2015, visited South and Central Taranaki on May 23, 24 and 25 to run a number of workshops for would-be writers.

"I would like to find something that had a real sense of power to it," Hager said. "Something that affects me at an intellectual and an emotional level."

Hager, Waikato University's 2015 writer in residence, said she was excited to see the stories produced for this year's competition.

Wootton, who edits and runs creative writing workshops, agreed.

"The kids I was working with wrote some really lovely work, they pushed themselves and they came out with some really quite remarkable poetry."

Wootton said she looked forward to seeing what the work evolved into.

"I'll be looking for work that is alive somehow and I'll also be looking for evidence of it having been crafted, attention and care having been paid to the work."

Both Hager and Wootton have won a long list of awards.

Hager has won the LIANZA Book Awards for Young Adult fiction three times, the NZ Post Book Awards for YA fiction and five Notable Book awards.

Wootton placed second at the International Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine, won the 2015 Caselburg Trust International Poetry Prize and has recently finished a masters degree.

The Ronald Hugh Morrieson Literary Awards started out as a competition for Hawera High School students 27 years ago.

It has diversified to incorporate Taranaki high school students and launched an open section several years ago.

Poetry and short stories were judged alongside one another until 2012 but are now separated into sections.

Entries opened on May 21 and close on July 31 2015.

The awards ceremony will be held on Wednesday, October 28 at Hawera LibraryPlus at 6.30pm and is open to the public.

 - Stuff

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