The finalists for this year’s Pikihuia Awards for Māori Writers have been announced. Several familiar names appear on the list, but many new faces also attest to the fact that Māori writers are still very much alive and well.
Categories for 2011 were:
- Best short story written in Māori
- Best short story written in English
- Best novel extract written in English
- Best short film script written in English
- Secondary School Award Category
More than half of the finalists have been previously published, and appear once again on the finalists’ list.
One familiar name that has been selected for both the short story category and the novel extract category is Ann French, who lives in Tauranga. French has been selected as a finalist and published five times in HUIA’s collections of short stories.
When asked what she thought makes a good story, French commented, ‘A good story must have heart and touch the understanding and instincts of the reader. A good story is also about humans and all their fallibilities and strength. I think Māori people have great strength’.
Having been largely recognised as a short fiction writer, French is starting to enjoy the practice of novel writing and stated that, ‘It was the easiest thing to produce 5000 words for a novel because it came straight from the heart. I write from the heart and I write what I feel at the time.’
The Pikihuia Awards for Māori Writers, formerly known as the HUIA Short Story Awards, were established in 1995 to identify and promote Māori writers. This has resulted in the publishing of hundreds of stories, including those by many award-winning writers.
For many established Māori writers, these awards are where they started. This year’s winners will be announced at a ceremony on the 27th of August where Huia Short Stories 9 will be launched, featuring the short story and novel extracts finalists.
The Awards are again sponsored by the Māori Literature Trust, Creative NZ, Te Puni Kōkiri, New Zealand Film Commission, Huia Publishers and Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori. The featured artwork for the Pikihuia Awards for Māori Writers 2011 was designed by Wiremu Barriball. His artwork will also feature on this year’s book cover.