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Huia Short Stories 15 by various authors

The latest instalment in Huia's celebrated Short Stories series delivers another diverse and captivating collection showcasing the vibrant landscape of contemporary Māori writing. Bringing together 15 finalists from the prestigious Pikihuia Awards, which promote and celebrate te reo Māori authors, Huia Short Stories 15 spans short fiction, non-fiction and poetry penned in both Māori and English.

Making up the fiction offerings are a dozen stories brimming with insight, imagination and lyrical prose. Standouts include Anthony Pita's wonderful Pikihuia award winning "kintsugi with the colour pink" which uses innovative structure and language to create the drama, and it’s hard to go past the evocative prose of Nadine Anne Hura with “Family Court: Ranginui vs Papatūānuku (Letter to the Climate)”. Raw and emotionally resonant stories leave lasting impressions in this collection.

The eight non-fiction pieces provide snapshots of nuanced contemporary and historic Māori life. Of note is the piece, again from Nadine Anne Hura "A Dangerous Country," an affecting rumination on intergenerational trauma tracing back throughout the history of our nation. Bringing in elements of biography and whakapapa, Hura deftly braids themes of inheritance, oppression and healing.

Rounding out the anthology are twelve evocative poems, with Shelley Burne-Field's "Another brown face" standing out for its delicate symbolism and sobering themes and getting the gong for the Pikihuia award in 2023. Such beautiful expressions of writing capture so much of the lived experience.

As with previous editions, Huia Short Stories 15 succeeds in its editorial mission to provide a platform for promising Māori writers across genres. The passion and skill of the Pikihuia Award talent is clear, making the anthology both an illuminating snapshot of Māori literary arts as well as a thoroughly enjoyable read. From sobering historic reflections to contemporary societal critiques to lyrical nature writing, the range and artistry on display marks the collection as a vital entry in the ongoing renaissance of indigenous storytelling.

Reviewer: Chris Reed

Huia Publishers


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