Readers and Writers

All being well, the Hawke’s Bay Readers Writers Festival kicks off on Friday 29th October and promises a weekend packed full of fascinating conversations on storytelling and the burning issues of the day.

 In the current climate, we need a laugh. Tom Sainsbury will be Zooming in from Auckland to the  Century Theatre to chat with a real live Catherine Robertson, one upping each other with tales of when being the funny one went well and when it, err, really didn’t. Earlier that evening Phoebe Wilton-Stewart will have teased out some stunning stories from Kyle Mewburn, a trans women and beloved children’s author with heart wrenching tales of coming out and living her authentic life.

 Fiction tends to reflect society’s concerns and one of the ongoing issues facing us is violence perpetrated upon women. Becky Manawatu (Auē),Jacqueline Bublitz (Before You Knew My Name)  and Tina Clough (Folded) each refocus their narrative on the women, the children, the vulnerable. Join these novelists at Toitoi to hear how they craft their tales and place the attention where it needs to be.

 We are thrilled to be hosting Matt and Sarah Brown, founders of global anti-violence movement She Is Not Your Rehab. Their work, and their book, is about giving people the opportunity and the tools to heal and it’s incredible. This is about breaking free from cyclical abuse, turning trauma into healing and support. You do not want to miss this.

 Lockdown was a great time to focus on the things we neglected. How’s your garden looking? Kath Irvine brings her edible backyard philosophy to us with a talk and a workshop. Want to be more in charge of what you eat? Grow your own veggies, no matter what kind of a yard you have.

 A last minute and massively welcome addition is Abbas Nazari, author of After the Tampa, his story of fleeing the Taliban as a child and eventually, after a terrifying journey, being granted refugee status in Aotearoa New Zealand.

 Let’s get together and make this revised, small and perfectly formed Readers Writers Festival to remember. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, it’ll change your life.


Louise Ward

Wardini Books


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