Readers and Writers

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.

So, what do you fancy, reader? If it’s searingly topical poetry, may I suggest Mana/va in which Tusiata Avia and Karlo Milo will focus on the space that they hold and how their work gives meaning to things.

 You want a laugh, don’t you. Tom Sainsbury will be sharing with 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 Tom will have teased out some stunning stories from Kyle Mewburn and Lil O’Brien, women with heart wrenching tales of coming out and living their authentic lives.

 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’s Festival Hub 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.

 Most of us walked every day, but probably not as far as Geoff Chapple. The inventor of the Te Araroa Trail sits down with old pal Roger Hall to yarn about a life of music, protest, writing and much more.

 There was also a great deal of brushing up on your reo skills whilst we had stolen time. With it being hard to get onto over-subscribed te reo Māori courses, Scotty and Stacey Morrison’s Māori Made Easy books have made learning accessible. Join them to chat about the importance of keeping the reo strong.

 We had grand plans to bring you some overseas authors…and we still shall, but with a truly distanced, digital twist. Craig Silvey (Jasper Jones, Honeybee) will zoom in from Australia and Graham McTavish (Outlander, Lord of the Rings, Clanlands) will travel through space and time to beam in from the U.K. This is Festival at its most cutting edge!

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

Louise Ward
Wardini Books

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