Dunedin Writers & Readers Festival Newsletter

By Dunedin Writers & Readers Festival | Posted: Thursday November 19, 2020

Things are progressing apace in the Festival office with the programme for 2021 coming along nicely – the plethora of writers and subject matter to choose from is overwhelming and makes for a lot of great reading and thinking.

We attended a Courage Day event at Dunedin City Library on Sunday, put together by local writer Mira Harrison, the NZ Society of Authors, the City of Literature, and of course the delightful team at the Library. Six local writers read poetry and prose with the theme of freedom of expression, in solidarity with a small selection of international writers imprisoned or otherwise persecuted for practising their craft. Attendees were invited to write a message for each of the writers, and these solidarity books will be sent to them.

It was a moment of thoughtfulness about the importance of stories, the ones you write and also the ones you live. Keep telling them!

Things to do…

The Centre for the Book at the University of Otago is holding a symposium this Friday 20 November – registration is free but essential for catering purposes. Topics range from Anglo-Saxon poetry to NZ artists’ books, from Samuel Johnson to Henry Miller. Programme and other details are at here.

The 2020 Prime Minister’s Awards for Literary Achievement have been announced – our congratulations to Sir Tīmoti Kāretu (non-fiction), Jenny Bornholdt (poetry) and Tessa Duder (fiction). John Campbell is facilitating a live, online panel discussion with them at 6.30pm, Tuesday 24 November.

Here’s a podcast we came across recently that you might like – Guy Somerset asks Wairarapa personalities, visiting musicians, writers, and artists, and other notable New Zealanders what has influenced their life in art.

Calling all youth readers!

Hooked on NZ Books is looking for keen readers aged 11-19 to read and review the latest NZ young adult books.

Hooked on NZ Books is a website for YA readers all about reviewing and New Zealand Books, previously run by NZ Review of Books and now by Read NZ Te Pou Muramura.
Hooked on Books is also an archive of reviews written by young readers, and has pages with review-writing tips, interviews with authors, and other resources. More information here.

From around the world

Guadalajara (Mexico) was named World Book Capital for the year 2022 by the Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, on the recommendation of the World Book Capital Advisory Committee.

The city, already a UNESCO Creative City since 2017, was selected for its comprehensive plan for policies around the book to trigger social change, combat violence, and build a culture of peace.

Malaysia’s 10th George Town Literary Festival will be held virtually from 26-29 November. Themed Through the Looking Glass, this year’s festival will look at the role of literature and art in a time of crisis and includes award-winning Malaysian novelist Fatimah Busu, Malaysian actress Sharifah Amani, bestselling Penang-based novelist Fahmi Mustaffa, and winner of the 2020 Epigram Books Fiction Prize, Joshua Kam.

The winner of the 2020 Booker Prize for Fiction will be announced in a star-studded programme featuring HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, President Obama, Kazuo Ishiguro, Margaret Atwood, Bernardine Evaristo, and others, in a ‘ceremony without walls’ broadcast from London’s Roundhouse on 19 November. There are also some related events listed at the bottom of the page linked above.

Still seeking Dunedin's diaspora

We're still on the hunt for Dunedin people living in the other UNESCO Cities of Literature – can you help?

We are looking for Dunedin writers, in any genre - fiction, non-fiction, poetry, theatre, blogging, journalism, academia, you name it - who are currently residing in any of the Cities of Literature (click here for the list).

So far, we have four writers from Melbourne and one from Utrecht but we know there are people in other places...

If you know someone, please ask them to get in touch with us at festivaldirector@dwrf.co.nz.


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