Commutes given a literary flavour

By ODT | Posted: Tuesday May 4, 2021

Dunedin commuters will have something new to read while waiting for the bus this morning.

Local writers, of the past and present, are being celebrated in a series of new decals adorning bus stops around the city.

Dunedin Unesco City of Literature director Nicky Page said copies of the 30 decals were to be installed last night.

The decals, featuring historic transport photographs and quotes from local writers, are a collaboration between the City of Literature, the Hocken Library and the Otago Regional Council.

Ms Page said the focus of the project, called Transported, was to celebrate the link between literature and transport.

It looked at the connection between travel, writing and mobility and the connection between travel and composing a novel or some piece of writing in your head when you were sitting on public transport.

"You see people on buses, trains and planes always reading.

"We really love that idea of relaxing, daydreaming and travel."

The Hocken collection provided the “extraordinary” images of public transport around the city, which celebrated all forms of transport, she said.

She hoped quietly installing the decals overnight would pleasantly surprise people this morning.

Ms Page had planned the project for years and said that it had been hard to narrow the selection down to just 30 out of hundreds of writers, but each quote chosen was a "gem".

One of the featured writers is the late David Loughrey, an Otago Daily Times reporter who died in 2019.

"I’m hoping he would have been really thrilled with the image and the look of the decal," Ms Page said.

"He was one writer that was in mind from the very beginning. I’m very proud that it’s come to fruition."

The installation also coincides with the Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival, which begins on Thursday.

One of the featured writers on a decal was the late Essie Summers, who was also to have a plaque installed at the Dunedin Writers’ Walk in the Octagon on Saturday as part of the festival, Ms Page said.

People could also enter a competition this week to win prizes relating to the festival by sharing selfies, taken with a decal, with the regional council on social media, or by writing a comment.

The decals are printed on weather-resistant vinyl and are expected to last for years.

© Copyright Dunedin City of Literature