Dunedin Writers & Readers Festival - It's Here!

9 May 2019

Kia ora koutou and welcome to Day #1 of the Dunedin Writers & Readers Festival! We’re kicking things off today with workshops, biography, memoir, children’s picture books, and some late-night poetry. That should be enough to get you nicely match-fit for the following three days of fizzy festival events.


Scripting the Storyworld: Workshop with Emily Duncan

Detective, hostage negotiator and tango dancer: this workshop promises to help you become all three. Emily Duncan, award-winning playwright/dramaturg and 2019 Burns Fellow, explains: "Some of the most fun I've had when writing is figuring out character shifts and strategies. The stakes are set as high as you want, and every risk has a pay-off. You get to be detective, hostage negotiator, and tango dancer all rolled into one." Duncan is keen to help you strong-arm misbehaving characters into place. Best suited to those who already have an idea for a stage play or an early draft. 

10.00am–12 noon
Dunningham Suite, Dunedin City Library
Price: $45 

More info here: 


Maurice Shadbolt

Poet Kevin Ireland said that Maurice Shadbolt (one of his closest friends) set himself up as a full-time writer by “self-belief, hard work, talent, thick skin, effrontery, charm, appalling behaviour and sheer bloody audacity”. In this free, lunchtime session, Philip Temple will talk with Chris Else about the complex Shadbolt character he sought to pin down in Life as a Novel: A biography of Maurice Shadbolt.

12 noon–1.00pm
Dunedin Public Art Gallery
Presented by JW Smeaton

More info here:


Workshop with Barbara Else: Writing for Kids

Fiction writer Barbara Else says, “Writing for children is a double journey. It hopes to create a voice that the young reader can trust. At the same time, for the writer it can be a way of trying again to find the enchanted inner world of being a child, of being new to story.” In this workshop Else will talk you through the business of finding the right voice and requisite bounce to capture a younger audience. She’ll discuss the needs of readers, what the writer can offer and how to focus a story, and take you through some exercises to help you establish a kid-centric tone.

Dunningham Suite, Dunedin City Library
Price: $45

More info here:


Villains and Grannies

Grab your kids and bring them along to this free after-school session. Eric Veillé (author of Encyclopedia of Grannies) meets up with Clotilde Perrin (author of Inside the Villains) for a storytelling/drawing session. Don’t miss this chance to see two of the world’s brightest picture book talents. Suitable for all ages. Grandmas very welcome (villains, not so much).

Dunedin Public Art Gallery Library

A Les Petits Kiwis event, with thanks to Embassy of France, Alliance Française and Institut Français 

More info here:


Dead People I Have Known

Indie-rock legend Shayne Carter (best known for his bands Straitjacket Fits and Dimmer) will talk about his new autobiography, Dead People I Have Known. It covers his stellar music career, the Dunedin Sound, his love of sport, growing up in Dunedin, and everything in between. Chaired by Carter’s former driving student Steve Braunias.

Hanover Hall
Price: $23/$19/$15

More info here:


Poetry at the Savoy

Grab yourself a drink from the bar, sit back in the cosy surrounds of The Savoy, and let five superb poets entertain you: Tayi Tibble (Poūkahangatus), David Eggleton (Edgeland and other poems), Liz Breslin (Alzheimer’s and a Spoon), Michael Harlow (The Moon in a Bowl of Water) and Majella Cullinane (Whisper of a Crow’s Wing). MC Victor Billot promises to keep them all in line.

The Savoy
Price: $23/$19/$15

More info here:

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