Capacity Crowds Thrilled by Inaugural Festival
Sell-out crowds enjoyed multi genre events and a stellar line up of international and New Zealand authors, including Alexander McCall Smith, Huw Lewis-Jones, Janice Galloway, Professor Nigel Leask, and Man Booker prize-winner Eleanor Catton, at Dunedin’s inaugural Writers and Readers Festival, which ended on Sunday 11 May 2014.
Hundreds of festival goers from around New Zealand and Australia attended a variety of free and ticketed events, including a mass book launch, writer talks, poetry readings, political debates, short film screenings and a Mother’s Day High Tea with celebrity chef Julie Le Clerc.
Friday night’s official opening at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery began with the announcement the Festival Patron, Dunedin award-winning writer Lynley Hood. Roger Hall introduced the talented panel of authors with readings from Burns Fellow Majella Cullinane, Eleanor Catton, Alexander McCall Smith and popular young adults writer Kate De Goldi.
According to event organisers, the stand-alone festival has been a “resounding success”, which builds on the popular former national writers event Wordstruck! held in Dunedin.
“Almost every event was sold out and the feedback has been incredibly positive,” says Alexandra Bligh, chair of the organising committee behind the event.
“We’re thrilled to have created such a strong foundation for our inaugural festival and look forward to building on our work for 2015.”
Supported by Creative New Zealand, Dunedin City Council, Otago University Press, the University Book Shop, Otago Community Trust, Creative Advertising Ltd and JW Smeaton, the Festival coincides with Dunedin’s bid for UNESCO City of Literature status. The bid is currently being assessed and a decision will be announced in November.