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Featherston Booktown Karukatea Festival 2021

Festival Presenters 2021 

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Adam Dudding is an Auckland journalist, author and podcaster. His memoir My Father’s Island won the EH McCormick Award for best first non-fiction book at the 2017 Ockham Book Awards, and he was co-creator of the true crime podcast Gone Fishing, which won Best Podcast at the 2019 Radio Awards. His less celebrated CV entries include deckhand, busker, and utterly unsuccessful double-glazing salesman.

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Anahera Gildea (Ngāti Tukorehe) is a poet, essayist, short story writer, and ‘artivist’. She has been extensively published in journals and anthologies and her first book was published by Seraph Pres sin 2016. She is the co-editor of Te Whē and is currently undertaking doctoral research at Victoria University of Wellington, developing critical literary theory based on Māori intellectual traditions.

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Anthony Tedeschi MRSNZ is Curator Rare Books and Fine Printing at the Alexander Turnbull Library. Originally from the United States, Anthony holds advanced degrees from Indiana University and the University of Otago, is involved in numerous library and book history organisations, and has over 17 years’ experience working in rare book and research libraries. In 2018, he was awarded a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship to undertake research in the UK on Alexander Turnbull’s book-collecting life.

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Arihia Latham (Ngāi Tahu) is a writer, rongoā practitioner, facilitator and mother. Her writing has featured in Huia, RNZ, Landfall, Oranui, Food Court, Te Whē, Awa Wāhine, The Spinoff Photoforum and Pantograph Punch. She writes a regular arts column for Stuff and has presented at Verb festival, NZ festival of the Arts and Te Hā. @writtenbyarihia

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Ashleigh Young is the author of two poetry collections, Magnificent Moon (2012) and How I Get Ready (2019), and one essay collection, Can You Tolerate This? (2016). She works as an editor at Victoria University Press.

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Baz Macdonald is a storyteller and journalist based in Wellington. For the past four years, you could find him every Saturday morning reading stories, telling jokes, and having a yarn with the kids at the Vic Books Storytime in Wellington – with occasional visits from his dog, Honey.

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Ben Brown was born in Motueka on a mid-winter Friday night in 1962 placing him among the last of the Boomers, a distinction to which he remains completely indifferent. This father of two is a writer. He writes because he believes in magic and he reads and witnesses the proof of his belief every single day of his life.

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Brannavan Gnanalingam is a novelist and lawyer based in Wellington.  He has published six novels, including Sprigs (2020) and Sodden Downstream (2017), which have both been shortlisted for the Acorn Foundation Prize at the Ockham Book Awards, while his fourth novel A Briefcase, Two Pies and a Penthouse (2016) was longlisted for the 2017 prize. He is also a regular columnist for the Sunday-Star Times.

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Carl Shuker is a researcher and writer in health quality intelligence. He is the author of five novels - The Method Actors, winner of the Prize in Modern Letters in 2006; The Lazy Boys; Three Novellas for a Novel and Anti Lebanon. His latest work is A Mistake, which tells the story of a young female surgeon at Wellington Regional Hospital, and the reverberations of her workplace error.

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Carolyn DeCarlo lives in a glass menagerie in Aro Valley. She is a founding member of Food Court, a reading collective for emerging and marginalised writers in Te Whanganui-ā-Tara. A selection of her work appeared in AUP New Poets 5 in 2019.

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Catherine Cooper is a writing coach and author of fiction and nonfiction. Her first two books were a collection of historical short fiction (The Western Home, 2014) and a novel (White Elephant, 2016). Her first co-authored (with Ali Foster) children's picture book, Good For You, Helen Dew, is forthcoming from Duck Creek Press in 2021.

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Catherine Robertson’s novels have all been number 1 New Zealand bestsellers. She is the co-owner of Good Books, an independent bookshop in Te Aro, Wellington, and in 2020, she was the CNZ/International Institute of Modern Letters Writer in Residence. Catherine reviews for the NZ Listener, and is a regular guest on RNZ's The Panel, and Jesse Mulligan’s Book Critic slot. She is on the board of Verb Wellington. Catherine’s latest novel, Spellbound, will be out in April this year.

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Catriona Ferguson is the Director of the New Zealand Publishers Association, an enthusiastic reader and an occasional book reviewer.

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Cheryl Gallaway is a multidisciplinary artist and designer working from her studio in Featherston, the Wairarapa.

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Chris Finlayson is a barrister. He was an MP for almost 14 years during which time he was Attorney General and Minister for Treaty Negotiations (2008 to 2017), Arts (2008 to 2014) and GCSB and SIS (2014 TO 2017). He is a trustee of the Adam Foundation, Chamber Music NZ, the Archibald Baxter Trust and was recently appointed to the Norman Kirk Memorial Trust. His book on Treaty Settlements will be published in a few months.

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Chris Price’s most recent poetry collection Beside Herself has been described as ‘pitch-perfect…a rich collection full of pleasures and surprises’ (Landfall). Her partner, Robbie Duncan, is a guitarist and long-time audio engineer. Chris and Robbie have performed both music and poems together over a number of years, but The Lyre of Orpheus is their first show exploring the relationship between the two.

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Claudia Orange is an Honorary Research Fellow at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington. She has published widely on New Zealand history, on race relations and on the Treaty of Waitangi, her most recent publications being new editions of her award-winning book The Treaty of Waitangi (2011), The Story of a Treaty (2013) and The Treaty of Waitangi/Te Tirit o Waitangi: An Illustrated History (2021). As an expert on the Treaty’s history, she was part of the small team that created exhibitions in the Waitangi museum (2016), and the Treaty House (2017). In 2009 Claudia received the honour of Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

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Colin James was a political journalist for 50 years from 1969 bar four years in London in the mid-1970s. He has published eight books in addition to monographs and book chapters and is working on a 50-year political history. He is a life member of the Parliamentary Press Gallery and of the E Tu Union, a fellow of the Institute of Public Administration, a senior fellow of the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies and has an honorary doctorate from Victoria University of Wellington.

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Danyl (pronounced Dan-ill) McLauchlan studied biology and computer science at Victoria University of Wellington, and worked and travelled in Europe, the Middle East and Asia before he returned to Wellington, where he works at the VUW School of Biology. He is the author of the comic noir novels Unspeakable Secrets of the Aro Valley (VUP, 2013) and Mysterious Mysteries of the Aro Valley (VUP, 2016). His essays on literature, politics, economics, science and philosophy appear on The Spinoff and he was a host of Politics in Pubs, a series of live events for election year 2020.

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Dave McManus is the owner of The Copy Press which provides New Zealand’s most comprehensive self-publishing book design, print and distribution service.

Each book produced has an individually tailored production package which can be combined with a unique marketing and distribution service.

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David Riley is a children’s writer and teacher based in South Auckland. He’s written nearly 50 books for Kiwi young people, and has delivered reading, writing and drama workshops throughout Aotearoa and in the Cook Islands. He’s also helped community groups and young people to write and publish their own stories such as the Auckland Tuvalu Community Trust and children from Flat Bush School in Ōtara. David lives in Manukau with his wife Debbie, who is Samoan and also a teacher, and their two daughters.

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Donovan Bixley is one of New Zealand’s most acclaimed and awarded picture book creators with over 120 books published in 31 countries. His award-winning titles span high–brow to low–brow and every brow in between, from his illustrated biography Much Ado About Shakespeare, to the hilarious hijinks of pussycats in planes in Paris in his Flying Furballs series. His books have been twice selected for the International Youth Library’s White Raven award which annually lists the top 200 children’s books in the world, and he was recently named an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for his services to New Zealand children’s books.

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Emma Barnes lives and writes in Pōneke / Wellington. They have just released their first book I Am In Bed With You. For the last two years they've been working with Chris Tse on an anthology of LGBTQIA+ and Takatāpui writing to be released this year by Auckland University Press.

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Never throwing away even so much as a popsicle stick when she was a kid, Fifi Colston is a bit of a hoarder of paper, glue and tape and for many years showed Aotearoa’s kids how to make cool things on TVNZ’s What Now, and then The Good Morning Show. She now spends most of her time writing and illustrating children’s books... and making things (still!)

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Freya Daly Sadgrove is a writer and performer from Pōneke. She is the architect behind Show Ponies, hailed by Janis Freegard as “a new bar for poetry”. Her first book, Head Girl, was published in February 2020 with Victoria University Press.

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Gavin Bishop ONZM is a writer and illustrator of international reputation. As a picture book author and artist, he has published 70 books that have been translated into twelve languages and won numerous awards. Most recently he was awarded the Te Tohu A Tā Kingi Ihaka for a lifetime contribution to Māori Art and culture and The Prime Minister's Award for Literacy Achievement.

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Graham Judd trained as a printer at the Masterton Printing Company in the late 1960s. Now retired, he continues to run a small printshop in Auckland, providing boutique letterpress printing, and enjoys running adult and children workshops. Sharing the history of printing with a hands on experience on his old Albion Press is something Graham is passionate about.

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Late in 2020, nine young men from Hato Pāora College came together with six indigenous writers from the Pacific for three creative writing wānanga, culminating in the publication of an inspiring book of poetry, story, and illustration. Always sincere, sometimes humorous, often conflicted, and most importantly, spoken from the heart. The launch of this inaugural edition of Te Aka ki Hato Pāora is a rare opportunity to witness a new generation of Māori voices as they take their place in the literary landscape of Aotearoa New Zealand.  This project was brought to life in collaboration with multiple partners including Te Whē, Read NZ Te Pou Muramura, TOI Māori, IIML, and Te Herenga Waka. The students and kaiako of Hato Pāora invite you to come and share in this celebratory moment. Prepare to be moved as you listen to readings from this ground-breaking bilingual collection!

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Helen Lehndorf is a writer and writing teacher. She has written two books, ‘The Comforter’ (poetry) and ‘Write to the Centre’ (non-fiction). She believes art can heal and loves to help people connect to their creativity.

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Helen Rickerby lives in a cliff-top tower in Aro Valley. She’s the author of four collections of poetry, most recently How to Live (Auckland University Press, 2019), which won the Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry at the 2020 Ockham Book Awards. Since 2004 she has single-handedly run boutique publishing company Seraph Press, which mostly publishes poetry.

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Helen Vivienne Fletcher is a children’s and young adult author, spoken word poet and award-winning playwright. She has been traditionally published, indie published, and a few things that fall somewhere in between. She discovered her passion for writing for young people while working as a youth support worker, and now helps children find their own passion for storytelling through her businesses Brain Bunny Workshop and My First Book.

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Ian Fraser was New Zealand’s pre-eminent current affairs interviewer and presenter for more than twenty years. His career beyond television has included running New Zealand’s presence at Expo 88 in Brisbane and Expo 92 in Seville as New Zealand Commissioner General. He was Chief Executive of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (1998-2002) and Chief Executive of TVNZ (2002-2005). He has been a professional actor and theatre critic as well as an aspiring concert pianist – and his delusion that he might perhaps also be a poet took him briefly into the circle of James K Baxter in Dunedin during the late 1960’s. Not many people know this.

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Ida Lune is a band based in Wellington, New Zealand. Members Anna Wooles, Deanne Krieg, and Rose Blake bring together their training in contrasting styles including jazz, classical, and electronic music to inform their emotive compositions. Ida Lune take pride in their detailed three part harmonies and interweaving melodies which are enhanced by layers of synth and strings.

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Jackson Nieuwland is a genderqueer poet. Their first book, I Am A Human Being, was published by Compound Press in 2020 and was longlisted for the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. This isn't even their final form.

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John Campbell is a huge admirer of Ashleigh Young’s writing. But that doesn’t pay very well, so, to earn a living, he co-hosts Breakfast for TVNZ. He has a 30 year career as a broadcast journalist, in radio and television. In 2017, he was named global Radio Presenter of the Year, at the Association for International Broadcasting Awards, in London.

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John Daniell has written non-fiction (Confessions of a Rugby Mercenary) and fiction (The Fixer).  He's also written TV drama (Westside, Dirty Laundry), journalism (Guardian, FT, Le Monde and NZ Listener among others) - and, most recently, plenty of podcast scripts.  In the last year he has hosted two podcast series, The Service (RNZ) and He'll Be Right (Stuff). He and Noelle McCarthy run Bird of Paradise, one of Featherston’s best known boutique podcast production houses.

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Jordan Hamel is a Pōneke-based writer, poet and performer. He was the 2018 New Zealand Poetry Slam champion and represented NZ at the World Poetry Slam Champs in the US in 2019. He is the co-editor of Stasis Journal and co-editor of a forthcoming NZ Climate Change Poetry Anthology from Auckland University Press. He is a 2021 Michael King Writer-in-Residence and has words published in The Spinoff, Newsroom, Poetry New Zealand, Landfall, and elsewhere.

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Manawatū born and raised, Josh Morgan (Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki, Rongowhakaata) is a freelance illustrator and musician living in Wellington, New Zealand with his partner, the author Sacha Cotter, and their wee family. Together they form the amazing storytelling / song writing / award-winning-picture-book-making team Cotter & Morgan.

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Joy Cowley is a writer of fiction for adults and children. Her books have international acclaim, and she has been short-listed for the Hans Christian Anderson Award. Her spiritual writing has adult readership in many countries. Joy has been Featherston Booktown’s Patron since 2017.

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Joy Holley lives in Wellington and has recently completed her Masters in fiction at the International Institute of Modern Letters. Her writing has been published in Starling, Sport, Stasis and other journals.

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Julia Marshall started Gecko Press, an independent, international publisher based in Wellington, in 2005. Gecko Press translates and publishes carefully selected children’s books by some of the world’s best writers and illustrators, from countries including France, Germany, Japan, Poland, Sweden and the Netherlands. Each year, Gecko Press also publishes a number of books by New Zealand authors and illustrators, including Joy Cowley, Gavin Bishop and Barbara Else.

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Kate Mead - owner of the popular bookstore, Loco Coffee and Books in Featherston - was the first-ever Festival Director of Featherston Booktown and ran the first three festivals voluntarily while holding down a full-time job. Originally from the UK, Kate trained as a cellist and worked for many years at RNZ before leaving her music career to run her bookshop - which has since become a vital and vibrant part of the community.

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Keith Quinn has been a journalist since he left college in 1965. For radio and TV he went to the Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games ten times each! He also commentated on approximately 200 test matches. He has written 20 books and reads voraciously. That’s because he lives in an apartment directly above Unity Books in Wellington; a perfect place for him in his retirement years!

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Kimberly Andrews' picture books have been widely acclaimed and her best-selling Puffin the Architect (2018), won the Russell Clark Award for Illustration, was a finalist for Best Picture Book in the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, along with a Storylines Notable Picture Book Award as well as the NZ Booklovers Award for Best Children’s Book. Kimberly lives with her husband and her two daughters in a small shipping-container house near Wellington, where she illustrates and writes, and runs her business Tumbleweed Tees, screen-printed clothing featuring her illustrations of New Zealand plants and wildlife.

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Leeanna Morgan is a USA Today bestselling author. She started her self-publishing journey in 2014 and since then, has published 34 novels. She's looking forward to sharing her knowledge about self-publishing and discussing how she manages her career as a romance author. https://www.leeannamorgan.com/

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Lilla Csorgo, originally from Canada, started off her writing career as a playwright, and has had her plays produced in Toronto, New York City, Ottawa, Budapest and Wellington. Her short stories have been published in North & South and three anthologies. The Janus Affair is her first novel but not her last. She's currently working on a near-future dystopian trilogy set largely in New Zealand. Watch out for Lilla's play, Bangkok, as part of Limelight Theatre Company's 2021 season in Carterton.

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Liz Mellish is a Trustee on the Featherston Booktown Board. She is the Chair of the Palmerston North Maori Reserve Trust and the Card Reserve Artificial Surface in Featherston. She also maintains directorships across a diverse range of organisations including Metlifecare Palmerston North Retirement Village, Wharewaka O Poneke Ltd, Hikoikoi Management and Haukawakawa Ltd. In her more than 40 years of living in Featherston, Liz has witnessed much change in our town and is deeply connected to the creativity and warmth of the heart of our community.

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Lucy Revill is a Wellington writer, blogger and book author. She also works by day in the public service as a Senior Policy Analyst. Lucy published her first book in late 2020 The Residents: Made in Wellington off the back of a hugely successful crowdfunding campaign that raised $37,000. It went on to become a Unity Books Bestseller for Christmas 2020.

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Lydia Wevers wrote Reading on the Farm  about the Wairarapa and is a literary historian. Because there are so many excellent second-hand bookshops in Featherston she likes to talk about writers who were big in their time but have now joined the ocean of books that still exist in the preloved bookshops of the world.

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Madeleine Chapman is a writer and director based in Auckland. She's the author of Steven Adams: My Life, My Fight and Jacinda Ardern: A New Kind of Leader. Madeleine is a senior editor at North & South and director of the documentary series Scratched: Aotearoa's Lost Sporting Legends.

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A writer and photographer, Madeleine Slavick has voting rights in Aotearoa, Hong Kong and the United States. On the list of things she loves: mica, the foghorn, fermented black beans, tmesipteris, night-blooming cereus, 热闹 (joy in and from a crowd), and the word ‘particularizing’. Her Chinese name 思樂維 can translate as ‘happy thinking’.

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Madison Hamill is the author of Specimen: Personal Essays and also works as a book editor. Reviewers describe her as 'a stand-out voice'. Her mum describes her as 'mysterious'.

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Children’s nonfiction author Maria Gill has written 60 books including the 2016 Book of the Year winner ‘Anzac Heroes’. Storylines have also awarded another ten as Notable Books. In 2020, Storylines awarded Maria the Margaret Mahy Medal for services to children’s literature.

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Marion Castree is a champion of Aotearoa/New Zealand literature.This passion was passed on to her by her mother and grandmother, Dulcie Castree and Marian Rowan respectively. Marion is the buyer at Unity Books Wellington for adult Aotearoa/New Zealand literature.

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Mary McCallum is a poet, novelist and publisher (Mākaro Press and The Cuba Press) based in Martinborough and Wellington. Her XYZ of Happiness was on the Listener's top-ten poetry books 2018, one poem was selected for Best NZ Poems and another won her the Caselberg Trust International Poetry Prize. Her novel The Blue (Penguin) won two national book awards in 2008, and Dappled Annie and the Tigrish (Gecko) was awarded a Kirkus Star in the US.

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Michael Fitzsimons is a professional writer and founding director of award-winning Wellington communications company FitzBeck Creative. He has two published books of poems – Now You Know and Michael, I thought you were dead which was published by Cuba Press in 2019.  Michael lives on a hill in Seatoun where he writes, reads, rides and attempts yoga.

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An international storyteller for over 50 years, Mona Williams has had a joyous life in New Zealand as an English lecturer, writer, Afro-Caribbean dance teacher, mother and now, Nana of seven mokos. She can't wait to share her Caribbean-Jewish vivacity, songs, clapping, dance and tales from many lands with you, soon!

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Nadine Anne Hura (Ngāti Hine, Ngāpuhi) is a poet and essayist based in Wellington. She lives with her three children and writes a monthly column for The Spinoff.

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Nicky Pellegrino is the Auckland-based author of 12 internationally successful novels about love, food and Italy. Last year A Dream of Italy was the top selling New Zealand fiction title and her latest novel Tiny Pieces of Us is a compelling human drama. Nicky has a south Wairarapa connection - her husband’s family settled in the area in the 1800s and she is a regular visitor.

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Noel Shepherd lives deep in the bush in the Whanganui district. He has worked at a variety of jobs: teaching, possum trapping, building and many more. He has held a guiding concession in Tongariro National Park and Kaimanawa Forest Park, rugged areas that feature strongly in Man Alone.

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Noelle McCarthy is an interviewer, podcast-maker and writer. She runs Bird of Paradise Productions here in Featherston with her husband, John Daniell. Her autobiographical essay Buck Rabbit won the Fish International Writing Competition in 2020. Her first book - a memoir - will be published by Penguin Random House next year.

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Of Ngati Kahungunu, Rangitane ki Wairarapa and Te Arawa whakapapa, Paora Ammunsen runs his own management consultancy business since 1998.

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The author of eight novels and a collection of short stories, Paul Thomas has been described as “the Godfather of New Zealand crime fiction” for his ground-breaking series featuring Maori detective Tito Ihaka. The second Ihaka novel, Inside Dope, won the Crime Writers’ association of Australia’s inaugural Ned Kelly award for crime novel of the year; Death on Demand won the Ngaio Marsh award and was UK crime fiction guru Mike Ripley’s 2013 crime novel of the year. the Ihaka novels have been translated into several languages and published in a number of countries, including the UK and the USA.

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Paula Green is a poet, children’s author and anthologist living on Auckland’s west coast. She runs the much-loved blogs NZ Poetry Box and NZ Poetry Shelf and had three books out in 2019 (Wild Honey: Reading NZ Women’s Poetry, Groovy Fish and other poems, and The Track (poems). In 2017 she was awarded the Prime Minister’s Award for Poetry and became a member of the NZ Order of Merit.

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Penny Griffin 'fell' into Librarianship when she moved to Featherston in the 1970's . As a regular Library user with three children, she was offered some relieving work and discovered a deep passion for Librarianship and a love of children’s and young adult’s books. Penny qualified as a Librarian as an adult and has now celebrated her 35th year as Featherston Branch Librarian.

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Peter Biggs (Biggsy) has had a 25-year distinguished career in the advertising industry, leading award-winning agencies in New Zealand and Australia. He has had a significant involvement in the arts sector for many years, including being Chair of the Arts Council of New Zealand (Creative NZ) from 1999 – 2006, a member of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra board, a founding board member of the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas in Melbourne and a Trustee of the Arts Foundation of New Zealand. He has been Chair of Read NZ Te Pou Muramura (formerly the New Zealand Book Council) since 2010 and Chair of Featherston Book Town since 2018. Biggsy was appointed a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for Services to Philanthropy and Arts Governance in 2013.

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Peter Whiteford is a Professor of English Literature at Victoria University, where he has been teaching for 30 years. His teaching and research areas include medieval literature, New Zealand literature, and the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins. He has published extensively in all of those areas and is currently working on a book on Hopkins.

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Philippa Cameron is the wife, mum, cook (and now author) on a South Island High Country Station.  The daily interactions of what I am cooking for smoko and lunch at Otematata Station is documented through my Instagram page @whats_for_smoko, where I share tried and true recipes to fuel our staff.  I am passionate about food, our wool, farming in New Zealand, and everything great about rural communities.

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Pip Adam is a fiction writer who has published a collection of short fiction and three novels. She's been making the podcast Better off Read since 2014. The podcast is designed to give listeners insights into writing and reading.

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Rachel Kerr is a Wellington based writer and librarian. She has a BFA in film from Canterbury University and an MA in Creative Writing from Victoria. Her debut novel Victory Park was longlisted for this year’s Ockhams New Zealand Book Awards.

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Rachel McAlpine's first three books of poems were published while she was living, mothering, and teaching in Masterton in the 1970s. They included the blistering feminist manifesto, Stay at the Dinner Party, and more plays and novels followed. After 20 years as a pioneer in digital content, 81-year-old Rachel has returned to poetry with a best-seller: How To Be Old.

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Rajorshi Chakraborti is an Indian-born, Wellington-based novelist, essayist and short story writer. Raj is the author of six novels and a collection of short fiction, including The Man Who Would Not See, which was longlisted in the fiction section of the 2019 Ockham Awards. Shakti, Rajorshi's latest novel, is a supernatural mystery thriller set in present-day India.

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Rawiri Smith is a storyteller because it is the responsibility as the oldest mokopuna of his Nanny Ida and Poupou Te Rangikaiwhiria. He has been an English teacher, code for dreaming about being a storyteller. Ra now works for his iwi giving narratives for Wairarapa concerns.

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Rebecca Hawkes writes steamy poetry about beastliness, weeds, and moody werewolves. Her debut chapbook Softcore coldsores was published in AUP New Poets 5 in 2019, and she edits the literary journal Sweet Mammalian. You can also find her words and artwork on her website - rebeccahawkesart.com.

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Renée was born curious and bossy and that has not changed. Writing is her work and her pleasure, and she feels lucky to live in the age of technology.

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Papermaking appeals to Rob Kennedy equally as a creative pursuit and as a technical challenge. As well as the joy of making and improving one’s craft, papermaking has been a wonderful vehicle to meet people from a broad range of backgrounds. It never ceases to amaze Rob how many share his passion for handmade paper and it is always enjoyable for him to help people reconnect with this traditional craft.

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Robyn Ramsden is a self-taught medieval and renaissance book maker inspired to make books while at medieval events. She enjoys encouraging others to make books. Robyn is currently studying geology and science communication at Victoria University, working part time and full time mother of two boys.

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Roger Robinson is known internationally as a writer on running, with six books that are all classics of the sport's literature, and many contributions to leading magazines like Runner's World. His most recent book, When Running Made History (Syracuse University Press and Canterbury University Press) was widely acclaimed as “the best running book ever” (Outside, USA), and his next, Running's Greatest Stories, is in press. He was Professor of English at Victoria University of Wellington for thirty years, with publications that included the Oxford Companion to New Zealand Literature, Robert Louis Stevenson: His Best Pacific Writings, and Katherine Mansfield: In from the Margin.

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Rose Lu is a Wellington based writer. Her essay collection All Who Lives on Islands was published by VUP in 2019, and explores language, family, friendships and food. Her undergraduate degree was in mechatronics engineering, and she has worked as a software developer since 2012.

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Rose Northey is a Wellington-based comedy poet and illustrator. She is a TedxAuckland Alumni, the current champion of the Going West Writer's Festival, and the runner-up in the 2020 National Poetry Slam. Rose writes about chips and dogs and homeless ghosts, bringing a sense of joy and theatrical silliness into all of her art forms.

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Author Sacha Cotter is an award-winning children’s writer based in Wellington. She is the author of Keys/Ngā Kī, The Marble Maker/Te Kaihanga Māpere and the 2019 Margaret Mahy Children’s Book of the Year, The Bomb / Te Pohū  - all published by HUIA and illustrated by her partner in both books and life, Josh Morgan.

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Sam Duckor-Jones is a writer and artist, formerly of Featherston.  He has exhibited widely across New Zealand and his work is held in many notable collections.  His first poetry collection People from the Pit Stand Up (VUP) was published by in 2018 and his second collection Party Legend (VUP) comes out this June.

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From primary schoolers to Presidents, Gucci to grassroots graffiti artists, drag queens to THE Queen, Selina Tusitala Marsh ONZM breaks the usual poetry boundaries. As NZ’s first Pasifika Poet Laureate she takes poetry to the people and reveals how her difference makes the difference. Among her latest accolades is being made a Fellow of the Royal Society of NZ, Te Aparangi.

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Shona Riddell is a writer from Wellington and the author of Guiding Lights: The Extraordinary Lives of Lighthouse Women (Exisle Publishing, 2020), which explores the history of female lighthouse keepers around the world (Kete Books described Guiding Lights as a beautiful, clever book, capturing the stark, wave-lashed ruggedness of lighthouse-keeping’). Her other books are Trial of Strength, a history of New Zealand’s remote southern islands, and The Tale of the Anzac Tortoise, a children’s book about her family's tortoise from Gallipoli. To learn more about Shona and her books, visit shonariddell.com.

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Steve Laurence is the owner of Almo’s Books in Carterton, an independent new bookstore. Almo’s Books was the venue for Wai Word events for some time until audiences grew to a size which required a larger venue.

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Suzanne McFadden has been a journalist for 35 years, specialising in sports reporting for the majority of those. She has covered Olympics and Commonwealth Games, five America’s Cups and numerous world championships during her time at the New Zealand Herald and a 17-year stint freelancing. With a number of writing awards under her belt, she is now editor of LockerRoom, a unique news site devoted solely to New Zealand women in sport. In 2016, Suzanne published her first book, Striking Gold - the story of the New Zealand men’s hockey team who won gold against the odds at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. She is married with two adult sons, and a new grandson.

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Tara Black makes comics and sits in the front row of book events so she can draw the writers. Her work appears on The Sapling, Stasis Journal and her website, taracomics.com. Her first graphic novel, This Is Not A Pipe, is available now.

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Tarns Hood’s poetry has energy, character, passion and quick flow. The Wellington 2x Poetry Slam Champion, Tarns has performed at festivals, variety shows, across stages and over airwaves. Her animated style has been commissioned for charity and awareness fundraisers, opened for bands, emceed gigs and performed at corporate events. Tarns delivers rhythmic, powerful works around addiction, mental health, identity and general irreverence.

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Tayi Tibble is a writer and editor based in Te Whanganui a Tara (Te Whanau a Apanui/Ngati Porou). She is a staff writer at The Pantograph Punch, a columnist at Re: and was the editor of the literary journal, Sport 47. Her first book, Poūkahangatus was published by Victoria University Press in 2018 and was the winner of the Jessie McKay Prize at The 2019 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.

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Te Kahu Rolleston

- I talk smack quicker than most jokers.

- I am grounded in my upbringing in Tauranga Moana.

- I challenge you to a duel of pens and wit!!! Hahaha.

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Te Maire Tau is the director of the Ngāi Tahu Research Centre at the University of Canterbury. He took up this position in 2011, having previously been a Senior Lecturer in History at the University. Te Maire belongs to Ngāi Tahu, the principal tribe of the South Island, and lives in Tuahiwi, the largest village of that tribe. Te Maire is the Ūpoko (Director) of Ngāi Tūāhuriri (the tribal group of the Tuahiwi region in Canterbury). During his years as an undergraduate and later as a postgraduate student at Canterbury, Te Maire helped iwi leaders with their land claim to the Waitangi Tribunal, with a particular emphasis on traditional food-gathering practices. As a specialist historian on oral traditions, tribal genealogies and indigenous knowledge systems, Te Maire was used as an expert witness and historian for the settlement of the Ngāi Tahu Claim - the largest settlement in its day between Māori and the Crown for lands wrongfully taken. Since then, he has had a number of publications dealing with oral traditions and the relationship between indigenous knowledge systems and how they intersect with western science. Te Maire’s research interests include the philosophy of knowledge, oral traditions, myth, indigenous development and history.

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Tim Grgec was the 2018 recipient of the Biggs Family Prize for poetry. Having failed to achieve his childhood dream of playing for the Black Caps, he now has delusions of becoming a great writer. His first book of poetry, All Tito’s Children, is forthcoming with Victoria University Press.

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Vana Manasiadis is a poet raised in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington and Kirihi Greece. Her most recent book The Grief Almanac: A Sequel followed her earlier Ithaca Island Bay Leaves: A Mythistorima in experimenting with form and hybridity, and she has translated from the Greek for Ναυάγια/Καταφύγια Shipwrecks/Shelters and co-edited Tātai Whetū: Seven Māori Women Poets in Translation, with playwright Maraea Rakuraku. In 2021 she is Ursula Bethell Writer-in-Residence at Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha Canterbury University.

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Vincent O’Sullivan is a fiction writer, poet, biographer, playwright, editor, and librettist. His most recent works are the novel, All This by Chance, 2018, Selected Short Stories, 2019, The Dark is Light Enough: Ralph Hotere, 2020, and a new collection of poems, Things OK with you?, 2021. Also released this year on Naxos, his collaborations with composer Ross Harris, FACE, Symphonic Songs and Choruses, and Last Letter: Symphony No 6. He lives in Dunedin.

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Wellington Zinefest is a team of creatives, activists and enthusiasts that have been working in Wellington for fourteen years putting on events and running workshops. Our passions are zines (pronounced zeens), community and creativity. We hold an annual zine festival and run workshops and markets throughout the year. Zines are self-made and published booklets about everything and anything. Popularised by punk culture in the 70s, zines have a long history and a thriving community of makers to this day. Wellington Zinefest are excited to make our first trip over the hill for Featherston Booktown where we will be available for chats and zine selling, making and swapping.