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Celebrate National Poetry Day in Featherston with Featherston Booktown

Following the successful launch of the ‘Words in Winter’ literary series in June and July, Featherston Booktown’s August events celebrate poetry in many forms.

Friday, 21 August is National Poetry Day, and on Saturday, 22 August, Featherston will be busy and buzzing with spoken and written word events.


Saturday 22 August 2020

12:30 pm – 1:30pm:

Lincoln Gould, owner of Messines Bookshop: Military History and Dave and Patsy Adams, owners of The Dickensian Bookshop, are collaborating to bring the very soulful and intelligent poet, Robert McLean, and his publisher, Roger Hickin of Cold Hub Press, to a poetry reading from Robert’s latest book Enduring Love. Roger, who is also a poet, will read from his collection. To be held at The Dickensian Bookshop, 78 Fox Street, Featherston. Entry is free, koha would be appreciated.

Mosey up to the Anzac Hall on Bell Street for the next event starting at 2:30 pm.

2:30 pm – 3:45 pm: 'A Poet’s Life'

A stellar line up of four cutting-edge Wellington poets will be discussing 'A Poet’s Life' with Radio New Zealand presenter, Lynn Freeman. Featherston Booktown audiences will be familiar with Sam Duckor-Jones, Tayi Tibble, and Jordan Hamel but Helen Rickerby, winner of the Mary and Peter Biggs award for Poetry at the 2020 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards, with her book How to Live, will be a new treat:

Women who speak have always been monstrous.

That twisty sphinx, those tempting sirens;

Better plug your ears with wax, boys.

Sam Duckor-Jones, who last year made the complex decision to leave Featherston for Wellington, has been working assiduously on a new collection. We will be honoured to have him back in town to share some of his new work for the first time.

Jordan Hamel is a Poneke-based poet and performer. He grew up in Timaru on a healthy diet of Catholicism and masculine emotional repression. He is a New Zealand Poetry Slam Champion and editor of the Stasis Journal, the hottest lockdown themed literary journal.

Tayi Tibble is a writer, editor and poet based in Te Whanganui a Tara (Te Whanau a Apanui/Ngāti 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 for First Book of Poetry at the 2019 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.

3:45pm – 4:45pm: Country Tea & Cakes and Jazz

The fabulous Featherston Booktown Tea and Cakes team of volunteers will be serving the now famous Wendy Campbell cheese scones, and home-made baking, including a rich fruit cake made by Anne Hannah, tea, and coffee. There will also be gluten free baking available – all in the Supper Room of the Anzac Hall Complex.

While you’re devouring a cheese scone, Kikorangi, an eight-piece jazz troupe of music students from Kuranui under the guidance of their teacher Saali Marks, will serenade you in the Anzac Hall. This will get you in the mood for our next event:

5:00pm – 6:00pm: 'Dead People I Have Known'

Shayne Carter – the cult pioneer of the 1980’s Dunedin sound, New Zealand Music Hall of Famer, and award-winning author of Dead People I Have Known, will be sharing tales from his autobiography that recently won the Royal Society Te Apārangi Award for General Non-Fiction, and the MitoQ Best First Book Awards: E H McCormick Prize for General Non-Fiction at the 2020 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards with poet and journalist, Richard Langston.

All tickets are $20 and can be purchased from

There are two poetry competitions happening in Featherston leading up to National Poetry Day – one for children run by Joanna Ludbrook at the brand new bookshop in town – The Frog and Chicken, and one for adults – run by Featherston’s Own Charity Op Shop. It’s time to sharpen your pencil and give your inner poet an airing! For further details, contact Joanna Ludbrook and Indigo Freya.

Featherston and surrounds offer bountiful accommodation, retail, wineries, cafes, walks and attractions, so make a weekend of it and come to Featherston Booktown!

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