How to start a book festival

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - FRONT PAGE - SO­NIA O'RE­GAN

What’s bet­ter than a good book and a glass of wine in the mid­dle of win­ter? How about a chance to meet the au­thors and spend time in beau­ti­ful Marl­bor­ough venues too?

That was the vi­sion a group of Marl­bor­ough women had for the Marl­bor­ough Book Festival and it’s pretty ex­cit­ing to be just a weeks from our fifth festival from Fri­day, July 6 to Sun­day, July 8.

So far we’ve hosted au­thors in­clud­ing Fiona Kid­man, Witi Ihi­maera, Pa­tri­cia Grace, Cather­ine Chidgey and more. This year Selina Tusi­tala Marsh, Tom Scott and Glen Colquhoun are in the mix.

For the vol­un­teers be­hind the festival, it’s a priv­i­lege be­yond words to wel­come these au­thors to town.

The Marl­bor­ough Ex­press editor wants to hear the story be­hind the story - let you read be­tween the lines of the event as it were. We may have to tone it down to make it fit to print. We’ll paint a pic­ture of meet­ings held around a kitchen table, ke­babs in hand, puppy dogs cruis­ing in for a pat, chil­dren in pj’s in the back­ground.

Here are the cliff notes on the story so far: The first festival was held in 2014 with six au­thors, two in­ter­view­ers, two venues, and a com­mit­tee of three. Now we’re host­ing 12 au­thors, seven in­ter­view­ers, and have six venues.

Our story is a feel-good, warm, fuzzy com­mu­nity tale. We’ve been able to put on an event that holds its own against big­ger, more well-funded events else­where, all be­cause Marl­bor­ough peo­ple have sup­ported it.

We’ll tell you more about those peo­ple be­hind the scenes over the next few weeks, but in the mean­time I need to let you know that the word is out. Tick­ets to this year’s festival are sell­ing fast, do buy yours soon so you don’t miss out.

Com­mit­tee mem­bers Sharon Hill, So­nia O’Re­gan, Kat Pick­ford, Lor­raine Car­ryer, Char­lotte Pat­ter­son and So­phie Preece.

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