Writer’s festival is free for all
With more than 40 free workshops over five days the inaugural Manawatu Writer’s Festival is set to be a hit for any literary buff.
The programme, running from September 8 to 12, includes authors, poets and speakers from around the country who will host workshops and seminars.
There are few aspects of writing it doesn’t touch on - poetry, family history, interviewing techniques, stand-up comedy, war stories and more.
Organiser Rachel Dore had pieced the puzzle together since October and said registrations before the event had blown her away.
The line-up includes several key note speakers, such as short story writer and novelist Owen Marshall.
It also includes Vincent O’Malley who co-founded the Wellington-based research consultancy History Works. His work focuses heavily on New Zealand history and has been published widely on Crown and Maori historical relationships, and the history of Maori and Pakeha interactions.
‘‘I think there’s almost something for everyone. People who enjoy all genres,’’ Dore said.
‘‘I’m all for anything that gets people’s creativity out, whether it’s visually or in drama or writing.’’
Dore has a long association with writing in Manawatu and a ‘‘lifetime’s interest’’ in writing. She has tutored the Feilding Writers’ Circle since 2010 and more recently the Night Writers and Manawatu Writers’ Hub.
Most workshops will be held in the Feilding Public Library, but the festival has taken over old Manchester House Social Services’ Opportunity Shop in Fergusson St as a pop-up space.
This space will hold a secondhand book sale throughout the duration of the festival.
Dore said the event welcomed writers and readers of any ability and the event was free.
‘‘I wanted it to become available to everyone. I absolutely loathe elitism in the arts. No one should have to pay for creative expression.
‘‘It did come with challenges though. I had to do quite a lot of grovelling to get some of the speakers here - a lot of grovelling - I’ve become quite good at it.
‘‘The festival offers the opportunity to get all the people together. They may be people who just want some creative inspiration or mind food.’’
Author Vincent O’Malley is a guest at the Manawatu Writer’s Festival.