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Bumper programme for 2019 Featherston Booktown Festival

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Whether you’re looking for a new favourite novel, keen to hear the inside scoop from some of the country’s top authors, seeking tips on how to pen a poem, there is something for all readers, writers and lovers of books at this year’s Featherston Booktown Festival.

Held from 9-12 May, the festival features an exciting and diverse range of Kiwi wordsmiths, with everything from panel sessions, workshops, children’s activities and literary-themed special events thrown in the mix. Topics include parenting and literature, the secrets of a crime writer, special previews of yet-to-be-finished novels, women and literature, queer writing, fierce girl poets, the Keith Murdoch mystery, the history of New Zealand newspapers and a Harry Potter quiz for anyone with an interest in wizardry.

As in previous years, the 2019 Featherston Booktown Festival will feature a stellar range of New Zealand writing talent. Special guest authors include novelists Lloyd Jones, Dame Fiona Kidman, Greg McGee and Catherine Robertson, children’s book writer and illustrator Gavin Bishop, blogger and writer Emily Writes, and poets Ashleigh Young, Tayi Tibble, Te Kahu Rolleston and Kate Camp.

With a carefully-designed programme spread across three action-packed days, Featherston Booktown Festival operations manager Mary Biggs says the event is for anyone who loves to read, write, create, imagine and be surrounded by books.

"We’re thrilled to have such a great range of authors coming to Featherston for the festival, and whether you’re into historical literature, illustrated novels, page-turning thrillers or tales about life in New Zealand, there really is something for everyone."

Events will be held at venues throughout Featherston, and the festival will kick off with the now famous Fish‘n’Chip supper. This year, the always sold-out event will feature renowned writer Greg McGee, creator of the iconic play Foreskin’s Lament.

"The festival is now in its fifth year and some events are back by popular demand, while others are new to the programme," says Mary Biggs. "Innovations include a Mother’s Day afternoon tea on the Sunday with five extraordinary women writers, Late Nite Lit - with writers reading their work in intimate surroundings, special children’s reading sessions with Joy Cowley, Who’s on the Couch? breakfast events and the always popular True Stories Told Live.

"We are also thrilled to have a record number of booksellers at Featherston Booktown this year, offering a wide range of books for sale."

Featherston Booktown 2019 is the first festival since Featherston Booktown achieved official international Booktown status, conferred by the International Organisation of Booktowns in 2018. There are now 22 Booktowns throughout the world, and criteria for membership include having a certain number of book shops in the local community (Featherston has six and counting) and holding a regular book festival.

"In a fast-moving digital age where many of us have high stress levels, it’s fantastic to celebrate the simple joy of reading and the miracle of the book," says Mary Biggs. "It’s also refreshing to spend a weekend in the beautiful South Wairarapa, experiencing a genuine and generous community like Featherston bringing people together around books, writing and ideas."


The Featherston Booktown Festival runs from 9-12 May. For more information on Featherston Booktown, see

The full event programme will be posted on the website on April 5th.

Tickets will be available via Eventfinda, and children’s events and activities will be free/koha.  

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