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WORD ON THE STREET: Once Upon a Deadline

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Once Upon a Deadline

WORD ON THE STREET: Once Upon a Deadline

Once Upon a Deadline is the world’s first wireless writing marathon. On 10 March its international debut will take place on the streets of Wellington as part of New Zealand Post Writers and Readers Week.

Watch as six New Zealand writers take to the streets. In the course of a single day they will each visit six locations, and by the end of the day have created a story of no more than 1200 words inspired by their adventures. Each will be armed with wireless laptops for ‘googling’ on the run, lots of stamina and their imaginations.

Each writer will follow a different route through six public locations. They will be shadowed by an observer, who will make sure they keep to the rules and the schedule. The locations are secret, and will be announced the morning of the race. The writers must rely on public transport and walking – use a private car and you face elimination! Writers are not allowed to talk with each other, but are encouraged to integrate with the general public they meet during their journey. Encounter a writer on the day and you could be a part of their story!

At the end of the day the writers will gather, and each will meet an editor. Together the editor and the writer will have 75 minutes to polish the stories until they gleam. When the bell sounds, the writers will go to the Pacific Blue Festival Club for the Read-Off, another public event where each will read their story. Three judges will award one of the writers a $2,000 prize. The crowd will then award a People’s Prize.

Once Upon a Deadline is a unique literary event, one which puts the writing process out in public and invites its audience to watch a story be created.

The writers are; playwright, performer and short story writer Jo Randerson (Wellington); playwright and 2008 Writer in Residence at Victoria University David Geary (Wellington); 2006 Sunday Star-Times Short Story Competition winner Sarah Laing (Auckland); the 1995 Bruce Mason Playwrights Award winner Briar Grace-Smith (Wellington); 2007 Sunday Start Times Short Story Competition winner Eleanor Catton(Wellington); and 2007 BNZ Katherine Mansfield Short Story Award winner Carl Nixon (Christchurch).

Australian documentary filmmaker Robert Mac is the founding creator of Once Upon a Deadline.

New Zealand Post Writers and Readers Week runs from 11 — 16 March 2008 during the third week of the New Zealand International Arts Festival.

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