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Capacity Crowds Thrilled by Dunedin Writers Festival

Media release
For immediate release
Sunday May 11 2014

Capacity Crowds Thrilled by Inaugural Dunedin Writers Festival

Sell-out crowds enjoyed multi genre events and a stellar line up of international and New Zealand authors, including Alexander McCall Smith, Huw Lewis-Jones, Janice Galloway, Professor Nigel Leask, and Man Booker prize-winner Eleanor Catton, at Dunedin’s inaugural Writers and Readers Festival, which ended today.

Hundreds of festival goers from around New Zealand and Australia attended a variety of free and ticketed events held during the week, including a mass book launch, writer talks, poetry readings, political debates, short film screenings and today’s Mother’s Day High Tea at Dunedin’s Savoy with celebrity chef Julie Le Clerc. Overall, close to 2000 tickets were sold to the events.

Friday night’s official opening at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery also included an announcement of the Festival Patron – Dunedin writer Lynley Hood – as well as readings from Burns Fellow Majella Cullinane, Eleanor Catton, Alexander McCall Smith and popular young adults writer Kate De Goldi.

According to event organisers, the stand-alone festival has been a “resounding success”, which builds on the popular former national writers event Wordstruck! held in Dunedin for almost 15 years.

“Almost every session was sold out and the feedback has been incredibly positive,” says Alexandra Bligh, chair of the organising committee behind the event.

“Festival goers have been inspired, stimulated, made to laugh and moved throughout the sessions. We’re thrilled to have created such a strong foundation for our inaugural festival and look forward to building on our work next year.”

Supported by Creative New Zealand, Dunedin City Council, Otago University Press, the University Book Shop, and the Otago Community Trust, the Festival coincides with Dunedin’s bid for UNESCO City of Literature status. The bid is currently being assessed and a decision will be announced in November.


For more information about the festival, go to

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