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Writers’ Tea Party a Smashing Success


Sunday 13th October saw around 80 people turn out to the 12th annual Writer’s Tea Party in the Hurunui Memorial Library!

The Writers’ Tea Party caters to some of the Hurunui’s most passionate readers and writers. It is organised by the Friends of the Hurunui Libraries and sponsored by the Hurunui Arts Council.

The three guest speakers for 2019 were Alison Glenny, Lawrence Patchett (both currently recipients of the Ursula Bethell Residency at the University of Canterbury), and Lloyd Jones (award winning author of ‘Mister Pip’).

Sandra Williamson, Chair of the Friends of the Hurunui Libraries said it was a very special afternoon. “I particularly enjoyed the questions and answers where there was real insight into the minds of what motivates people to write” she said.

Alison Glenny read poems from her book ‘The farewell tourist’ based on her visit to the Antarctic; she also talked about her interest in early polar exploration. Glenny said the event was one of the highlights of her stay in Canterbury and thanked the organisers and audience. “I'm particularly grateful to Bernie Hall [Local Poet from Amberley Beach] who facilitated us so eloquently, and to the audience members who came and spoke to me afterwards - including the lady who told me about her ancestor, a pioneering female mountaineer” she said.

Lawrence Patchett shared some of his recently released novel ‘The Burning River’, set in a futuristic Aotearoa, where leading character Van’s swamp existence is in continuous danger and plastic is a precious commodity for trading. Patchett said he was very thankful to Bernadette Hall and the Friends of the Hurunui Libraries for such a stimulating afternoon. ‘It was a really memorable event for me. Bernadette chaired the event expertly, and it was a pleasure to be amongst an audience of such informed and engaged readers and writers” he said. “I learnt a great deal from Lloyd about the craft of writing fiction through the course of the afternoon. And it was a real pleasure to work alongside my writing friend Alison, who crafts poems of such magnetic resonance”.

Lloyd Jones, who is a prolific and successful writer, read from his book ‘A History of Silence’, delving into family revelations, including the discovery of his mother’s connection to the Hawarden area, which truly gripped the North Canterbury audience.

The readings were followed by an engaged discussion between the authors and the Chair of the Event, questions from the audience and an excellent afternoon tea.


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