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Book Activists take control of the country

Media release: for use from 01 October 2009

Book Activists take control of the country

New Zealand’s longest reading festival begins today with Book Activists around the country launching a month-long programme of events.

It’s all about discovering, exploring and loving our Kiwi books for New Zealand Book Month 2009. The festival is designed to celebrate the work of local writers and illustrators, runs for the calendar month of October, and celebrates its 4th birthday with more than 200 uniquely Kiwi events and thousands of participants.

“There’s plenty to get excited about with loads of opportunities to be inspired and revel in the creativity of others,” says Director Michele Powles. “The aim of this year’s New Zealand Book Month is to showcase the stories of this country, get people involved with reading in their communities, and encourage our writers to keep writing!”

Events coordinator Beth Davies has been involved with the festival since its formation and is certain it’s getting bigger and better each year, “we’ve registered more Book Activists, more events, and the activities are getting more and more innovative.”

Beth is particularly looking forward to the “one island, one book” festival where the sonata from Linda Olsson’s novel “Sonata for Miriam”, will be performed at a giant book group meeting held to discuss Olsson’s work on Waiheke Island. “Everyone’s got behind the idea,” says Beth, “Waiheke Library ordered in extra copies, the local Take Note is offering a special discount, Waiheke Radio are serialising a reading for broadcast and podcast. The whole island will know this book!”

Other events of a similar scale over the month include a Guinness World Record attempt in Hastings with the author of “Kiwi Ukulele” and 851 other ukulele players; an eleven centre, simultaneous reading of the 50th anniversary edition of Barry Crump’s “A Good Keen Man”; and the first televised debate over The Great New Zealand Novel, to be broadcast on TVNZ7 via SKY and Freeview from the 17th of October.

New Zealand Book Month begins with a flamboyant Gala Launch party, hosted by Buddle Findlay in Auckland’s Hopetoun Alpha tonight. Check our website to find a New Zealand Book Month event near you:


Notes for editors:

- New Zealanders spend more than 44 minutes a day reading for recreation (Statistics NZ)

- 20.4% of all books purchased in New Zealand are “New Zealand” books (Neilson BookScan)

- Established and mid-career New Zealand authors earn an average annual income of $15,000 for their work (NZ Society of Authors)

- Michele Powles is an author herself and was recently awarded the Robert Burns Fellowship for 2010 (University of Otago)

- New Zealand Book Month 2009 runs from 1 to 31 October. Our website has more news, events and competitions:

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