Marlborough Book Festival celebrates biggest event yet

RICKY WILSON/STUFF

Ivan Sutherland addresses the audience before the session with Anne Salmond.

Blue skies and some of the nation’s best writers, lovers of literature had plenty to cheer about at the Marlborough Book Festival.

The fourth edition of the festival, held during the weekend, celebrated its biggest event yet with more than 1300 tickets sold.

Marlborough Readers and Writers Charitable Trust trustee Sonia O’Regan said the event had gone from strength to strength and organisers were pleased with the result.

“We have been really thrilled. We couldn’t be happier. I don’t know if we can top it, but we can definitely equal it next year,” she said.

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“It is a highlight in the middle of winter. It started as something for Marlborough readers, but it has gone on to attract visitors from across the country.”

Author Dame Anne Salmond, left, and Tessa Nicholson during a session at the Marlborough Book Festival.

RICKY WILSON/STUFF

Author Dame Anne Salmond, left, and Tessa Nicholson during a session at the Marlborough Book Festival.

The festival launched in 2014 with a lineup of six authors.

This year’s bill expanded to 11 writers across six venues, which included the Boathouse Theatre and Hunter’s Wines for the first time.

Australian award-winning dinosaur journalist John Pickrell also marked the event’s first international guest as he detailed his time on archeological digs.

Charles Anderson speaks at the long-form journalism panel at the Marlborough Book Festival.

RICKY WILSON/STUFF

Charles Anderson speaks at the long-form journalism panel at the Marlborough Book Festival.

O’Regan said the session with Joy Cowley, one of New Zealand’s best-loved writers for children, had been a memorable talk.

“It was really moving, and quite giving of her to tell her story,” she said.

“I’ve seen quite a few people buying books and then lining up to have them signed by the author, which is lovely.”

Author Sarah Laing, left, is interviewed by Jane Forrest Waghorn at the Boathouse Theatre.

RICKY WILSON/STUFF

Author Sarah Laing, left, is interviewed by Jane Forrest Waghorn at the Boathouse Theatre.

The festival sold out of 90 per cent of tickets, an improvement of about 400 tickets on last year.

O’Regan said the team were very happy with this year’s edition as the event had grown in profile and attracted readers from further afield.

“It’s great to show off the region to the visitors and the authors,” she said.


 – The Marlborough Express

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