Anyone who has struggled to express themselves will likely find guidance and inspiration from some of the masters of the art during Hamilton Book Month.
Dame Fiona Kidman leads the cavalcade of writers making their way to the city throughout August for a series of workshops, panels and seminars covering topics including illustration, poetry, travel, “life writing”, travel writing, and children’s and young adult writing.
One of the country’s most acclaimed living authors, the Hawera-born Kidman worked as a librarian in Rotorua before becoming a freelance journalist in the 1960s. She wrote he first novel in 1979 and has authored numerous other books, short story collections, poetry, a play, and works non-fiction. The daily life and hypocrisies of suburban New Zealand is a recurring theme of her writing.
Dame Fiona Kidman, the most high-profile writer taking part in the Hamilton Book Month series of events in August.
Kidman will be appearing at the Fiction Three Ways panel on Friday, August 31 at the Meteor Theatre, alongside fellow Wellington author Catherine Robertson and Putaruru’s Julie Thomas.
Among the other authors, reviewers and illustrators heading to Hamilton are Diana Wichtel, Vivianne Flintoff, Donovan Bixley, Angie Belcher, James Russell and Kiran Dass.
A strong Waikato contingent of scribes includes Catherine Chidgey, Tracey Slaughter, Nikki Crutchley, Kat Merewether and Angela Keoghan. They will have a chance to speak about their works and showcase their talents at a local authors event at the Lido Cinema on August 11.
Hamilton Book Month was started 10 years ago by Gail Pittaway, a senior lecturer at Wintec’s School of Media Arts.
It was initially closely aligned to the nationwide series of events known as New Zealand Book Month, which was later truncated to New Zealand Book Week. The dates of Hamilton Book Week were frequently moved to various dates throughout the year, in order to meet sponsorship requirements.
Author and television reviewer Diana Wichtel has written a memoir about the impact of the Holocaust on her family. She will speak at the Travels in Memory l panel on Monday, August 13 at the Meteor Theatre.
“We got fed up with this because we rely on donations and sponsors and volunteers ourselves,” Pittaway said. “So we decided to call our event programme Hamilton Book Month and make it in August, because the one date that never changed was National Poetry Day which is always the last Friday in August.”
Pittaway is still involved with running the festival with Catherine Wallace. This year there are 20 events – up from 13 in 2017 – and some of these will be held in partnership with Wintec’s Spark Festival, which runs from August 6 to 9.
The fiction writing and travel writing workshops have a charge of $20 each for participants. There is also a literary pub quiz at The Londoner, which will have a $10 charge for participants.
Author Julie Thomas will attend the Fiction Three Ways panel with Dame Fiona Kidman and Catherine Robertson.
“We are also working with the New Zealand Book Awards Trust and they are paying to bring book award finalists to Hamilton on August 1,” Wallace said.
“Wintec are supporting the visit of stand-up comedian and writer Michele A’Court, who will speak at a free event at the Gallagher Hub on campus on Monday, August 20.
“There’s also two performances of a play called Today’s Bay by Craig Thaine, based on Katherine Mansfield’s short story At The Bay, and Waikato University has provided event funding for this.”
Today’s Bay will be performed at the Playhouse Theatre at the university on August 18 and 19.
Story by Mike Mather – Stuff