Tears and laughter at third annual Marlborough Book Festival

Author Greg McGee had the audience in fits of laughter at Spy Valley Wines.
DEREK FLYNN/FAIRFAX NZ

Author Greg McGee had the audience in fits of laughter at Spy Valley Wines.

Ten writers, one photographer and 18 rooms full of captivated readers and writers marks another book festival celebrating New Zealand literary talent.

Guest speakers evoked laughter, tears and inspirational advice over the three days of the Marlborough Book Festival.

Festival trustee Sonia O'Regan​ said the third annual event drew Marlburians as well as people from across the country.

Bill Manhire speaks on his experiences in Antarctica at the Blenheim Club.
DEREK FLYNN/FAIRFAX NZ

Bill Manhire speaks on his experiences in Antarctica at the Blenheim Club.

"It was just another stunner of a weekend. That's the feedback we've been hearing from everybody, the authors as well as people who came."

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O'Regan could not pick a highlight as each speaker had something unique to offer, she said.

Steve Braunias, left, is interviewed by journalist Mike White at the Blenheim Club.
DEREK FLYNN/FAIRFAX NZ

Steve Braunias, left, is interviewed by journalist Mike White at the Blenheim Club.

"They were all excellent. Individually, they were all so different. Even those who spoke more than once, some were moving and some were humorous."

Fellow trustee Kat Pickford​ said journalist Steve Braunias was "incorrigible" during his talk on Sunday afternoon, describing his first visit to Blenheim for the festival and the goldfish he purchased as a souvenir.

Braunias also spoke on New Zealand crime, murder and reputation during a talk with fellow journalist Mike White at Spy Valley Wines on Saturday.

Tessa Nicholson, left, and author Charlotte Grimshaw at the Blenheim Club.
DEREK FLYNN/FAIRFAX NZ

Tessa Nicholson, left, and author Charlotte Grimshaw at the Blenheim Club.

The pair delved into some of the stories presented in The Scene of the Crime, a book Braunias released last year covering criminal and civil cases in New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom.

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An audience member asked if Braunias thought former Auckland investment analyst Guy Hallwright, convicted of running down a Korean man in his Saab, was capable of committing a violent act.

Braunias said it was a topic that often went through his mind, saying in a moment of madness it was possible for anyone to react badly.

Journalist Steve Braunias speaks on crime, politics and quirky people at the Blenheim Club.
DEREK FLYNN/FAIRFAX NZ

Journalist Steve Braunias speaks on crime, politics and quirky people at the Blenheim Club.

Poet Bill Manhire spoke to a packed room at the Blenheim Club on Sunday morning, about the process of writing in his talk "Victims of Lightning: authors and other accidents".

Manhire said while he did not believe in inspiration, "accidents" that could help people find or better express their ideas could be generated through automatic writing, and by writing within constraints.

Festival trustee Lorraine Carryer​ said the writers who visited had a great time staying in Marlborough, arranged with help from the festival's sponsors which included several wineries.

Poet Bill Manhire discusses his experiences in Antarctica at the Blenheim Club.
DEREK FLYNN/FAIRFAX NZ

Poet Bill Manhire discusses his experiences in Antarctica at the Blenheim Club.

Writer Rachael King said she had great fun staying with Witi Ihimaera and Kate De Goldie, and they accidentally stayed up until 2am talking.

"That just encapsulated what this festival is about," she said.

"Reading can be a very solitary thing. But we're a tribe of people who love words, and we get to come out and talk about it. You don't notice the time go by, you just talk about ideas, and life, and words."

 - The Marlborough Express

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