Lovers of literature in the Waikato have a lot to look forward to this year.
Hamilton Book Month will be marked throughout March with a series of bookish activities to celebrate New Zealand authors and their writing, including science writer Rebecca Priestley, poet Kate Camp and novelists Hamish Clayton and Elizabeth Knox.
Hamilton Book Month was conceived to run in conjunction with New Zealand Book Month. However, that series of events was subsequently shifted to August, to coincide with the New Zealand Post Book Awards.
In the meantime the Hamilton committee, which formed last year, were so enthusiastic and organised they had forged ahead and gained funding and planned four weeks of events and activities for March.
"Anyway, we are going ahead and calling it Hamilton Book Month," committee member Catherine Wallace told the Waikato Times. "We will no doubt have some other events in August during New Zealand Book Month."
The opening chapter of Hamilton Book Month was on Saturday, when Camp read from her latest collection of poetry, Snow White's Coffin, at Creative Waikato's space on Alexandra St.
Tomorrow, Priestley will present a talk entitled Penguins, Pumice and the Past: The Adventures of a Science Writer, in which she will detail a career that has taken her on journeys to Scott Base, Antarctica and Raoul Island in the Kermadec Islands - trips that have inspired blog posts, articles, essays and more.
In her books she has journeyed back in time, writing about New Zealand scientists, editing an anthology of writing by scientists and, most recently, exploring NZ's nuclear history in Mad on Radium: New Zealand in the Atomic Age.
Priestley will talk at 6.30pm about the adventure and challenges of writing about science, the broader challenges of science communication and what inspires her in her work at the Lady Goodfellow Chapel at Waikato University.
On March 13 at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts, Mark Bunting will chair a panel consisting of Carole Beu, Ngaire Atmore, Hamish Wright and Tom Rennie who will talk about what they have read lately and their recommendations.
Clayton will talk to Dr Kirstine Moffat about historical fiction and his prize-winning first novel, Wulf, at Creative Waikato at 6.30pm on March 18. He will read from Wulf and share tips for aspiring writers.
Knox will speak to an audience at Sacred Heart Girls' College at 4.30pm on March 21.
"We are really looking forward to having Elizabeth Knox with us this year," Ms Wallace said. "She'll present a writing workshop for secondary students and an early evening event open to the public."
Knox is the author of eight previous novels, including The Vintner's Luck, which won the Deutz Medal for Fiction in 1999. She was made an Arts Foundation Laureate in 2000 and an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) in 2002. Stephanie Meyer said Knox's Dreamhunter Duet was "unique and amazing."
For more information on the authors and events, go to hamiltonbookmonth.wix.com/2014. All events are free to attend.
- Waikato Times