LitCrawl: Wellington to become mecca of literature lovers

Rejectamenta at Ferret Bookshop during LitCrawl 2014
Matt Bialostocki

Rejectamenta at Ferret Bookshop during LitCrawl 2014

Wellington will be full to the brim of literary lovers this November as LitCrawl doubles in size, organisers say. 

After two-and-a-half thousand people braved Wellington storms last year to discover New Zealand's poets, writers, story-tellers and playwrights, LitCrawl co-director Claire Mabey knew it was time for an expansion.

Back for its fourth year to showcase national and international geniuses using the written and spoken word, LitCrawl has spilled from a Saturday evening to a full weekend event.

LitCrawl at Pegasus Books.
Matt Bialostocki

LitCrawl at Pegasus Books.

Sprinkled around Wellington will be 38 hubs exposing local, independent businesses and bringing poetry, story telling, debates, new ideas, passions and academic, artistic and activist discourse to the centre stage.

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On top of the 25 events taking place during the traditional LitCrawl - seven up from last year - is the extended series running from Friday night to Sunday.

Toby Morris, left, Brannavan Gnanalingam and Emily Writes at Ekor, LitCrawl 2016.
Matt Bialostocki

Toby Morris, left, Brannavan Gnanalingam and Emily Writes at Ekor, LitCrawl 2016.

"It's the biggest we have ever done," Mabey says.

"It means more options and more possible pathways for crawlers and more space - the past years have been chocker."

Kicking it off is the highly anticipated Women of Letters, which Labour Minister Jacinda Ardern featured in two years ago. While the list was yet to be complete, Mabey confirmed former MP Georgina Beyer, My Year With Helen filmmaker Gaylene Preston, editor Ashleigh Young, actress Jess Holly Bates and columnist Rachel Stewart would receive their themes sometime next week.

True Stories Told Live at Wellington Central Library
Matt Bialostocki

True Stories Told Live at Wellington Central Library

They would write a letter based on that theme and read aloud for the first time in front of an audience.

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"It's moving, it's funny and it's incredibly inspiring," Mabey says.

Any profits received from the event go towards the Wellington Homeless Women's Trust.

Hosting the Saturday LitCrawl with literary icons such as Joy Cowley, Witi Ihimaera, Emily Perkins and Hēmi Kelly are business venues Bicycle Junction, Hunter and Collectors, Crumpet, Bowen Galleries and Bartley And Company Art.

"It's all about showcasing Wellington," Mabey says.

"It's quite a unique opportunity to see a lot of brilliant writers for little or no cost."

The Capital will be abuzz as visitors arrive from all over the country for the fast-growing event.

Mabey said the eclectic line up has something for everyone.

"There's definitely going to be something that suits your tastes, it's really stimulating," she says.

"This is a great way to introduce yourself to writers and writing live."

Mabey has built the event with her partner Andrew Laking for the past year. They  have already starting planning next year's LitCrawl 18 which involves guest curators.

LitCrawl runs from November 10 to 12.

 - Stuff

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