Last words from writers at first Ruapehu Writers Festival

Last words from writers at first Ruapehu Writers Festival

Last words from writers at first Ruapehu Writers Festival

Three days of spoken words all about written words wrapped up on Sunday with the last of more than 20 sessions – a celebration of poetry and of the first-ever Ruapehu Writers Festival.

Helen Rickerby said they had a lot more participants than they expected to the inaugural event, with around 150 registrations and around 100 at most sessions.

She said the feedback so far has been extremely positive, summed up by Vintner’s Luck author Elizabeth Knox – a regular festival participant around New Zealand and overseas – who said the festival was the best she’s ever been to.

Helen Rickerby said the highlight for her was the “energy and atmosphere”.

“The sessions were friendly and exciting and inspirational.”

She said they didn’t know exactly what to expect with the event but that has been a big plus. She added that other writers festivals are more academic but this was a draw for readers as well.

Although few in number, local participants were enthusiastic too, with positive comments about the event bringing a cultural and literary event to their place which is mostly known for its physical activities.

‘Bringing words to the mountain’ was the tag line for the event, organised by Anna Jackson, Simon Edmonds and Helen Rickerby.

“Ever since we started talking to people about this crazy idea, we’ve been overwhelmed by support and enthusiasm from Ruapehu locals, the literary community and keen readers,” they wrote in their introduction.

The opening on Thursday night included readings from some of the featured writers.

Friday sessions were: a fiction writing workshop with Sue Orr; Ohakune Stories, with Martin Edmond and Merrilyn George; Poetry Anthology, with Siobhan Harvey, Johanna Aitchison, Kiri Piahana-Wong, Amy Leigh Wicks, Maria McMillan and Ingrid Horrocks; Writers Talk: Place as Character, with Sue Orr, Bianca Zander and Stacy Gregg; Fiction Anthology, with Emily Perkins, Bianca Zander and Nix Whittaker; Desert Road, with Fiona Kidman, Ingrid Horrocks and Fergus Barrowman; Festival Lecture by Elizabeth Knox: ‘On Doubt, Dubiously’; and a ‘Poetry Slam’ on Friday evening.

Saturday topics included Working with Myth, with Tulia Thompson and Vana Manasiadis; Children’s Poetry with Paula Green and Children’s Songs with Jenny and Laughton Pattrick; a ‘Waterfall Walk’ (to Waitonga Falls); a horse trek with Stacy Gregg; Comic Poetry, with Nick Ascroft, Harry Ricketts, Johanna Aitchison, James Brown and Vivienne Plumb; Editors Talk, with Fergus Barrowman, Harriet Allen, Anna Hodge, Helen Rickerby, Kiri Piahana-Wong; Writers Talk Structure, with Pip Adam, Emily Perkins and Fiona Farrell; Performance Poetry, with Carrie Rudzinski, Ken Arkind, Tulia Thompson and Nick Ascroft; Nicky Pellegrino and Jenny Pattrick in conversation.

Sunday started with Essays and Place, with Ashleigh Young, Ingrid Horrocks, Harry Ricketts, Cherie Lacey, Tim Corballis and Martin Edmond; Small Town Shadows, with Tina Shaw, Antony Millen and Elizabeth Knox – held at the Horopito Hall; followed by Poets Who Cycle, with James Brown, Ashleigh Young and Bill Nelson as they rode the Ohakune Old Coach Road. Fiction and Biography, with Harry Ricketts, Helen Rickerby, Anna Jackson and Thom Conroy followed, back at the ‘Keg. Then there was Writers Talk: Point of View with Bridget van der Zijpp, Paula Green, Tim Corballis.

The final session was Poetry Anthology, with Vana Manasiadis, Fiona Kidman, Magnolia Wilson, Hannah Mettner and Helen Reynolds.