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By Lauren Harrigan
October 30, 2017
By Lauren Harrigan
October 30, 2017

The Wellington LitCrawl has got to be one of the best ideas ever had. For one night only, all over the city, events pop up in unfamiliar and unexpected places to celebrate the art of words. This year sees one of the biggest and best programs ever, with something truly fantastic happening at every turn.

For those who've never LitCrawled before, it's pretty simple. Firstly: empty your schedule on 11 November from 6pm onwards. Secondly, get yourself a program — keep an eye out for them around the place (good bookstores and libraries near you are a safe bet) or access online here. Finally, get a big sharpie or something and get circling.

The LitCrawl runs in three phases: Phase 1 from 6-6.45pm, Phase 2 from 7.15-8pm, and Phase 3 from 8.30-9.15pm. This gives you enough time to get yourself together to move onto the next venue. You may be wondering by now: what's the ticketing system for this myriad of events? It's koha. The suggested donation is $5, but it's left wholly up to you.

Also, we need to mention this awesome feature of LitCrawl: you can LitCrawl all weekend if you want to, with the LitCrawl Extended program. Events that are part of the Extended lineup are highlighted as such below.

And of course, no self-respecting literature festival is complete without an afterparty. LitCrawl's will be going down at Meow with a $10 entry fee.


Toby Manhire is a senior editor of The Spinoff. He's curious, eloquent and politically engaged — making him a great interviewer. Toby Morris is the multitalented illustrator and animator of The Pencilsword comic for The Wireless, and now The Side Eye for The Spinoff — making him a great person to draw in real time the responses of interviewees, as Toby (Manhire) interviews them. It's a unique concept and one you can see at the City Gallery come LitCrawl Weekend.

Phase 1 - 6-6.45pm at the Wellington City Gallery, Civic Square.

Laura Oosterbeek.


Ferret Bookshop will host six of New Zealand's most dazzling writers under 25 in partnership with Starling, an online journal that has published the fledgling first efforts of some of the country's brightest young talents these past 25 years. The 45-min session will feature young writers Henrietta Bollinger, Leah Dodd, Sharon Lam, Olivia Nonoa, Yasmin Nouri and Zoe Higgins.

Phase 2 - 7:15-8pm at Ferret Bookshop, 175 Cuba Street.


Taking creative cue from writers such as Kerouac, who once commented, "It was a rainy night. It was the myth of a rainy night," five writers will come together to offer up fragments of their own mythmaking. In this session, join Lee Posna, Valerie Arvidson, Emily Perkins, Dan Rabarts, and Lee Murray as they overlay the universe with fresh openings to new worlds through their writing.

Phase 2 - 7:15-8pm at Arty Bees Books, 106 Manners Street.


Are the galleries, libraries, archives and museums of Aotearoa ready for robust criticism? Tusk- Emergent Culture founders Matariki Williams and Nina Finegan sit down with Courtney Johnston and Bridget Reweti to discuss how these facilities interact with criticism, writing and the digital landscape. As a means to create and occupy a free/radical space in an ever shifting cultural environment, what does this mean for our GLAM sector?

Phase 2 - 7:15-8pm at Bartley + Co Art, 56A Ghuznee Street.


New Zealand has a strong history of protest — through physical demonstrations, through activism in communities and, of course, through writing. Join Marianne Elliot of Action Station, one of the country's largest activism and social justics platforms, in conversation with Jeffrey Paparoa Holman, Rhydian Thomas, Janis Freegard and Rachel Stewart. They'll unpack the act of writing as protest and channelling one's activism onto the page.

Phase 3 - 8.30-9.15pm at Pegasus Books, 204 Cuba Mall (in Left Bank). 


Nick Bollinger is the bona fide music guy on Radio New Zealand. Fitting then that he should host this session, about songwriters and their role within music. Lyrics are a notorious art form, and they'll be talking about them in the most acoustically sympathetic venue in Wellington: the much-loved Alistair's Music.

Phase 3 - 8.30-9.15pm at Alistair's Music, 215 Cuba Street.


"Truth thrives in the margins." The parameters of what it is to be human broadens when people claim their voice. In this session, disabled writers do just this, sharing their inner world and providing insight into their lives. A new view of heritage, hospital beds and lunatics taking over the asylum emerges.

Phase 3 - 8.30-9.15pm at CQ Hotel, 223 Cuba Street.


When your novels are receiving reviews from the likes of Eleanor Catton, saying your writing is "sultry, sinister, hilarious and demented," and your novel "is the kind of novel you will think about for weeks," you'd be pretty happy, right? What if it was your first novel? Remarkable. Pip Adam will talk to Annaleese Jochems and Harriet McKnight about their debut titles and life as "one to watch."

Part of LitCrawl Extended, this event will take place on Saturday 11 November at 11am. Entry is $15 ("0r $18 if you want to give LitCrawl extra support").


Holly Walker is an ex-Green Party MP who found herself in the middle of an emotionally tumultuous time trying to mentally care for herself and her first child, born in her first term in parliament, a stage of life which would have been enough of an upheaval without the arrival of a newborn into the mix. The book she wrote about the experience, The Whole Intimate Mess, was published by Bridget Williams Books earlier this year. In this LitCrawl Extended session, she talks with Emily Writes, author of Rants in the Dark, From One Tired Mama to Another, and parenting editor at The Spinoff. They'll be discussing the pitfalls and prejudices that make life that much harder for mothers in the 21st century. It's great to rant sometimes.

Part of LitCrawl Extended, this event will take place on Sunday 12 November at 11am. Entry is $15 ("0r $18 if you want to give LitCrawl extra support").


Working tirelessly for some 50 years as a physician, Dame Margaret Sparrow is being celebrated for her role in trying to improve the reproductive rights of New Zealand women. Upon her retirement, she got to work documenting this reproductive history, which she has penned three books about. Her third, Risking Their Lives (published by Victoria University Press this year) will be discussed by Dame Margaret in conversation with Sasha Borissenko. She's a strong voice for change and an inspiring woman to see speak. Don't miss this.

Part of LitCrawl Extended, this event will take place on Sunday 12 November from 5pm. Entry is $15 ("0r $18 if you want to give LitCrawl extra support").

Published on October 30, 2017 by Lauren Harrigan

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