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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Verb Wellington

Wellington's literary pub crawl has diversified into a four-day program, overfull with international guests and Aotearoa's own literary monarchs.
By Leah Lynch
October 15, 2019
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Verb Wellington

Wellington's literary pub crawl has diversified into a four-day program, overfull with international guests and Aotearoa's own literary monarchs.
By Leah Lynch
October 15, 2019
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Wellington — the literary capital of Aotearoa. Along with strong coffee and craft brews, few things please Wellingtonians more than a good book. And, unlike its less studious cousins, Christchurch and Auckland, whose respective bookshop populations continue to dwindle, Wellington keeps up more than just appearances with its reliably many and varied independent booksellers.

How appropriate, then, that Poneke is home to one of the country's quirkiest literary festivals. Verb Wellington began life as the brainchild of book-loving couple Claire Mabey and Andrew Laking (Pirate & Queen). Back in 2014, Pirate and Queen christened their festival LitCrawl, as it took the form of a bustling amble around 15 literary events, over the course of one night. This, rather in the manner of its boozier ancestor, the pub crawl: a lavish feast, for lovers of all things literary, was inaugurated.

Now in its sixth instalment, the festival has diversified into a four-day program. Overfull with international guests and Aotearoa's own literary monarchs and heirs apparent, LitCrawl's rechristening as Verb Wellington reflects this growth, even while LitCrawl lives on as the festival's Saturday-night centrepiece.

Alongside LitCrawl, this year's festival boasts a literary drag show, Lit-Sync for Your Life; poetry readings in unusual spaces, and, though this is by no means an exhaustive list, I must mention acclaimed Scottish crime writer Val McDermid, whose work has been translated into 40 languages and sold over 16 million copies worldwide. Yes, the Queen of Crime will touch down on our shores for Verb.

Playing out across some of the capital's best-loved shops, bars, libraries, and galleries, Verb promises to unite the quirky and the consequential.

Image: Jay Anderson, LitCrawl.

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