News & Media


20 December 2017

#NZChristmasBookChallenge was conceived by Paula Morris, and issues the challenge to buy at least one book by a NZ author, from a NZ publisher, at a NZ bookseller this Christmas. 

We think this is a great idea and have put together some titles to inspire you...


Fale Aitu by Tusiata Avia

Tightrope by Selina Tusitala Marsh 


The Beat Of The Pendulum by Catherine Chidgey


Driving To Treblinka by Diana Wichtel

Drawn Out: A Seriously Funny Memoir by Tom Scott 


Helper and Helper written by Joy Cowley and illustrated by Gavin Bishop

Once you've chosen your book, head down to Kiwi-owned Paper Plus Blenheim to make your purchase - every book that meets the criteria will go in the draw to win a copy of Time And Tide by Lorain Day - an indepth look at the almost-100 year history of the Pelorus Mail Boat. (Just mention this offer to the staff to remind them - they are super busy at this time of year!)

Entries close Christmas eve. Happy holidays and happy reading everyone!


Chuffed to win

10 October 2017

Absolutely blown away to be named the 2017 Supreme Winners of the Marlborough Trustpower Community Awards tonight!

Congratulations to all the other amazing charitable organisations at the awards tonight, and all the incredibly generous people who work hard to make our region a better place to live, work and play.

Thank you to all our generous sponsors: Astrolabe Wines, Cloudy Bay, Dog Point Vineyard, Hunter's Wines, Spy Valley Wines, Gascoigne Wicks Lawyers, Jim Tannock Photography Ltd, Marlborough Tour Company, New Zealand King Salmon, PaperPlus Blenheim, Mckendry Honda, Harcourts Marlborough, as well as the Marlborough District Council and our supporters: Apartments in Picton, The Marlborough Lodge, WK and Renaissance - Craft Beer from New Zealand.

Thank you to our amazing authors, interviewers Tessa Nicholson, Jane Waghorn, Mike White and Nikki Macdonald and audiences who have been so supportive of the Marlborough Book Festival, we love you!

And thanks to our volunteer committee: Sonia O'Regan, Sophie Preece, Sharon Hill, Lorraine Carryer, Charlotte Patterson and Kat Pickford, plus our amazing co-ordinator Rachel Anderson and all the volunteers who are too numerous to name - you know who you are, we couldn't do it without you!

Finally a huge thanks to Trustpower for recognising all the magic of all the projects happening in Marlborough and the heartfelt effort that fuels them.

Committee members Lorraine, Sophie, Sonia & Kat were at the awards

Sonia O'Regan was interviewed on MoreFM Radio about winning the Marlborough Trustpower Community Awards Supreme award:


Free book festival session for children with Joy Cowley & Gavin Bishop

Tell Me a Story

Press Release - 18 July 2017

Young Marlborough readers are in for a treat next Sunday afternoon (subs July 30), listening to author Joy Cowley and author/illustrator Gavin Bishop talk about the latest book in their Snake and Lizard series, Helper and Helper. The free session at the Millennium Public Art Gallery is part of the annual Marlborough Book Festival, with some of New Zealand’s best known writers travelling to the region for the weekend.

The Millennium Public Art Gallery session is a chance to involve younger readers in the event, and help nurture their love of books.

The dynamic story-telling duo will discuss the pleasure of telling stories through the written word and illustrations, and share effective ways to do just that. There will be some readings too, and a chance to ask questions at the end. Children are encouraged to think ahead about what questions they would like to ask Joy and Gavin.

Audience members can also bring along their favourite books by Joy and Gavin to be signed at the end of the session.

Tell Me a Story

An hour with Joy Cowley and Gavin Bishop will be held at the Millennium Public Art Gallery from 3.30pm to 4.30pm on Sunday July 30, and is suitable for
school-aged children. It’s free!

For more information go to the Millennium Public Art Gallery website.


Latest Book Fest newsletter

Sent 13 July

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Award-winner coming to Marlborough

Catherine Chidgey to speak at Marlborough Book Festival 28-30 July

Press Release - Tuesday May 16

Catherine Chidgey, winner of the country’s top fiction award, will speak at the Marlborough Book Festival in July. 

Chidgey’s novel The Wish Child won the Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize category of the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards tonight.

The author, who receives $50,000 in prize money, will be a headline guest at the Marlborough festival from Friday 28 July to Sunday 30 July, with a session at the Boathouse Theatre and an already sold out session at Cloudy Bay’s cellar door. 

Book Festival committee member Lorraine Carryer says The Wish Child is a complex, intensely moving, and beautifully constructed  novel, which follows two children living in Nazi Germany. “It’s the kind of book that haunts you long after you have read it,” she says. “It is an extraordinary piece of work, and we’re so thrilled that Catherine is coming to Marlborough this winter.”

There were four authors shortlisted for the award, including Emma Neale and CK Stead, who are also coming to the festival. “It must have been a tough call for the judges, because these authors, along with Owen Marshall, have produced a truly stunning standard of fiction,” says Carryer. “It’s a privilege to have three of the four coming to the Marlborough Book Festival.”

The Ockham awards honour the best of New Zealand fiction, poetry and non-fiction published in the past year.

Chidgey received critical acclaim for her first three novels. Her very first In a Fishbone Church won the Best First Book at the New Zealand Book Awards. She has received numerous awards and fellowships.

For more information or images contact Sophie Preece – 0273084455


MARCH 2017
Authors on short-list are coming to the 2017 Festival

Three of the authors on the shortlist for the country’s top book awards will speak at the Marlborough Book Festival 2017 in July.

Catherine Chidgey’s novel The Wish Child, Emma Neale’s novel Billy Bird and CK Stead’s collection of stories The Name on the Door Is Not Mine, are shortlisted for the Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize category of the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards, which was announced on 7 March.


Festival committee member Sonia O’Regan said the three authors would be guests at the Marlborough festival from Friday 28 July to Sunday 30 July.

The Ockham awards honour the best of New Zealand fiction, poetry and non-fiction published in the past year.

The announcement of the short list presented a great opportunity to let people know that some of the authors are coming to Marlborough, but the full list of authors and the programme would be announced in April when tickets went on sale, O’Regan said.

“We are thrilled that Catherine Chidgey, Emma Neale and CK Stead have made the shortlist, and for Marlborough audiences who will get a chance to meet them,” O’Regan said.

The Wish Child has been a hot topic at committee meetings as we’ve been passing around a copy and loving it,” O’Regan said. It’s a complex, beautifully textured novel which follows two children living in Nazi Germany. “It’s the kind of book you keep thinking about long after you have read it.”

Chidgey received critical acclaim for her first three novels. Her very first In a Fishbone Church won the Best First Book at the New Zealand Book Awards. She has received numerous awards and fellowships.

Catherine Chidgey, (photo credit: Fiona Pardington)

Neale's lyrical Billy Bird is described as charming, poignant and funny in almost equal parts. The awards shortlist says: “This is a startlingly recognisable tale of three people struggling with living after great loss, trying to hold their small family together as it threatens to splinter apart under the strain of a child who has forsaken problematic and imperfect humanity to become a bird. Firmly grounded in the landscapes and rhythms of Aotearoa New Zealand, this is an apparently quiet story that soars.

Emma Neale (photo credit: Graham Warman)

CK Stead barely requires introduction; he is an award-winning novelist, as well as a poet, literary critic, essayist and emeritus professor of English of the University of Auckland. He is the current New Zealand Poetry Laureate and is also a Member of the Order of New Zealand, New Zealand’s highest honour.

A review in The Spectator said ‘Stead is challenging, fun, urbane and brilliant. Read him.’ I love that and think it sums up his work brilliantly, it’s great to be able to add ‘Come meet him in Marlborough in July,’” O’Regan said.

CK Stead (photo credit: Marti Friedlander)

Two other authors who are coming to the festival this year were included in the Ockham Awards’ long list: Tracy Slaughter for her book Deleted Scenes for Lovers and Sarah Laing for the Illustrated Non-Fiction Award for her book Mansfield and Me, A Graphic Memoir.


                Tracey Slaughter (photo credit: Catherine Chidgey)     Sarah Laing  (photo credit: Grant Maiden Photography)

Previous Marlborough Book Festivals have received warm praise from guest authors and audiences alike. The generous support of sponsors helped to make the authors’ time in Marlborough memorable, and we hope relaxing for them, O’Regan said.

“This event is a celebration of readers and writers, and also a celebration of our region,” said O’Regan.

The Marlborough Book Festival is a run by volunteers under a charitable trust and strongly supported by sponsoring businesses and the Marlborough District Council as a cultural treat for both book lovers and guest authors in the middle of winter.

The festival won the Arts and Culture category of the TrustPower Marlborough Community Awards last year, and was named the country’s best book festival by The Spinoff.

MORE INFO: contact Marlborough Book Festival Trustee Sonia O’Regan 027 246 0434


"New Zealand's Best Writers Festival"

Marlborough Book Festival is chuffed to have been named New Zealand's Best Writers Festival by Steve Braunias in The Spinoff's very first (and very prestigious) Annual Review of Books literary awards.


Winner of Trustpower Arts & Culture Community Award 2016

The Marlborough Book Festival was proud to win the Arts and Culture category of the 2016 Marlborough TrustPower Community Awards in October. Congrats to the team, our wonderful authors and MCs, and our amazing sponsors!

Sophie, Sonia and Sharon were on hand to collect the award.