News & Media


An update

18 March 2020

To our lovely book festival supporters, 
With heavy hearts we have decided to cancel the 2020 Marlborough Book Festival. 
Given the uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic, and how long it might affect us in New Zealand, we decided as a committee that the best thing to do is to sit tight for a year.
We thank you for your understanding.
Not to downplay the seriousness of what is happening,  but we like to think that we can all do our bit to prevent this condition spreading by staying at home and reading a book. Something we think all our festival supporters will be quite comfortable doing! 
Over the winter we will continue to send you newsletters highlighting the work of the 12 fantastic authors who were set to visit Marlborough in July. We do hope they will be able to join us at a festival in the future, so this winter is your chance to read their books before they come.
Thanks must go to the authors and interviewers who were all lined up to come, and to our sponsors and supporters who were all geared up to support another great festival. We will be back!
 All our very best to you and yours, 
The team behind the Festival, 

Sophie Preece, Sonia O’Regan, Sharon Hill, Kat Pickford, Lorraine Carryer, Charlotte Patterson and Claudia Small

Three Ockham longlisters joining us

31 January 2020

The long-list for the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards 2020 has been announced, and we thought it was a great time to announce that Ruby Porter, whose debut novel Attraction was long-listed for the top fiction award, will be joining us at this year's Marlborough Book Festival.


Elizabeth Knox's epic fantasy The Absolute Book is also a contender for the Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize and Rebecca Priestley is up for the general non-fiction award with her personal story Fifteen Million Years in Antarctica. Both these brilliant writers are also joining us at this year's festival in July.


Good luck to all the long-listers, including Vincent O'Malley, Shayne Carter and Owen Marshall who featured at last year's festival.

Read the full long-list...


Save the date + 5 authors revealed

7 December 2019

Having a warm and engaged audience brings a special magic to the weekend. The authors feel it and we hope you do too. So, if you've joined us in past years, we thank you for your contribution to the Marlborough Book Festival.

Did you know festival ticket purchases help spark the joy of reading among the very young? The charitable trust behind the festival supports projects that encourage a love of reading among children in Marlborough, such as sponsoring the New Zealand Book Council’s Writers in Schools programme. More on projects we support in the new year. 

Hold the date

Plans for 2020 are well underway, the Marlborough Book Festival will be held Friday 3 July to Sunday 5 July 2020. 

We've got exciting news about next year's festival. To give you a taste and some inspiration for your summer reading, we thought we share five of the authors who will be joining us...

Five authors for 2020 revealed

We've got exciting news about next year's festival. To give you a taste and some inspiration for your summer reading, we thought we share five of the authors who will be joining us...

Christine Leunens

If you haven't already seen Taika Waititi's latest film - the critically acclaimed and extremely thought-provoking Jojo Rabbit - you really must. Especially as the writer of the novel that inspired the movie, Christine Leunens, will be joining us at next year's festival.

Caging Skies was published by Christine in 2004 and is the story of the second world war told through the eyes of Johannes, a member of the Hitler Youth, who discovers his family is harbouring a Jewish girl in their Vienna home.

Taika became aware of the novel when his mother - having thoroughly enjoyed it - insisted he read it. Being of Maori Jewish descent, Taika was instantly struck by the story and sought permission to create a screen play - the result of which Christine was very happy with. 

Of New Zealand/Belgian citizenship and now Nelson-based, Christine is the author of four novels, which have been translated into more than fifteen languages. Born in the US with Italian and Belgian parents, she holds a Master of Liberal Arts in English and American Literature and Language from Harvard University, and a PhD in Creative Writing from Victoria University of Wellington. 

> More about Caging Skies

Rebecca Priestley

Rebecca Priestley is the author of Fifteen Million Years in Antarctica, a deeply personal tour of Antarctica, in which she reflects on what Antarctica can tell us about Earth’s future and asks “Do people even belong in this fragile, otherworldly place?”

Rebecca is an associate professor at Victoria University of Wellington and director of university’s Centre of Science in Society. Rebecca was the science columnist for the NZ Listener for six years and is the author or editor of five previous books, the most recent of which is Dispatches from Continent Seven: An Anthology of Antarctic Science (2016).

She is a winner of the Royal Society of New Zealand Science Book Prize (2009) and the Prime Minister’s Science Communication Prize (2016). In 2018 she was made a Companion of the Royal Society Te Aparāngi. She has an undergraduate degree in geology, a PhD in the history of science and an MA in Creative Writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters. 

> More about Fifteen Million Years in Antarctica 

Elizabeth Knox & Dame Fiona Kidman

Elizabeth and Fiona were guests at our very first festival held in 2014, sharing their stories with warmth and good humour with the festival audiences. 

A lot has happened since then - Dame Fiona’s latest novel This Mortal Boy won the Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize 2019 and she has a new exciting publication coming out next year – more on that in 2020.

And, Elizabeth’s extraordinary novel The Absolute Book has been released this year to critical acclaim. Both books are unforgettable.

Fiona's This Mortal Boy also won The New Zealand Heritage Prize for Fiction 2018, the New Zealand Book Awards for Fiction 2019, and the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel 2019. The novel recounts the hanging of Albert Black, one of the last executions in this country. In 1955 Black, 20, was convicted of murdering a man in a milk bar fight, and became known as “the jukebox killer”.

> More about This Mortal Boy

Elizabeth's The Absolute Book is an epic fantasy, intimate in tone, where hidden treasures are recovered; where wicked things people think they’ve shaken from their trails find their scent again. A book about beautiful societies founded on theft and treachery, and one in which dead sisters are a living force.

This is what author Pip Adam (guest author at the festival this year) says about the book: 

The master is present. To read Knox on such a huge canvas - to be immersed in her worlds, wrapped in her intelligence and craft so completely - is an experience not to be missed. Lessing, Le Guin, Knox - books where the best hearts meet the best minds meet the best imaginations are few and far between. The Absolute Book is a triumph of fantasy grounded in the reality and challenges of the moment we live in,” 

> More about The Absolute Book

Mike White

Journalist Mike White is no stranger to the Marlborough Book Festival - he has joined us at most of our festivals, leading many sessions interviewing some of the country’s top writers and being on writer panels. So it is our sincere pleasure to announce that Mike will be a guest author in 2020 talking about his latest book - How to Walk a Dog

Mike is a senior writer at North & South magazine, where he has won more than 20 national media awards, including the Wolfson Fellowship to Cambridge University. In 2013 he wrote the best-selling true crime book Who Killed Scott Guy?.

Here’s what Steve Braunias and Vincent O’Sullivan say about the book:

“So charming and funny and sincere - this is dog lit at its best,” - Steve Braunias; 
“Mike White, for decades one of the country's most persuasive journalists, makes a case here as irrefutable as it is moving: throw a stick, make a dog happy, be a better person. He has convinced me.” - Vincent O'Sullivan

> More about How to Walk a Dog

There you go! Lots to get started with for your reading pleasure this summer. Have a great Christmas and New Year.

Happy reading,

The Marlborough Book Festival Team

> Read our latest newsletter


Two Ockham long-listers coming to 2019 festival

1 February 2019

Massive congrats to the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards 2019 long listers.

We are especially excited to see Kate Duignan (The New Ships) and Anne Kennedy (The Ice Shelf) have made the cut for the top prize in New Zealand fiction.

Both these talented writers are among a stunning line up of authors who will be joining us at the 2019 Marlborough Book Festival on July 5-7.

The full programme will be announced and ticket sales will be available closer to the date. In the meantime - happy reading, and watch this space for more exciting news!


See the full Ockhams' 2019 Longlist


Our support of the NZ Book Council Writers in Schools programme

5 October 2018

Marlborough children had the chance to hear from three inspirational authors during a wonderful writers in schools programme sponsored by the Marlborough Book Festival.

Authors Tim Tipene, Fleur Beale and Maria Gill spoke at 19 schools reaching more than 2,000 children when they were in town as part of the New Zealand Book Council Writers in Schools programme in early August.

Marlborough Girls’ College librarian Colleen Shipley organised the authors' visits. Schools have reported back that both children and staff got a lot out of hearing from the authors first hand, she said.

Sonia and Charlotte from the book festival team were lucky enough to hear Tim’s talk at Redwoodtown School. They said Tim had the children hooked for 45 minutes telling them all about growing up in with violence at home and struggling at school, as well as having teachers who made a big difference in his life. The children laughed and nearly cried as he shared his journey to becoming a published author.

In keeping with the Marlborough Book Festival traditional of putting up guest authors in style, the trio stayed at Rowley Estate Homestead in Grovetown. Many thanks to Claire who owns the newly renovated private luxury accommodation. 

“Claire was a welcoming host and the accommodation gave the authors the opportunity for them to relax and chat – something they do not often get to do since writing is a very solitary occupation,” Colleen said.

The Marlborough Book Festival is organised under the umbrella of the Marlborough Readers and Writers Charitable Trust, which aims to support literacy and encourage the joy of reading. Supporting the book council’s wonderful exisiting programme was a really effective way of achieving those goals. We hope those who brought tickets to the Marlborough Book Festival get a buzz out of knowing that they have helped children to meet inspirational authors too. 

Tim, Fleur and Maria


Hear from the wonderful editors behind Annual and Annual 2

25 June 2018

Kids deserve reading experiences “that match their curiosity and zest”, say the creators of Annual and Annual 2, in the lead up to a visit to Marlborough.

Kate De Goldi and Susan Paris will speak at a couple of gold-coin sessions at the Marlborough Book Festival, telling middle readers, aged 9 and up, all about their vibrant, best-selling annuals, which serve up a smorgasboard of stories, comics, poems, how-tos, songs, cooking, art, games, essays “and un-classifiables” from some of New Zealand’s best writers and illustrators. 

It’s about breaking the rules, the editors say. “Today’s kids are savvy, multi-literate, intrepid.” 

But it is  a reading group that is under-served on the bookshelf, which is why they created their annuals, a new take on a classic. “We channelled our younger selves: curious, discerning, up for anything. We tried to make a book we wish we’d be given.”

The latest result is Annual 2, with works that include a song by Bic Runga, a small-town mystery by Paul Thomas, and a classic New Zealand comic.

De Goldi and Paris will speak at a gold coin session at:

Picton Library from 3pm to 4pm on Saturday 7 July

Marlborough District Library in Blenheim from 12.30pm to 1.30pm on Sunday 8 July

(this session can't be booked, it's on a turn up and grab a seat basis)

The “nearly free” sessions are intended for middle readers, 9 to 13, but will also appeal to an older generation who loved annuals when they were growing up, says Book Fest trustee Sophie Preece. 

“We imagine kids finding a grandparent to bring along, and vice versa.” And, because Annual 2’s double-page spread on the identification of ‘Common Household Biscuits and Slices of New Zealand’ was such a hit, there’ll be some beloved baking on the day.

Find out what goes into creating such a compilation of creativity and buy a book on the day (cash only please) to get it signed by the editors.

Kate De Goldi & Susan Paris

Marlborough Book Festival's 2018 Programme Released

20 April 2018

Tickets are on sale for this year’s Marlborough Book Festival being held from Friday 6 July to Sunday 8 July. 

An impressive programme launched today (Friday April 20) features New Zealand Poet Laureate Selina Tusitala Marsh, Vincent O’Sullivan, Jenny Pattrick, Glenn Colquhoun, Tusiata Avia, Nicola Galloway, Diana Wichtel, Tom Scott, Harry Broad, Tina Makereti, Atholl Anderson and Alan Carter.

Two of the guest authors are short-listed for this year’s Ockham New Zealand Book Awards: Diana Wichtel for her family memoir Driving to Treblinka, A Long Search For A Lost Father, and political cartoonist Tom Scott author of Drawn Out, A Seriously Funny Memoir.

Several of the authors have Marlborough connections, says festival committee member Sonia O’Regan. Marlborough-based archeologist Atholl Anderson - one of three people who wrote Tangata Whenua: An Illustrated History - will be interviewed by Marlborough-based historian Ron Crosby, who was a guest author at the very first festival.

Alan Carter, who lives in Marlborough and Western Australia, will talk about his latest crime book, set in the Wakamarina and surrounds, with interviewer Tessa Nicholson on his case.

Harry Broad will offer guests a sneak peek at his soon to be released book on the Awatere Valley, following on from the huge success of his book about the Molesworth.

And Tina Makereti, who has family links to the region, is the guest speaker on the annual cruise on Marlborough Tour Company’s MV Odyssea. As guests travel through the Queen Charlotte Sound, Makereti will discuss her book Where the Rēkohu Bone Sings, set in the Marlborough Sounds and Chatham Islands/Rēkohu. “It’s a lovely opportunity to hear Tina talk about her book in the very place where part of the story is set,” says Sonia. “Talk about immersing yourself in the story.”

She says the mix of genre means there is something for everyone at the event, from historical fiction to poems that have entertained the Queen. “We’re so excited to have these acclaimed writers coming. There’s a good mix of genres represented so there should be something of interest to everyone.”

The Boathouse Theatre in Blenheim will be the festival hub, with a programme starting on Friday night and running through the weekend. Spy Valley cellar door, The Treehouse at Cloudy Bay wines, Hunter’s Wines and The Bell Tower at Dog Point Vineyards are other venues.

An Opening Night session will be held at the Boathouse Theatre on Friday 6 July, in which five of the guest authors will take to the stage to provide a sneak peek of what is to come over the weekend.

Another highlight of the festival this year is an extended session with acclaimed poet and novelist Vincent O’Sullivan in conversation with journalist Mike White in the living room at Dog Point Vineyard’s beautiful Bell Tower. Guests will be treated to canapés and refreshments and have the chance to mingle in this beautiful setting before and after the one-hour interview session. O’Sullivan will also speak at The Boathouse Theatre, discussing his wonderful new novel All This By Chance.

And the stars aligned to enable the festival to hold an extra session in association with Matariki Waitohi-Picton at which Selina Tusitala Marsh will speak at the new Picton Library on Monday 9 July.

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


Our Queenstown trip - Trust Power Community Awards Nationals

19 April 2018

Marlborough Readers and Writers Charitable Trust trustees Sophie Preece and Sonia O’Regan, along with Mayor John Leggett and Mayoress Anne Best, flew the Marlborough banner at the Trustpower National Community Awards in Queenstown at the weekend.  The festival won the Marlborough award at the regional finals last year and went on to represent the region at the nationals.

Sonia says it was humbling to be included in the impressive line up of charities that represented 25 regions.”It was also inspiring and a lot of fun with some delicious food, wine and great scenery thrown in for good measure.”

Each group judged the others’ presentations but a panel of judges had the final say. And thank goodness for them, because it’s pretty difficult to compare such worthy but diverse groups, she says.

There were volunteers restoring railcars, volunteers helping migrants settle in, volunteers setting up an arts hub in Tauranga, volunteers saving beached whales… and more.

The Edgecumbe Volunteer Fire Brigade took home the trophy. The win was a wonderful recognition of the work they do everyday, but especially in the days and weeks that followed the flooding of their town last year. Their members logged thousands of hours getting their community back on their feet.

South Invercargill Urban Rejuvenation Chartiable Trust (South Alive) were runners up. These amazing people are raising their community up though many projects, involving many people, making locals love their area and take real pride in it.

And Precious Ones Special Needs Support Group, Wairoa District, won an award sponsored by Exult, a business which helps non-profits grow. Susan Tipuna talked about how her own needs raising a son with autism led her to set up the group and there were not many dry eyes in the house after her talk.

TrustPower were amazing hosts, the whole thing was a master-class in event organisation. And Queenstown was at its autumnal best, says Sonia.

“It was heart-warming and wonderful. And made us realise anew how much of the good stuff in this country is the work of volunteers. We’re really grateful to have been a part of this celebration.”

Sonia, Mayor John Leggett & Sophie


Ockham short listers to attend the 2018 Marlborough Book Festival

6 March 2018

Hang on to your hats dear friends, we are delighted to share with you that two authors on the shortlist for the country’s top book awards will speak at the 2018 Marlborough Book Festival July 6-9.

Cartoonist Tom Scott’s memoir Drawn Out and journalist Diana Wichtel’s investigation to find her lost father Driving To Treblinka have both been shortlisted for the general non-fiction award of the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards announced today. New Zealand Poet Laureate Selina Tusitala Marsh’s collection of poems Tightrope was also longlisted for the poetry award.  

Congratulations to all shortlisted and longlisted authors, especially the three who are joining us here in Marlborough.  We absolutely love what they have written and wanted to give you plenty of time to get thoroughly well read before we launch our full and fabulous list in April.  We will let you know as soon as ticket sales and the full festival programme are online.

We welcomed many visitors from out of town last year, and look forward to doing the same again this year.  If you are from out of town and want to lock down flight or ferry bookings - the following information may be helpful.

The first session of the 2018 Marlborough Book Festival is a cruise through the Marlborough Sounds on the morning of Friday July 6, followed by a full weekend of wonderful writers and curious audiences in stunning Marlborough locations in and around Blenheim.

We’re back at the Boathouse Theatre, Spy Valley Wines, The Treehouse at Cloudy Bay and Hunter’s Wines again this year, and are excited to bring another lovely new venue into the mix for a single “Living Room session” that promises to be a treat.

The final festival session will wrap up just after 5pm on Sunday evening, although we plan to squeeze in an extra session on Monday evening at another new location - so if you want to make a long weekend out of it, go right ahead!

All will be revealed in April, but in the meantime be sure to put the dates in your diaries, and get started on your festival reading - prepare to laugh out loud, think deeply and be thoroughly moved.



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

Check out our latest newsletter with all the news and updates.

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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.