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Readers' Choice at Featherston Booktown festival – a popular event

It was incredible to see the crowd filing into the  Joy Cowley Room at the historic Royal Hotel in Featherston for my interview with Maggie Rainey-Smith during the Featherston Booktown literary festival. There were no spare seats for this event which was labelled “The Readers Choice”.  Maggie asked many searching questions – among these she was keen to know how long the novel has been in gestation (answer: a long time!)

 A couple of questions from the audience following the session: Is the novel suitable for school libraries? The answer being yes (the historic sections are very relevant to the secondary school syllabus which covers some of New Zealand’s history). And will it be published in Ireland (where some chapters are set and several major characters are Irish)? Answer: I would love for Secrets to be published there.

Overall it was wonderful to be a part of the Festival with so many talented speakers and writers and such a broad array of topics being discussed during the weekend. Dame Susan Devoy set the tone during her speech at the first night FishNChip supper  (the ANZAC Hall packed out for it), with John Campbell conducting a panel discussion on the Future of the Left, the next day. Steve Braunias had the audience keenly following as he talked about his experiences reporting on some of the famous New Zealand criminal trials and meeting people who were involved. Events discussing the Treaty of Waitangi and the New Zealand Wars were also highly popular.  I particularly enjoyed hearing Authors Catherine Robertson, Lee Murray and Isla Pearl Ritchie sharing some of the secrets of genre writing.

With Lynn Freeman chairing the panel.

Lee Murray


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