Queenstown Writers


In something of a coup for Queenstown, the Queenstown Writers Festival organisers have scored two of New Zealand’s greatest writers and legends in the field of New Zealand literature for this year’s Queenstown Writers Festival.

Witi Ihimaera, Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit and the first Māori person to publish a novel, and the renowned Dame Fiona Kidman will be among some of the country’s biggest and best writers at the festival from November 6 to 8.


Lily Max author Jane Bloomfield in conversation with parenting blogger and Spinoff writer Emily Writes.


Iona Winter signing books after her very popular short story writing workshop.

Festival trustee Bethany Rogers says they’re hoping to cover quite a big range of genres this year – poetry, crime writing, historical fiction, New Zealand fiction, music writing and possibly cartoons and journalism. There’ll also be a poetry writing workshop and a memoir writing workshop. The workshops were hugely popular at last November’s highly successful, inaugural festival.

The festival programme will be released in September and Bethany says they’re expecting some very strong interest.

The idea started when a group of Queenstown friends met in May, 2018, and decided Queenstown needed its own Writers and Readers Festival.

“We’re excited to do it all again,” says Bethany. “We’ve got plans for more author talks, more workshops and other events for people who love literature.”

The Queenstown Writers Festival Trust has also launched a new short story competition for writers in the region and entries close on September 1. It’s open to everyone in the Otago and Southland areas and there are three categories; adults, students in Years 9 – 13 (aged 13 to 18) and primary school students up to Year 8 (aged up to 13).

Best-selling novelist, short story writer and award-winning academic mentor, Maxine Alterio, will judge the adult short story competition. Queenstown-based writer and author of the Lily Max series, Jane Bloomfield, will judge the primary school age competition. Iona Winter, an award-winning poetry and flash fiction writer will judge the high school age competition.

There are some great prizes up for grabs – $500 cash for the adult prize winner, a $100 book voucher plus a writing mentoring session with Iona Winter for the high school winner and the primary school winner will receive a $50 book voucher.

Bethany says it’s great to be able to offer another way for writers and book lovers in the region to get inspired and share their writing.

“Last year’s festival proved that there are a lot of people in Queenstown (and beyond) who love the written word so we’re thrilled to launch a competition for the area.

“All three of our judges were part of the festival and after sharing their writing and passion with our audiences, it’s great to have them back on board.”

Entries are now open for the short story competition and word limits and entry conditions are available on the Queenstown Writers Festival website (qtwritersfestival.nz).

Photos: James Allen Photography