Words with Friends: 2016 NZYWF Official Opening

University Book Shop Dockway
Thursday 6.00pm – 8.00pm

Join the NZYWF team out the back of the bookshop, and raise a glass to another weekend of fine literary adventures (and further raising of glasses). If canapés alone won’t draw you in, we’ve gathered a fine roster of top shelf young poets to perform, featuring Hera Lindsay Bird, Gregory Kan and Lynley Edmeades.


The Wireless Workshops: Opening Session with The Wireless Editor Marcus Stickley

Otago Pioneer Women's Hall
Friday 10.00am – 11.30am

Tips and tricks from the team behind The Wireless, this year’s Canon Media Awards Website of the Year. This workshop will cover what makes a good story - the tips will be applicable whether a story is long or short, written or in pictures. Also pick up some insights into what an editor looks for in a pitch.
Registration Required - see Ticket info below

The Wireless Workshops: Video with Videographer Luke McPake

Otago Pioneer Women's Hall
Friday 12.00pm – 1.30 pm

Luke is a freelance filmmaker who has worked on feature films, in advertising, made music videos and travelled to Africa, Asia and the Pacific documenting the work of NGOs. He will cover how he puts together a visual story from capturing footage in the field to making the final cut. Luke will also talk about the difference between working as a team and working as a one-man band.
Registration Required - see Ticket info below

The Wireless Workshops - Illustration with Illustrator Toby Morris

Otago Pioneer Women’s Hall
Friday 2.00pm – 3.30pm

The Pencilsword is unique in NZ. Through his GIF comic strip, Toby Morris tells insightful stories and gives his opinion on big issues. Toby’s gone from drawing comics as a schoolboy, to working as an award-winning advertising creative and now lives his dream of being a fulltime illustrator. In this session Toby will explain how illustrations can be turned into powerful vehicles for stories and why comics aren’t just for kids. Registration Required - see Ticket info below

The Wireless Workshops: Doing Journalism with Journalists Tess McClure & Mava Moayyed

Otago Pioneer Women’s Hall
Friday 4.00pm – 5.30pm

Two young award-winning journalists talk about their careers so far - how well J School prepared them, what they learnt on the job and experiences working in different forms of journalism.
Registration Required - see Ticket info below

The Spinoff presents On The Rag Live

Leviathan Hotel Dining Room
Friday 6.00pm – 7.00 pm

Alex Casey of The Spinoff has made a habit of writing very good stories about being mad as hell about how women are presented in the media. She has successfully turned this into a monthly (naturally) feminist podcast called On The Rag. Join her and a team of amazing women as they record the September Edition here at NZYWF.

PechaKucha Night

Leviathan Hotel Dining Room
Friday 8.00pm – 9.30pm

The thirtieth Dunedin instalment of the global slideshow phenomenon is (rather aptly) a celebration of the broad scope of talent on our doorstep, and around the country. Featuring a number of presenters appearing elsewhere over the weekend, this is a whirlwind survey to pique your interest in 400 second instalments. Each presenter has 20 seconds to speak to each of their 20 slides, leaving both you and they the challenge of staying afloat. Keep an eye on the website for a speaking list.


Soft Machines with Hera Lindsay Bird & Gregory Kan

Otago Pioneer Women’s Hall
Saturday 10.00 am – Midday

Join Hera Lindsay Bird and Gregory Kan for a poetry workshop in imaginative prosthetics, advanced teen necromancy, and emotional wormholes. They believe that everyone can and does write, and in the importance of writing driven by vulnerability and finitude. Any and all beings are welcome!
Registration Required - see Ticket info below

BWB Texts: Changing The World - One Short Book at a Time

Otago Pioneer Women’s Hall
Saturday 1.00 pm – 2.00pm
Panel David Hall (Text Editor at BWB)
Holly Walker (author and former Green MP)
Morgan Godfery (writer and political commentor)

Can you save the world with a short book? In this wide-ranging panel one editor and two authors from the acclaimed BWB Texts series tackle the big questions, like the state of publishing, and the smaller questions, like the state of politics and the planet.

BWB Texts are ‘short books on big subjects from great New Zealand writers.’ Titles include Generation Rent by Shamubeel Eaqub and Ruth, Roger, and Me by Andrew Dean.

Keep That Blind Person In Mind

Otago Pioneer Women's Hall
Saturday 2.30pm – 3.30pm

New Zealand songwriters of international renown share their fermentation process from germ to song. Insights into inspiration and conflicts - where do discarded lyrics go? How do you shape the 'sound' of a song? Current fav soft and hardware? A not-your-average panel discussion led by Dunedin artist Dudley Benson

All The Government's Dirty Secrets - An OIA Primer

Otago Pioneer Women's Hall
Saturday 4.00pm – 5.00pm
Panel Jess McAllen (Freelance Journalist)
Sasha Borissenko (Editor, NZ Lawyer)
Marcelo Rodriguez (Public Law Lecturer, University of Otago)
Chair Eloise Callister-Baker

For politicians, there’s no such thing as personal email. Just ask Hillary Clinton. Everything sent to and from elected members and civil servants is public information – but that doesn’t mean they’ll hand it over willingly. In this Official Information Act primer, what you can get – and how – will be covered from both a legal perspective and a writer’s one.

Disaster Comedy – The Pitch Black World of Brannavan Gnanalingam

Wolf at the Door
Saturday 7.00pm – 8.00pm

French austerity and class differences; African stereotypes; the Global Financial Crisis; and the War on Terror don’t tend to make the funniest subjects. Unless you’re Brannavan Gnanalingam, who has zeroed in on them with pitch black humour to do just that. His latest novel A Briefcase, Two Pies and a Penthouse was recently described as “ISIS as fought in a world of ‘Tinker, Tailor, Chilled-Out Entertainer’”, and “containing the worst consensual sex ever committed to prose”.

The Great Annual NZYWF Spelling Bee Championship

Wolf at the Door
Saturday 8.00pm – 8.30pm

Does exactly what it says on the tin. Compete with other word nerds in a pressure cooker environment to take home not just glory, but the highly coveted Championship Trunks.

The Electric Salon Social

Wolf at the Door
Saturday 8.30pm – late
Featuring: Stef Animal, Murdabike, Totems

After a long couple of days exercising the brain, it’s time to shelve the books and be swept away in the loving embrace of dancing. An eclectic brew of DJs and live electronic artists will be your spirit guides as you cement friendships new and old at The Electric Salon Social.


NZ Book Council presents True Stories Told Live

Otago Pioneer Women’s Hall
Sunday Midday – 1.30 pm

As the memories of the 2016 NZYWF begin to fade, the tales will grow taller than the shadows long. To set that in motion, we bid the festival adieu with a lunchtime selection of six storytellers, each with eight minutes to regale you, from here in Dunedin and further afield. Come for some kai, and blow out the cobwebs one last time with True Stories Told Live. Keep an eye on the website for a speaking list.


We'll send out regular updates leading up to & during the festival

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New Zealand Young Writers Festival

1-4 September 2016

Proudly presented by the Dunedin Fringe Arts Trust

Scribes of all stripes will gather in Dunedin this September, for the second annual New Zealand Young Writers Festival. Playwrights and poets; comedians and historians; critics and consciences. Held in the heart of Dunedin - UNESCO City of Literature, produced by the Dunedin Fringe Arts Trust and with support from Creative New Zealand and Phantom Billstickers, the festival will include workshops, performances, panel discussions and bookish social festivities. 



All events are free to attend
All events (except for workshops) will be seated first-come, first-served basis and no tickets or bookings will be taken. Doors open 30 minutes prior to start time. Arrive early to avoid missing out!

All workshops require registration. To register your interest in attending a workshop please email your full name, phone number and workshop title to

We will contact you to confirm your registration.


Festival Office 26 Princes Street
Leviathan Hotel Dining Room 27 Queens Gardens
Otago Pioneer Women’s Hall 362 Moray Place
University Book Shop Dockway 378 Great King Street
Wolf at the Door 6 Carroll Street