Monday, May 23, 2016


A literary feast awaits visitors to the Wairarapa following the announcement of the biennial Yarns in Barns Wairarapa Festival of Reading Programme.

Witty debate, music , food and fitness, tales from the barn and the bush, literary discussion plus poems in a vineyard will all feature in this years Festival.

Fourteen events will be held at various locations across the Wairarapa from Friday, 27th May – 5th June 2016, with a cluster of events being held over the long weekend of Queen’s Birthday. Festival director David Hedley, of Hedley’s Bookshop in Masterton, says the Festival will bring together an eclectic line-up of authors, publishers and debaters to celebrate the joy of books.

“We’re really excited about this year’s programme as it features some amazing authors and celebrities – from David Hill talking about his young adult Featherston camp war novel Enemy Camp and The Bachelor’s Art Green discussing his book Eat Clean and Live Lean to what is tipped to be a fun and entertaining conversation between Colin Hogg and Joe Bennett who will share road-trip yarns. There will be something for everyone,” says David.

The festival will open on Friday May 27th with the Trust House Yarns in Barns Great Debate with the theme “Rural life whips the city life anytime”. Held at the Copthorne Hotel & Resort Solway Park in Masterton, the debate will feature former TV presenter and now author Ian Johnstone; former TV interviewer Ian Fraser; author Nicky Pellegrino; marketing specialist advisor Tina Nixon; poet, editor and associate professor in the School of English, Film, Theatre and Media Studies at Victoria University, Harry Ricketts,; and sports columnist Mark Reason – all under the watchful eye of adjudicator and Masterton’s Arrow FM manager Michael Wilson.

The following day authors Steve Braunias and Pellegrino will talk about their latest books in Greytown and Masterton respectively.

Other highlights include a cooking demonstration and talk by 2015 Masterchef winner Tim Read; a Q&A style evening with Roger Shepherd, founder of iconic NZ music label Flying Nun and Matinee Idle’s Phil O’Brien; a literary conversation between Joe Bennett and author Kate de Goldi; Poems on the Vine at Gladstone Vineyard with poets Ya-wen Ho, Lynley Edmeades and Ross Ireland, introduced by Madeleine Slavick and an evening with Green and Matilda Rice, from TV’s The Bachelor, where Green will discuss his book Eat Clean and Live Lean.

The Festival will also celebrate local authors including Angela Williams (High Street to Homestead)Wairarapa publishers Diane and Ian F. Grant; Gaye Sutton (But For The Grace), Chris Daniell (Just An Orange For Christmas), Neil Frances (A Long, Long Trail) and Ros Iorns-Read (Forget Me Not ).

Destination Wairarapa marketing manager Barb Hyde says with many festival events being held over Queens Birthday Weekend, it’s the perfect chance for visitors to come to the region and relax with friends.

Getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city has never been easier this Queen’s Birthday weekend, with the Wairarapa open for holiday makers,” she says. “People coming for Yarns in Barns can book a variety of accommodation from cosy B&B’s through to exclusive providers; enjoy festival events and then take time to explore our region afterwards, including our terrific cafes, restaurants, wineries and boutique shops.”

Yarns in Barns, first held in 2003, was established by Hedley’s Booksellers, Fraser Books and Wairarapa librarians to take reading and the joy of reading books back out into the Wairarapa community. Now it provide forums for writers to network with other writers, and to expose people to a wide range of literary forms – through discussion forums, debates, speaking events and workshops.

Tickets for Yarns in Barns and the full 2016 Programme are available from Hedleys Bookstore in Queen St Masterton, online via Accommodation can be found on  

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