Spotlight On Academics We Know

Learning can be awkward. In this series, we aim to normalise the discomfort of being at the edge of new knowledge.

Join Adrienne Buckingham for conversations with lecturers, researchers and practitioners about contemporary challenges, ideas and potential opportunities for education and upskilling.

This is #SoAwk.
Thanks to Otago Polytechnic – Our people make a better world – Kia tū ki te tahi.

Talking About: Election 2023

Fridays @ 2pm

Welcome to the Otago Institute series of Talking About: Election 2023 – The Apolitical Political Show.

Join Dr Barb Anderson and Trudi Sunitsch as they explore election topics, hear from experts and provide context and background on on the issues that are relevant to you, so you can make an informed decision this Election.

Brought to you by the Otago Institute – the Otago Branch of the Royal Society for Arts and Sciences.

Writer 2022

The University of Otago’s annual creative writing competition for students and staff this year, for the first time, also welcomed entries from alumni. Entrants were given the opportunity to harness their creativity and write a short story or a poem inspired by this year’s theme “Brave New World”. The theme allowed for wide-ranging interpretations while acknowledging the many circumstances operating that break us from our past and oblige us to reconsider the world and our place in it. The ‘Writer’ competition was established in 2019, as part of the University’s 150th celebrations. This year’s judge is New Zealand writer and Otago staff member Craig Cliff.

Writer 2022 - Full Episode

This year’s winners read and discuss their works with co-organisers Lisa Dick and Nicola Cummins, with judge’s comments from Craig Cliff.

Lennox Tait

The winner of the student poetry section was Lennox Tait. Lennox reads his untitled poem which flipped the theme and explored Braving New World, the supermarket.

Jessica Bent

The winner of the student fiction section was Jessica Bent. Jessica reads her story “My Friend the Stranger”.

Prof Abby Smith

The winner of the staff poetry section was Professor Abby Smith. Abby reads her poem “Falling, Falling”.

Gini Jory

The winner of the staff fiction section was Gini Jory. Gini reads her story “A Discovery; Donor Unknown”.

Giles Graham

The winner of the alumni poetry section was Giles Graham. Giles reads his poem “It Was Not The New World I Feared”.

Rebecca Styles

The winner of the alumni fiction section was Rebecca Styles. Rebecca reads her story “Stock Levels”

New Zealand Young Writers Festival

The New Zealand Young Writers Festival celebrates the cutting edge of contemporary literary practice in Ōtepoti, with performances, workshops, conversations, markets, social events and more. The festival is funded by Dunedin City Council and Otago Community Trust. This live-recorded podcast is brought to you by Otago Access Radio and supported by Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature.

Slam Champ Sandwich

What does it take to be a slam champ? What are the strange anecdotes and stories? And what is it like to compete with the country’s best of the best? Our country’s finest slam champions – Nathan Joe, Sara Hirsch, and Eric Soakai share their winning poems and spill the hot behind the scenes tea of what goes on during slam off. Past winners gossip and rant about what makes such a community-driven but competitive sport so enticing.

True Crit

Earlier this year, Metro Arts editor, Lana Lopesi wondered “where all the bad reviews have gone” as the once highly valued art writing website The Lumiere Reader slowly disappeared from the internet, leaving only a gentle footprint. In this panel, art critics across different mediums – Mya Morrison-Middleton, Sinead Overbye, Essa May Ranapiri and Samuel Te Kani – discuss the very nature of criticism. Who or what is criticism for? Who should critique who? And is Aotearoa too small for robust criticism?

Dirty Talk

James Joyce’s perverse love letters reveal that the terms ‘literary genius’ and ‘smut peddler’ are far from mutually exclusive. What do Aotearoa’s new generation of young writers – Josiah Morgan, Essa May Ranapiri, Samuel Te Kani, and Rebecca Hawkes – have to say about the fine line between erotic and profane?

Otago Poetry Slam

Open to slam poets of any age, with the winner being sponsored to represent Otago at the National Slam. The competition will be conducted in accordance with the rules of the National Slam, and poets may be required to read up to three poems. With your MC Sara Hirsch and calibration poet Eric Soakai.

You, Me, Her and The Sea

As triplet sisters clear the family attic after a shared heartbreak, old memories, buried secrets, and deep-set grudges are forced to the surface. A new drama by local playwright Amy Wright, written for her Honours year at the University of Otago, with the assistance of Amanda Martin.

Playright After 25

These playwrights were once young and hungry, ‘before twenty-five,’ and heralded as the future of this country’s playwriting. What happened next, and where are they now? Examining the grey area between ‘emerging’ and ‘emerged’, award-winning playwrights Ben Wilson, Amy Wright, and Nathan Joe who have come through Playmarket’s b425 competition, discuss the realities of being young playwrights in contemporary Aotearoa.

Climate Poetry Here and Now

Climate change poetry is hot hot hot. With No Other Place to Stand: An Anthology of Climate Change Poetry from Aotearoa New Zealand recently published by AUP and the UNESCO Cities of Literature combining forces for The Heat is On: Young Writers on the Climate Crisis, is there a single bigger issue for young writers today? Rebecca Hawkes chairs a panel discussion with readings, featuring Sinead Overbye, Shima Jack and Zinnia Hansen (from the United States).

Dracula: A Radio Play

31st October 2021 @ 9 pm

Dracula: A Radio Play. The script has been adapted by Emer Lyons from the 1927 revision by John L. Balderston of Dracula: A Vampire Play in Three Parts. The original script was written by Hamilton Deane in 1924 and was the first authorized adaptation of Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula.

The voices are as follows:
Gabby Golding is Doctor Seward
Liz Breslin is Abraham Van Helsing
Sofie Welveart is Lucy Westenra
Rosie Collier is Jonathan Harker
Kimberley Buchan is Count Dracula
Emer Lyons is Renfield
Gretel Newman-Sugrue is Butterworth and Miss Wells (the Maid)

This production is a collaboration between The Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies, Suitcase Theatre and Otago Access Radio.

Sound design & editing by Dylan Shields
Music is by Dylan Shields & Alex Campbell-Hunt

Gaps in the Light

Dunedin based writer Iona Winter reads selections from her latest collection, Gaps in the Light. Skilled at giving voice to difficult topics, her work is widely published and anthologised internationally. Gaps in the Light traverses lines between fiction and non-fiction, encouraging us to explore both our relationships with the world, and ourselves.
Music for the series is by Reuben Winter.
For other books and writing by Iona, go to

Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival

The Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival was held in Ōtepoti Dunedin, our UNESCO City of Literature.

In this podcast series, we share recordings from these sessions with you.

This Dunedin Writers & Readers Festival podcast was brought to you with funding from Copyright Licensing New Zealand and the expertise of OAR FM. The festival also offers thanks to our major funders: Creative NZ, the Dunedin City Council, and the Otago Community Trust.

Crossing Genres

From paranormal romance to crime thrillers, The New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh will talk to Kirby-Jane Hallum about how and why she has crossed genres, and her three most recent releases: Alpha NightArchangel’s Sun, and Quiet in Her Bones.  

NZ Crime - What's Going On?

Jared Savage and Steve Braunias will tackle some of the big questions about crime in Aotearoa and what they have learned in the process of writing about it. With Rob Kidd.  

Navigating the Stars - ​Māori Creation Myths

“Step through the gateway now to stories that are as relevant today as they ever were,” invites master storyteller Witi Ihimaera.  

He will talk with Jacinta Ruru about his latest book, Navigating the Stars: Māori Creation Myths, in which he traces the history of Māori people through their creation myths, bringing them to the twenty-first century.  

Things OK with You?

Lynn Freeman sits down with Vincent O’Sullivan to talk about his recent work, including his new collection of poems Things OK with you? and of course the biographical portrait, Ralph Hotere: The Dark is Light Enough

The Books that Made Me

Rose CarlyleNalini Singh, and Kyle Mewburn will read an excerpt from a significant childhood story and talk about the shaping effect it has had on their adulthood. Hosted by Bridget Schaumann

Women, Past & Present

What Do They Have to Tell Us About the Future?

Vanda SymonSteff GreenHG Parry, and Angela Wanhalla will talk about women who’ve come before and those who are here now, and the footprints they’ve laid for our future. Hosted by Majella Cullinane

Rocketing to Fame

Becky Manawatu‘s debut novel, Auē, garnered critical acclaim and announced her as a compelling new voice in New Zealand fiction, winning the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction and the Hubert Church Prize for Fiction at the 2020 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.   

Kiran Dass described Auē as “a beautifully pitched and nuanced hopeful story about the power of love, friendship and family”. Becky is the Robert Burns Fellow for 2021 and hopes to use the opportunity for both personal and professional growth, as she works on a sequel (of sorts) to Auē.  

Lynn Freeman will quiz Becky about how her meteoric rise to literary fame has affected her approach to writing and life. 

Ngā Kete Mātauranga

​Māori Scholars at the Research Interface

Co-editor of Ngā Kete Mātauranga: Māori Scholars at the Research Interface, Jacinta Ruru describes this beautiful and transformative book as “an opportunity to provide New Zealanders with an insight into how Mātauranga is positively influencing the Western-dominated disciplines of knowledge in the research sector”.
In these pages, Māori academics share what being Māori has meant for them in their work. Jacinta, in conversation with the Te Kai a te Rangatira editors, will speak to the process of creating the book and the influence of Mātauranga on the academic sector. 

Walking the Heartland

In Map for the Heart: Ida Valley EssaysJillian Sullivan’s gentle essays about her wanderings and wonderings in the vast Ida Valley are an exploration of the physical place, and how it connects us to our community.  
She and Liz Breslin will discuss how place and space affect the heart.  

Politics of Poetry

For centuries, poetry has played an important role in both recording cultural events and reflecting the mood of the people.  
David EggletonJessica Thompson Carr, and Fiona Farrell will share perspectives on the politics inherent in poetry. Chaired by Emma Neale, they will examine the way poetry enables debate, and how it can subvert and challenge societal views to effect change.  

Escaping the Humdrum

One of the joys of reading is being transported into the wilds of both your own and someone else’s imagination. 

HG Parry and Gareth Ward will discuss crafting stories that take us into fantasy worlds far from the mundane, with Bronwyn Wylie-Gibb.

Rivers, Riptides & Roads

From sprawling braided riverbeds to exhilarating surf breaks, Aotearoa is both an angler’s paradise and a surfer’s dream. Dougal Rillstone and Derek Morrison will sit down with fellow explorer Bruce Ansley to talk about their sense of self in remote and wild places. 


Activating Allies

Rebecca Kiddle and Amanda Thomas, contributing writers for Imagining Decolonisation, will discuss why decolonisation is beneficial to everyone, and who is, and who should be, doing the mahi.  ​

The Historical Novel: Germany

My neighbour gave me a stack of old calendars, and so, in the absence of any other paper, I’ll write to you on the backs of all the vanished years.” 

With her latest novel Remote Sympathy, award-winning bestseller Catherine Chidgey tells an engrossing and unsettling tale of a Nazi Germany labour camp from the perspectives of three wilfully oblivious characters. In conversation with Lynn Freeman.  

The Wilder Years

Selected Poems

The current Poet Laureate, David Eggleton, will dive into his new book, The Wilder Years: Selected Poems, with fellow poet Victor Billot.

Writing Romance in the 21st Century

Chair Susan Sims and authors Nalini SinghSteff Green, and Jayne Castel will unpick why romance writing matters in 2021, and discuss the ongoing appeal of romance novels and what success looks like to writers of this billion-dollar genre. 

Girl in the Mirror

Rose Carlyle, who shot to literary fame with her debut novel, The Girl in the Mirror, will talk to Phillippa Duffy about what happens to a story when a book is snapped up by Hollywood. ​

Placing Fantasy Inside the Real World

Elizabeth Knox, acclaimed author of many novels, including The Vintner’s Luck and, most recently, The Absolute Book, will unpick the meanings and implications, the whys and wherefores, of placing a ‘fantasy’ world inside the ‘real’ world, with HG Parry.

Magical Rights

HG Parry is an emerging author who writes complex and engaging fantasy novels.

​She will explain to Lynn Freeman the imaginative thought processes that led her, in her most recent series, to reinvent the French Revolution. 

Mapping Dunedin's Stories

Cityscapes and their surroundings have an intimate connection to the literary imagination, inscribing a sense of place and identity that persists through time. 
Frank GordonRoger HickinDavid Ciccoricco, and Nicola Cummins will discuss the varied ways they have mapped our city’s stories.