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 2021

The 2021 Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival was held in Ōtepoti Dunedin, our UNESCO City of Literature, from the 6th until the 9th of May.

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.

Unique Ōtepoti

In this series, we will hear from young local performers as they explore how they express their cultural identities through creative performance – from traditional songs to original compositions.

This series has been made possible with the support from the Dunedin City Council Creative Communities Scheme and New Zealand on Air.

1 – Hermione Hai
2 – Keira Wallace
3 – Soana Pole
4 – Thanuja Luxmanan
5 – Poppy Mitchell

Dick of the Bay

An original story written by Stephen James Bourne, recorded at his Nurses Bend Studios, Doctors Point Road, Waitati, South Island, New Zealand using a massive and spectacular cast of local available characters and sounds.

Vehicular U-Turns are potentially very dangerous manoeuvers. They are a common occurrence for many New Zealand motorists. In the case of my story, it was one such turn that led to unforeseeable consequences.

An off-duty head of supermarket security finds himself in a small community shaken by a recent tragic death and unwanted intrusion. Compelled through his natural desire for justice and moral duty and an attractive woman, his unearthing of the truth would require a far deeper excavation than he expects for many centuries of historic events to be unearthed.

Thanks to Exisle Publishing for their support

Dick: Stephen James Bourne (SJB)
Dee: Sue Bourne
Sally: Jenny Gleeson (Gallery owner)
Thomas: Gareth St John Thomas (Young Policemen)
Jack: (Senior Police Officer) (SJB)
Serious Crimes Inspector: Sue Bourne
Male Gang Members: (SJB)
Female Gang Member: Jennifer (Glasnost) Gleeson
Village Librarian: Jennifer Gleeson
City Librarian: Sue Bourne
Joshua Block: (SJB)
Bud (the Dog): a variety of local barking dogs.

Theme music: Written, created and recorded by Stephen James Bourne
Background (radio music): Written, created and recorded by Charles Barrington


Pet is a dark and humorous short story collection that explores our relationships with children, lovers, and other animals. The Pet Podcast is made in collaboration with Otago Access Radio, Ōtepoti Dunedin.

Thanks to Creative New Zealand and New Zealand on Air for making this podcast possible.

Author Bio

A graduate of Victoria University’s Institute of Modern Letters, Kathryn van Beek is the winner of the Mindfood Short Story Competition and the Headland Short Story Prize. Her work has appeared in The Sunday Star-Times, takahē, Newsroom, Fresh Ink and Bonsai. Pet is Kathryn’s debut short story collection.

Luna's Crew

An aspiring social media influencer bites off more than he can chew. Read by ​Lachie Oliver-Kerby.

The Quickening

During a drunken academic retreat, technology takes over. Read by Terry MacTavish.


An aspiring artist and a half-hearted activist have more in common than they realise. Read by Meko Ng.

Fool's Gold

​Farming and motherhood collide. Read by Helen Fearnley.

The Fishhook

In an imagined near future, two girls battle for a better life. Read by Iona Winter.

Speaking in Tongues

While one person is saved by religion, another flees it. Read by Phil Grieve.

Women's Studies

A student’s part-time job is at odds with her career aspirations. Read by Lara Macgregor.

The Pack

As his hangover clears, he realises something’s gone horribly wrong. Read by ​Mark Neilson.

The Lucky Numbers

Ageing rockers still hope to hit the big time. Read by Kate Orgias.

The Nor'wester

Who’s trapped – the kids, the dad, or the orca? Read by ​Jaya Beach-Robertson.

Melanie Kerr
Melanie is a familiar face on New Zealand television, having graced our screens on The Good Morning Show for some eight years. She is a leading New Zealand wedding and funeral celebrant, chosen by New Zealand Weddings Magazine as their Dream Wedding celebrant. 

Phil Vaughan
For 18 years Phil hosted nationwide breakfast radio shows on 91ZM, The Breeze and More FM, and presented television programmes including What Now? and Good Morning. Phil has worked as a writer, production manager and First AD in television and film productions in New Zealand and overseas. He has acted in numerous plays, musicals, films and TV shows, and recently returned to the big screen in NZ Feature Film This Town, set to be released later this year. Phil voices radio plays and short stories for National Radio, and has appeared in numerous TV commercials.

Emma Wood
​Emma Wood is an experienced communications specialist, voiceover artist, book reviewer and children’s author with an extensive background in radio journalism and broadcasting. She lives in Dunedin with her family, which includes one very good dog.

​Alison Cowan
Alison Cowan has a wide variety of creative interests. Past performing adventures have included barbershop singing, teaching and performing Flamenco dancing, and even dipping a toe into poetry slamming. She has been seen on stages in Auckland, London (a very small one, a long way from Shaftesbury Ave), Hokitika (last century), and Dunedin. Recent acting highlights have included Sylvia at The Globe, Crunchy Silk at the NAT, Marine Snow in the 2019 Fringe Festival, and Bonking James Bond at the Firehouse Theatre in Mosgiel. All of this sparked by reciting a poem at her kindergarten Christmas show, when she was four.

Tama Walker
Voicing ‘Kittens’ was Tama Walker’s (Ngati Porou) first foray into acting, but he is as comfortable behind the mic as he is behind a cricket bat. With a background in sports coaching, and with a vibrant home life that includes two young children and a labradoodle, Tama has spent years perfecting transferable skills such as voice projection and the ability to entertain.  

Lachie Oliver-Kerby
A graduate of the University of Otago and New Zealand Radio Training School, Lachie is a writer, actor, broadcaster, voiceover artist and musician (under the Chadley Biscuits alias) with an aptitude for the absurd. Having grown up in both Hong Kong and New Zealand training to become both a performer and rugby player, Lachie has settled on a life of passionate polarity.

Terry MacTavish
Terry MacTavish is an actor, teacher, director, dancer and reviewer, writing for, teaching Drama and English at Queen’s High, advising the Dept of Education and tutoring at Otago University, as well as performing on stage, radio and television and touring with Dunedin Dance Theatre. Terry was given the Theatre Industry’s Silver Award for 50+ Professional Productions, which include plays by Chekhov, Ibsen, Strindberg, Schiller, Shakespeare, Middleton, Sophocles, Brecht, Shaw, Sheridan, Wycherley, Goldsmith, Wilde, Pinter, Fugard, McNally, TS Eliot, Noel Coward, Dylan Thomas, Tennessee Williams, James Joyce, Aphra Behn, Caryl Churchill, Sarah Daniels, Margaret Edson, Bryony Lavery, Louise Page, Jean Betts, Sarah Delahunty, Michelanne Forster, Emily Duncan, Amy Wright and many more, including creating a role for our revered Renee. Terry has represented NZ for SGCNZ at Shakespeare’s Globe in London, is a member of the Dunedin Reviewers Collective that hosts the annual Theatre Awards, and in 2019 was awarded the MNZM for Services to Theatre and Education.

Shireen Shah
After training at Manchester School of Theatre, Shireen spent three years in repertory based in Belfast then joined the BBC recording dramas, short stories and presented The Net Result and Women in World Politics. Voiced the wicked witch, goat and teddy bears for Legoland, narrated films for London Aquarium and The World Wildlife Fund. Roles in new plays with Not the RSC, Made in Wales, Croydon Warehouse, Theatre Royal Stratford  and Hampstead Theatre. TV series include The Bill, Love Hurts,  Shameless, Dinner Ladies, Casualty, Coronation Street , East Enders and Blood Strangers. Films include Bharji on the Beach, Frozen, Maila, Jinnah and the NZ short Link.

Olly Ohlson
Teacher and entertainer Olly Ohlson is well known for his work as the presenter of After School. He has taught te reo and Tikanga Māori. 

Meko Ng
Meko Ng, 19, is a second year student at the University of Otago who is completing a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Theatre Studies. Originally from Hong Kong, Meko has made many contributions to the performing arts community in Dunedin, including performing in the University’s Lunch Time Theatre, and the UNESCO Cities of Literature Short Play Festival.

Helen Fearnley
Helen has been a theatre addict since childhood, originally training in the UK through Wessex Drama and L.A.M.D.A qualifications in performance and voice, before obtaining a BA in Theatre and Performance from the University of Warwick. Since moving to New Zealand, Helen has become a founding member and proud trustee of Dunedin’s Suitcase Theatre, Committee Member for the Globe Theatre and has received two Outstanding Performance awards in the Dunedin Theatre Awards.

Iona Winter
Iona Winter writes in hybrid forms exploring the landscapes between oral and written words. Her work is created to be performed, and has been widely published and anthologised. She is the author then the wind came (2018) and Te Hau Kāika (2019). Iona is of Waitaha, Kāi Tahu and Pākehā descent, and lives on the East Otago Coast.

Phil Grieve
Phil has been a professional actor for over thirty years. After studying with Lisa Warrington at the University of Otago’s Allen Hall Theatre, he debuted for Fortune Theatre in Dunedin, performing in a dozen productions there before moving to base himself in the capital. Over the following twenty years, Phil appeared in shows for every major company in the country as well as radio drama, children’s theatre and in roles for both small and big screen. He’s particularly proud of the work he’s been involved with the Māori theatre community but circumstances have led him back to the south. “It feels good to be spending time back where it all started for me.”

Lara Macgregor
Lara works as an actor, director, dramaturg and performance coach. She studied acting in New York City, has a Post-Graduate Diploma in Directing from The National Institute of Dramatic Art in Sydney, and has held roles as Associate Artistic Director at The Court Theatre and Artistic Director at Fortune Theatre. Acting highlights include: Annie Wilkes – Misery, Lady Macbeth – Macbeth, Lauren Grant – Burn Her, Younger Elizabeth – When the Rain Stops Falling, and Veronique – God of Carnage.

Mark Neilson
Mark Neilson is a proudly Dunedin based actor, voice artist, writer and puppeteer. Recent gigs include TV1’s One Lane Bridge (Great Southern Television) and Black Christmas (Blumhouse Productions). Mark was heard recently on Choice TV’s Wildlife Rescue. Mark shares his home with his lovely wife, three blonde daughters, one fluffy black dog, and a lot of half-finished jobs.

Kate Orgias
​Since 2000, Kate has worked in both public and commercial radio, communications/marketing and content creation. She’s currently a Masters in Creative Writing student at AUT, and freelancing as a voice artist, researcher, producer and podcast editor. Born in Whanganui, Kate grew up in Tāmaki Makaurau, studied broadcasting in Ōtautahi and journalism in Whanganui-a-Tara.

Jaya Beach-Robertson
Jaya has been a professional VO artist since 2017. She has worked on a variety of projects such as Path of Exile, Quimbo’s Quest, and a variety of radio ads. She is also a screenwriter having won best web series at the Los Angeles Film Festival for her self funded series, PSUSY. 

DJ Tina Turntables AKA Kristina Simons
The voice of the Pet Podcast is radio DJ Tina Turntables. DJ Tina Turntables has been playing a mixed gumbo of Soul, Rhythm & Blues, Funk and Disco, spiced up with Hip-Hop, R&B and Indie for over a decade around Tāmaki Makaurau. She co-hosts 95bFM’s Sunday show Back On The Goodfoot and has played everything from dive bars on K Road to outdoor festivals like Wondergarden & Auckland City Limits: from opening for The Black Keys & Prince to after parties for Peaches & Fleetwood Mac. She is also an accomplished writer and director.