New Zealand Young Writers Festival 2021

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.

Getting Our Feet Wet: Storytelling for Sea-level Rise

In the face of rising sea levels, how do we engage our writing practice with the world around us? In this episode researcher Zoë Heine will be joined by Hana Pera Aoake, Jordan Hamel, Robyn Maree Pickens and Kerry Lane to discuss their practice. This event was sponsored by Auckland University Press.


This NZYWF marks two whirlwind years since the launch of the Ōtepoti Writers Lab – making it high time for a birthday party! In this episode, join the celebration in a showcase extravaganza of writing in different formats, from prose to performance poetry and beyond. This event was sponsored by Ōtepoti Writers Lab.

Authentic and Accessible

What is ‘accessible’ theatre? How do we make work which is genuinely ‘authentic’? In this episode, playwright Dan Goodwin takes us through the ins and outs of writing mental health and disability theatre, deconstructing what it means to weave accessibility into narrative and ground our stories in the communities they emerge from.

Under the Glass: A Starling Celebration

In this episode, join Starling magazine editor Louise Wallace in conversation with Erin Gourley and Molly Crighton, two writers who undertook Starling micro-residencies in the Otago Museum during the festival. This event was sponsored by Starling Magazine and the Otago Museum.

Playing with the Trouble: Writing Gender and the Body

How does society place limitations on the way we live in our bodies? How might we resist and refuse this through writing? In this episode, Emma Barnes, Whina Pomana, Hana Pera Aoake, and Kerry Lane share their work and discuss writing, fluidity, gender, and bodies. This event was sponsored by Auckland University Press.

Otago Poetry Slam

In this episode, join a lively night of quick wits and even quicker verses as 12 contestants battle it out to become the 2021 Otago Poetry Slam Champion. MC’d by National Poetry Slam Champion Jordan Hamel. This event was sponsored by Morning Magpie and Motif Poetry.

Content Warning – mentions of suicide, self-harm, physical and emotional abuse, eating disorders and trauma

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

Dunedin Stories in Sound

Dunedin Stories in Sound – a three-part series by Sarah Manktelow – explores Dunedin soundscapes with a focus on our marine environment.

Sarah is an artist who studied ecology and music at Otago before her postgraduate course in science communication. She created Dunedin Stories in Sound for her science communication internship at the University of Otago.

This podcast series is part of an ongoing project, Aotearoa Stories in Sound, produced by Professor Nancy Longnecker at the Centre for Science Communication.

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.

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

Bloody Good Yarns

Like a BLOODY GOOD YARN? Mac MacDonald has many a BLOODY GOOD YARN to tell. Him and His Mates Yarns, Him and His Missus Yarns, Him and More of His Mates Yarns, and of course Yarns Mostly About Him. Join him for a chuckle or two, maybe even shed a tear, as bus drivers, plumbers, sparkies, bakers, students, professors, Vikings, and noise control officers along with sea lions, ferrets, sparrows, kangaroos, dogs, bonobos, and the wife turn contemporary issues on their head.

If you want Mac to tell some of his BLOODY GOOD YARNS at your event, function, do or what have you, give him a whistle on 028 430 1128, or contact him on his Facebook Page, Mac MacDonald: Storyteller/Poet.