Four years ago, a friend of mine who lives in Devonport, became despondent and then angry about the fact that she couldn’t sell her beautifully illustrated New Zealand children’s storybooks in the usual bookshops. She decided to do something about it and dreamed up the idea of having a book day for independent authors.
She was surprised and overwhelmed by the level of support and enthusiasm for an event held in a church hall that soon became overcrowded and lacked the facilities to cope with the crowd. But she was also buoyed by the response. The first festival had been a great success even with some logistical problems.
The following year the book festival grew and tried new premises at the North Shore Event Centre and expanded to two days. The facilities more than catered for the size of the event and met the exhibitor’s needs, but for some reason, the public didn’t turn up in the same numbers. While still a success, it had not reached the scale she and her fellow authors had hoped for.
Not to be undone by this, we, the authors, organised a committee to assist with the planning and organisation and persuaded her to keep going. Events like these don’t become famous overnight, we argued. Keep going.
Last year, the NZ Book Festival found a home in Mt Eden. It seemed this hall was a bit of a Goldilocks in that it wasn’t too big, it met the needs of the authors and the public were keen to see what was going on.
In 2017, the 4th annual New Zealand Book Festival will again be held at the Mt Eden War Memorial Hall in Dominion Road, opposite Potters Park, on a bus route and with parking at the rear. The date is Saturday, 11 November and the doors will be open between 10 am and 4 pm.
On offer will be books of every genre and style none of which can be bought in the local bookshop. There will be goody bags for the first 100 visitors through the door, there are lucky dips, spot prizes and a kid’s corner with entertainment to allow parents to browse. Eftpos will be available but cash is the preferred option. Come along and meet the authors – they will sign your purchase if you ask them.
I’ll be there for the fourth year in a row, showcasing my latest novel Gwenna alongside my other books and I’ll be there next year too. I believe the Festival needs our support until it becomes famous in its own time.
My thanks and appreciation go to Louise de Varga for her foresight and perseverance under, at times, stressful situations. We couldn’t have done it without her. Now we need your help to maintain it.
I hope to see you there.
By Vicky Adin,
Author & book lover. (Published 5th November)