Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival

Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival

May 9-12

International stars of the literary world will rub shoulders with national and local writers in a “cracking good line-up” for the 2019 Dunedin Writers & Readers Festival.  Held every two years, the fourth Dunedin Writers & Readers Festival will run from from May 9 to 12. The festival will feature 60 authors in 36 events across four days. Topics will range from fake news, feminism, and race to hip-hop, Shakespeare, and the Dunedin sound.

Eight international authors will be special guests of the festival, including best-selling Irish novelist John Boyne, award-winning UK hip-hop artist and author Akala, English writer-performer Rebecca Vaughan, French picture-book author-illustrators Eric Veille and Clotilde Perrin, and Australian authors Markus Zusak, Clementine Ford, and Australian Children’s Laureate Morris Gleitzman.  Among many highlights of the festival would be the presence of Te Reo Maori educators and authors Stacey and Scotty Morrison, who would lead a workshop on “Te Reo, Hip-Hop and Shakespeare” for high school pupils, as well as discussing “The Te Reo Boom” in a public session, Ms Finlayson said.

Dunedin authors will make a strong showing in the workshop sessions and talks.  Among them will be Emily Duncan, Philip Temple, Shane Carter, Liam McIlvanney, Vincent O’Sullivan, Sarah Gallagher and Ian Chapman.Printed copies of the festival programme are available around Dunedin, and the full programme is online, at www.dunedinwritersfestival.co.nz





Extra! was lucky to have two talented student writers interview Fifi Colston and Toby Morris.  These two talents will be involved with the Story-time train on Saturday, May 11, 8.45am to 11.45am.  Get your tickets now, online.



Interview with illustrator, Toby Morris

By Sam McGee, Tahuna Normal Intermediate

1. When I do my drawings, I get stuck heaps. Where do even start to get your amazing ideas?

I get stuck sometimes too! I think everybody does. I think the trick is not to panic, and just draw something (anything!) just to get you started - maybe a funny face that makes you laugh for example, and then once you started then hopefully some new good ideas will start flowing. I think when you're feeling relaxed is when the best ideas start to come, and sometimes just drawing something silly is a good way to get you relaxed and warmed up.

2. You are my drawing idol… so who is yours?

I have so many! There are so many good drawers around the place! I really admire Dylan Horrocks and Sharon Murdoch, they're two of my favourites from New Zealand. I really love the Hilda comics too, have you seen those? I love the drawing in them.

3. I know that that you can pretty much draw anything, but, what is your favorite thing to draw?

I don't always feel like I can draw anything, so that's very nice of you to say, thanks Sam! These are great questions! I think overall, my favourite thing to draw is people. I like getting to meet all kinds of different people and I'm always trying to pay attention to different types of clothes and haircuts and the way people stand or walk or little things they do, and then later on when I'm drawing I try and remember those little details to make the people I'm drawing interesting. People are so weird and so cool!

4. What inspired you to start drawing? (because, in my case I just started doing random scribbles on a piece of paper).

I always loved drawing, but when I was about your age I got given a big stack of old Asterix and Tintin comics from a family friend, and that got me really hooked. Then when I was about 8 I broke my leg really badly and was stuck in a wheelchair for a few weeks, so I started trying to make my own comic then, and never really stopped after that!

5. At what age did you find your style of drawing?

Probably not till I was in my twenties I think, and even then it is still slowly changing. It can take a long long time to find your style, and that's totally ok. My advice would be to try to not be stressed or in a big hurry to settle on one style - it's really fun to try out different things and over time you'll probably find out naturally which one suits you best.

6. Why did you decide to be a cartoonist?

That's a great question! I always liked writing, and I liked art as well, and cartooning lets you combine both of those. It's not the easiest job - it took me a long time learning and getting slowly better before I got to the point I could make a living doing it, but I'm glad I stuck with it. It makes me happy.

7. What makes you draw so many ice-creams?

Ha! Another great question. As well as being fun and delicious to imagine while you're drawing, ice creams are also good to draw because you can draw them dripping everywhere. I love drawing things dripping, it looks cool! Plus ice creams make people happy.

8. Are your kids as good at drawing as you?

They are getting pretty good. I don't want to put any pressure on them to do what I do, but we do have fun drawing together. Max, who is 7, draws really cool dragons, and Iggy, who is 5, draws really cool people with heart shaped bodies.

9. What were you favourite comics as a kid? (mine was TiNTiN)

High five! Me too! I loved Tintin a lot, it was a really big influence for me. I still think they're some of the best comics ever. I also loved Asterix, and we used to get these funny English comics like Buster and Whizzer & Chips, they had lots of different styles in them and they were pretty funny.

10.  I hate drawing horses, feet, and mouths. What do you hate drawing?

Oh! I think we are in sync! Horses are the worst for me, I am so bad at drawing their legs! Honestly, what is going on with their knees, they're very weird. I also get a bit stuck on drawing people talking on the phone - it always looks weird. Also babies - lots of the time I end up making babies' faces look like old people. And I had to draw someone batting in cricket the other day, that's a hard one too, it just looked wrong.  I'm pretty bad at cars too. Lots to work on!

11. If you weren’t a cartoonist what would you be…?

I really like playing music. I'm not very good at it, but I enjoy it, so maybe I'd be a very struggling musician. People might come to my concert and clap politely and say "have you thought about trying cartooning?"





Interview with Fifi Colston

By Bethany Elder, Balmacewen Intermediate


Fifi Colston is an author, illustrator, tv presenter, columnist, and a wearable art designer. She also runs some workshops. Fifi was born in the UK in 1960 and moved to NZ when she was 8 years old. She went back to England for a couple of years in 2001 and is currently living in Wellington.


Fifi has always had a love for writing and art. Her openness, to trying new things, has enabled her to do many different things.

At age twenty, Fifi decided that she wanted to be an illustrator. She trained as a commercial artist at Design School. After she graduated, she went out looking for work and approached TVNZ about doing graphics for television. Even though this field wasn’t what she had trained for, they asked her if she wanted to be part of the design team and to be in charge of the What Now Magazine. She wasn’t long in this job when she was approached by the producer, who asked her if she also wanted to try making crafts for a tv show. Fifi had no tv presenting experience but she gave it a go.

When all of these different opportunities were given to her, she was a bit nervous because she didn’t know if she could do it or not. She has always loved new challenges and extending her skills and knowledge.

Fifi Colston says, “I would be bored if I only did one of these things.” She loves the thrill of overcoming her nerves and taking on new opportunities.


Fifi also illustrates and writes books, makes costumes and props, and wearable art and costuming for films. Whew!  She is very organised and good at fitting in all of her different jobs. She has different jobs elected for different days of the week. Fifi always has books to illustrate, costumes to make for something and is always working on a book.


In the past, Fifi has mainly written non-fiction books and junior fiction. She likes to try out different genres of writing and doesn’t have one in particular that she prefers. She is currently working on her first young adult book. It is a graphic novel. Fifi is also getting two picture books, that she wrote and illustrated, published this year. Her only adult book is a collection of poems in the Next magazine called Fifi verses the world.



Extra! ODT