Hamilton Book Month 2021

It’s almost August and Hamilton Book Month will soon be underway again with 21 events in 2021.

Co-director Catherine Wallace says, ”We’ve got a great line-up this year with both literary icons and exciting new talent. Our audiences love interacting with visiting and local authors, hearing them read, buying their books and then having them personally signed”.

The month kicks off with a fiction panel featuring New Zealand’s best-selling fiction author Deborah Challinor, multiple award-winner Catherine Chidgey and the 2021 Waikato University Writer in Residence Michalia Arathimas, chaired by Maebh Long. The authors will read from their work, talk about themes in their writing and take questions from the audience. Refreshments will be served beforehand and Poppies bookstore will have the authors’ books for sale. There’s no cost but use the Hamilton Book Month website registration link to get your Eventbrite ticket.

Award-winning and bestselling author Witi Ihimaera’s best-known novel is The Whale Rider, which was made into a hugely internationally successful film. His novel Nights in the Garden of Spain was also made into a feature film, and was distributed internationally under the name of Kawa. The feature film White Lies was based on his novella Medicine Woman and his novel Bulibasha, King of the Gypsies inspired the 2016 feature film Mahana. His first book, Pounamu, Pounamu, has not been out of print in the 40 years since publication. He is in conversation with Elizabeth Kirkby-McLeod about his writing life and memoir with his books Navigating the Stars, Maori Boy, Native Son and Sleeps Standing.

Witi will also be running an entertaining and instructive workshop on memoir. “The memoir has become the most popular form in New Zealand today,” he writes, “either as autobiographical essay or book. It’s also the most rewarding, not only personally but also as a record for family and whanau about who you and they are.”

The other four workshops during the month are script writing (Alex Lodge), writing children’s fiction (Melinda Szymank), speculative fiction (Gary Nelson) and poetry writing (Elizabeth Kirkby-McLeod). Each three-hour workshop is led by an experienced presenter and specialist in the genre and will provide attendees with valuable information and hands-on writing tasks. Workshops are $25 each and require registration (see www.hamiltonbookmonth.com or fill out workshop registration form).

Non-fiction writer and reviewer Karen McMillan also writes historical fiction for adults and fantasy action-adventures set on the South Pacific for children aged 6-12. Since April 2017, she has been Director of NZ Booklovers – an online hub that supports other authors with reviews, interviews, articles and promotions. She is paired in an event with Melinda Szymanik who writes picture books, short stories and novels for children and young adults. Melinda’s books have won many awards and she regularly does `writers in schools’ visits, teaches creative writing workshops and blogs on writing.

Hamilton’s Central Library in Garden Place are hosting What Are Readers Reading? and a Blokes’ Book Club to discuss and share books on August 9 and 11. Come along and talk about what you’ve enjoyed reading and get some ideas for new titles to add to your reading pile.

Melissa Guyon writes as Melissa Pearl, Jordan Ford and  Melody Sweet. She’s written 65 books covering a variety of genres from paranormal/fantasy adventures to romantic suspense and there will be more by August. Find out about her self-publishing success at this afternoon event on 15 August.

Bob Campbell, Michael Cooper, Yvonne Lorkin and Joelle Thomson will talk about wine writing and we’ll be tasting their recommendations for red and white wines under $35. Registration is required.

A literary salon at The Meteor sees Paula Morris, Lynda Chanwai-Earle and Alice Te Punga Somerville

explore the concept of home and alienation through a range of literary genres – poetry, novels, essays, plays and non-fiction. The salon will follow a performance of the play: Ka Shue- Letters Home by Lynda Chanwai-Earle, with a special ticket deal for coming to both events.

Waikato talent features at the Local Authors event when writers read from their work and talk about their books and how they got published. Each author gets five minutes to speak and then you have an opportunity to talk to them individually and buy their work. Come and support our local authors!

On National Poetry Day there’s an Open Mic event in The Long Room at Wintec. All are welcome to read a poem suitable for a general audience that is either original or written by a New Zealand poet. Poems needs to be reasonably short (no longer than an A4 page or one minute when read aloud) with one poem per person.

The Lit Pub Quiz run by Auteur House held at The Londoner always fills up fast so people are encouraged to get a team together and sign up now to avoid missing out.

Younger readers and those who like being read to will enjoy Rocket Storytime featuring Dawn McMillan at Chartwell Library and Storytelling in the Gallery at Waikato Museum.

Hamilton Book Month are keen to promote both local and other NZ authors and books will be on sale at nine events this year. We encourage people to buy and get their books signed by a range of authors.


Contact details:

Read more about Hamilton Book Month’s events at www.hamiltonbookmonth.com and “like” them on Facebook as Hamilton Book Month. Brochures and bookmarks with event information are available from bookshops and libraries. Further information available from hamiltonbookmonth@gmail.com




Fiction Panel
Catherine Chidgey, Deborah Challinor and Michalia Arathimas with chair Maebh Long.

Tues 3rd August, 6:30-8:00pm
Concert Chamber, Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts, Waikato University

Free event

Qiane Matata-Sipu & Simon Farrell-Green

These talks are part of the RAMP Festival.

Qiane: Wed 4th August, 11:00-12:00pm

Simon: Thur 5th August, 9:30-10:30am
Events Room 1, Gallagher Hub, Wintec, Anglesea St
Free events 

Ataria Sharman

This talk is part of the RAMP Festival.

Ataria will tell how as a self-made wāhine she stays creative and makes a living.

Fri 6th August, 9:30-10:30am

Events Room 1, Wintec, Anglesea St

Free event



Rocket Storytime

Storytime with Dawn McMillan.

Sat 7th August, 11:00-12:00pm
Chartwell Library, Lynden Court
Free event


Scriptwriting Workshop
Run by Alex Lodge.

Sat 7th August, 1:00 – 4:00pm

Trust Waikato, 4 Little London Lane
$25 pp, registration required


What Are Readers Reading?
Discuss what you’ve been reading with others; facilitated by Shannon Cooper.

Mon 9th August, 6:30 – 8:00pm
Level 1, Central Library, Garden Place
$5 Cash


Blokes’ Book Club

The genre for August is action/adventure.

Discussion facilitated by Mark Caunter.

Wed 11th August, 6:30-8:00pm
Central Library, Garden Place
Free event                                                                                          

Lit Pub Quiz

Test your literary knowledge with quizmasters

Richard + Janine Swainson. Up to six members per team.

Thurs 12th August, 6:00-9:00pm
The Londoner, 596 Victoria St
$10 pp, registration required


Wild Imagining

Children’s authors Karen McMillan and

Melinda Szymanik present and discuss.

Sat 14th August, 10:00- 11:30am

Central Library, Garden Place

Free event

Writing Children’s Fiction Workshop

Run by Melinda Szymanik.

Sat 14th August, 1:00- 4:00pm

Trust Waikato, 4 Little London Lane

$25 pp, registration required



Melissa Guyan

Melissa will share her self-publishing

journey and talk about characters.

Sun 15th August, 1:30-3:00pm

Trust Waikato, 4 Little London Lane

Free event

Wine Writers

Hear about wine writers and trends while tasting.

Facilitated by Joelle Thomson.

Wed 18th August, 6:30-8:30pm

The Hamilton Beer & Wine Co., 413 Anglesea St

$40 pp, registration required, R18


Literary Salon

Explore the concepts of home and alienation with Paula Morris & Lynda Chanwai-Earle and chair Alice Te Punga Somerville.

Thurs 19th August, 8:00-9:00pm

The Meteor Theatre, 1 Victoria Street

$15 pp


Speculative Fiction Workshop

Gary Nelson guides us through world &

character building in the SpecFic genre.

Sat 21st August, 9:30-12:30pm

Trust Waikato, 4 Little London Lane

$25 pp, registration required


Witi Ihimaera

Witi discusses his writing life and memoir with Elizabeth Kirkby-McLeod.

Mon 23rd August, 6:30-8:00pm

The Atrium, Wintec, Anglesea St

Free event

Memoir Writing Workshop

An entertaining and instructive

workshop by Witi Ihimaera.

Tue 24th August, 9:00-12:00pm

Trust Waikato, 4 Little London Lane

$25 pp, registration required

National Poetry Day Open Mic

Read a poem and share creativity.

Fri 27th August, 6.30-8:00pm

Long Room, Wintec House, Anglesea St

Free event



Poetry Writing Workshop

Learn to experiment with poetry with Elizabeth Kirkby-McLeod.

Sat 28th August, 9:30-12:30pm

Trust Waikato, 4 Little London Lane

$25 pp, registration required


Storytelling in the Gallery

A morning of storytelling and crafting for little fingers.

Sat 28th August, 10:30-12:00pm

Waikato Museum, 1 Grantham St

Free event


Local Authors

Local authors will talk about their books.

Sat 28th August, 2:00-4:00pm

Events Room 1, Wintec, Anglesea St

Free event


hamiltonbookmonth@gmail.com      facebook.com/hamiltonbookmonth

@hamiltonbookmonth        @HamBookMonth