Lani Wendt Young delivers a challenge to publishers the world over for diverse representation

The New Zealand Book Council Lecture: 2019
This year’s New Zealand Book Council Lecture, Stories from the Wild: Reading and Writing in the Digital Age, was delivered by Lani Wendt Young in Wellington last night.

A free e-book of the lecture is now available for download. Young discussed the importance of representation in literature, the possible futures of storytelling and how technology is revolutionising the reading experience. More than 150 people attended the event at Wellington High School, where Young spoke openly about her own journey as both a reader and author. Young is the current Pacific Laureate and the author of eleven books. TELESĀ, her Young Adult series, is wildly popular, having been described as the ‘Pacific Twilight’. 

Book Council CEO Jo Cribb says the organisation was thrilled to have Young deliver the lecture, which has always been an opportunity for a leading writer to discuss an aspect of literature close to their heart. “Lani’s message was insightful and challenging, and the feeling at the end of theevening was overwhelmingly positive. We feel privileged to have hosted such a compelling speaker.”

Wellington High School played host to the event, and a Pasifika group from St Mary’s College performed a dance to welcome Young to the stage. The involvement of local schools was an important aspect of the event, saysCribb. Young is a strong advocate for youth and was excited to present a full set of her TELESĀ series to the St Mary’s students for their school library. She also made herself available for book sales and signings post-lecture.

Minister for Social Development and Disability Issues and Associate Minister for both Pacific Peoples and Arts, Culture and Heritage, Carmel Sepuloni gave a warm address to the crowd, asserting the importance of representation in literature, and celebrating the role that storytelling plays in our communities.

An unabridged text version of the lecture is available for download from the Book Council’s website, in PDF, Mobi and Epub formats, and an audioversion will be available soon. The lecture text is prefaced by Peter Biggs, Chair of the Book Council. Download the ebook here.
Lani Wendt Young

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