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About Between the Lines

Our Story

Take a break from your daily routine and come and experience something totally different. Between the Lines is so much more than just an ordinary festival. 

Organised by a small team of book-loving volunteers, Between the Lines brings together an eclectic mix of New Zealand authors speaking at small and unique venues across Central Hawke’s Bay. 

Spread over four days, the festival kicks off with a young writers program, offering primary school students the opportunity to work with with the current Te Awhi Rito New Zealand Reading Ambassador and ignite their enthusiasm for the written word.  Following a series of entertaining speaker sessions, the festival closes with a free festival finale which celebrates our local authors. 

In February 2024, we were delighted to announce that much-loved local author Charity Norman had agreed to be Patron of the festival.  “I was lucky enough to become involved with this unique festival in its very first year”, says Charity. “I had two sessions in the beautiful ballroom at Ashcott Homestead, brilliantly chaired by Morrin Rout. It was a magical experience: a sparkling midwinter, and the very first writers’ festival on the planet, after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. The winter sun glittered and enthusiastic audiences packed out all the events”.

In its first year, Between The Lines was crowned New Zealand’s Best Literary Festival in the Reading Room Literary Awards, and it has only grown stronger since then. So what makes this festival so vibrant? “I think it’s down to the creativity and incredible energy of the committee, the beauty of our landscape and buildings, the warmth of our community, the relaxed intimacy and fun of events”, says Charity. 

2004 will be our fifth year and we believe it will be our best year yet!

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