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CHB Book Festival Announces Local Author as Patron

Updated: Feb 27

Much-loved local author Charity Norman has been named as the Patron of Central Hawke’s Bay's readers and writers festival, Between The Lines. 

"It's a true honour to be Patron of this enchanting, intimate, yet world-class festival," says Charity, who has been involved since its inception in 2020. “To say that Between the Lines punches above its weight is an understatement.”

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

This year’s festival will take place from 11 to 14 April, and the lineup will be announced at the beginning of March. Rumour has it that crime, poetry and food will all feature.  Sponsorship for this year’s event comes from The Creative Communities Scheme, The Community Pride and Vibrancy Fund and Paper Plus Waipukurau.

Spread over four days, the festival kicks off with a young writers program, offering primary school students the opportunity to work 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. 

“I was lucky enough to become involved in our inaugural year”, says Charity, “with two sessions in the beautiful ballroom at Ashcott Homestead. It was a magical four days: 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”.

Since then, Between the Lines has gone from strength to strength. For four years, an extraordinary array of guests have travelled to Central Hawke’s Bay, to engage with readers and discuss their work in ballrooms and sitting rooms, halls and cafes, museums and the wharenui at Te Aute College. With something for everyone, each event is unique. “I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with Rose Carlyle as we sat in armchairs by the fire in St Hilda’s Otane, and with Nicky Pellegrino over a long Italian lunch in the Takapau Town Hall”, says Charity.

The Between the Lines team are delighted that Charity has agreed to become their Patron. “Throughout our four festivals to date, Charity has given her support, ideas and inspiration that have made our festivals so popular”, says committee member Anna Locker-Lampson. “Charity’s  verve, knowledge, and enthusiasm, along with her breadth of knowledge about authors and writing, will ensure that future festivals will continue to excite, inform, provoke and entertain our audiences”.

In its first year, the festival 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. 

Ex-barrister Charity Norman was born in Uganda, raised and worked in the UK, and nowadays calls Central Hawke’s Bay home. Her seven novels include BBC Radio 2, Richard and Judy and World Book Night titles, Ngaio Marsh and Ned Kelly Awards finalists, and have been translated into various languages. Her latest, Remember Me, won Best Novel in the 2023 Ngaio Marsh Awards. Her eighth, Home Truths, is scheduled for release later this year.

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