Most people flock to Raglan for summer sun and surf but here’s an insider-secret: Raglan is just as lovely in the middle of winter. If you’re joining us for Word Cafe from out-of-town, here’s a handy itinerary to make weekend planning a breeze.
Where to stay
Lots and lots of options. For five-star luxury, book a self-contained apartment at Waoku Lodge. Enjoy big ocean views, private spa pools and in-apartment dining. Closer to town, Ocean View Bed and Breakfast offers affordable rates, while Raglan Kopua Holiday Park has a variety of accommodation from tent sites to cottages and executive suites.
Friday night antics
We hope you’ll be joining us for our opening ceremony and live storytelling night (we’re serving mulled wine and nibbles!) but you’ll want dinner first. Orca Restaurant and Bar offers tasty dining options with harbour views. Our evening entertainment kicks off at 7pm at the Raglan Town Hall.
Fuel up with a hearty breakfast before making your way to the Town Hall. Rock-it on Wainui Road is a fantastic choice and they’re offering 10% off food from their breakfast, lunch or dinner menu for Word Cafe festival-goers. Mandy Hager kicks off our programme at 9.30am. She’s a dynamic speaker with a diverse writing background – definitely one to see.
We break for coffee at 10.30am. Raglan Roast on Volcom Lane is only a short walk away or head to Orca – they’re offering a special coffee and cookie deal for Word Cafe ticket holders. After coffee, we’re talking wildlife photography with Trevor Penfold.
Scott Bainbridge will be revealing some of his true crime escapades after lunch – he’s New Zealand’s foremost missing person’s expert and his books inspired the acclaimed TVNZ series, The Missing.
Of course, storytelling isn’t just about words. At 1.45pm we’re welcoming book illustrators Paul Martin, Kat Merewether and Deborah Hinde, who’ll be talking about their fascinating careers and answering your questions.
This year’s programme is a busy one! If you need a little break, take a wander to the water or browse Raglan’s shops. Must-see spots for bookworms include In My Good Books for second-hand books, Raglan Book and Gift Centre and Atamira, which also offers a beautiful selection of clothing and jewellery. Check your festival programme for great deals at many of these locations!
Back to the programme
Hugely-popular children’s author Dawn McMillan will be speaking after our afternoon tea break. If you harbour dreams of writing for children, make sure you come along to her session – she’s one of only a few New Zealand writers to make a consistent living from her craft, so she knows what she’s talking about! She’s followed by local author Sarah Johnson, who’ll be launching her latest children’s book The Bold Ship Phenomenal along with free wine!
Keynote speaker: James George
We’re thrilled to welcome James George as our keynote speaker at 5.15pm. James is an award-winning author, creative writing teacher and the current chairperson of the Writers Committee of Toi Maori Aotearoa – Maori Arts New Zealand – expect eye-opening ideas and tantalising tales.
Saturday night antics
Spoken Word Open Mike Night takes place at The Shack. This is your chance to share your writing with a whole new audience! It’s not the biggest venue, so if this is a must-do event for you, make sure you arrive early. The cafe is open from 7pm and $15 curries and $10 soups will be available, as well as a full bar.
We’re back in the Town Hall from 9.30am for a full morning of speakers and panels. Editor of Arrival magazine Latesha Randall will be letting you in on a few travel writing secrets, while our Self-Publishing vs. Publishing Panel is your opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the many different publishing routes available to writers today from our panel of experts.
Meanwhile, children’s authors Sarah Johnson, Dawn McMillan and Margery Fern will be hosting a free children’s storytelling session at Raglan Library from 11am. We’ve heard they’ll be free cake!
Before you head home, take a drive out to the beach or visit Kaahu’s Nest on Te Hutewai Road. This is Raglan’s hugely-popular recycling centre and they have a great selection of books (amongst other treasures).