This year's Escape! festival is offering a workshop series ranging from identifying bush tucker to cartooning.

"Workshops are a real value-added component to Escape!," festival director Jo Bond says.

"We love being able to give people the opportunity to learn from the best."

Dynamic young Kiwi chef Monique Fiso talks to Allyson Gofton on Saturday, June 2 about how she's raising native ingredients and Maori cooking techniques to fine-dining standards and later that day leads a food identification bush walk.


Award-winning Dunedin novelist and non-fiction writer Laurence Fearnley will explore how the five senses can add richness and detail to written work in Beyond the Visual on Saturday, June 2. Laurence, who won the NZ Society of Authors' 2016 Janet Frame Memorial Award, will also talk about the power of scent in relation to the landscape with Harold Jones, co-founder of Queenstown Natural Perfumiers, on Sunday, June 4 at 10am.

On Saturday, June 2 Tom Scott will talk to Guyon Espiner about his recent autobiography, Drawn Out, and a career in Parliament's press gallery that has spanned Norman Kirk to Jacinda Ardern. New Zealand Cartoonist of the Year six times, Tom will share his more than 40 years' experience in a cartooning workshop on Sunday, June 3.

Michele A'Court chairs the Stroppy Women discussion on Saturday, June 2, and talks about her new book How we Met the next day, before taking a day-long workshop on comedy theory, writing and performance on Monday, June 4.

Voted NZ Comedy Guild Comedian of the Decade (Female) in 2010, which she reckons is a pretty funny title to win, A'Court regularly appears in print and performs at international comedy festivals, on television and radio.