Dionne Christian finds there's no need to be lost for words in the capital.

On a sunny Saturday morning, the Wellington waterfront has to rate as one of the best urban walks in the country.

There are harbour views, art galleries and Te Papa to visit, cafes and food trucks to eat from and the excellent, completely covered Underground Market where work by local artists is sold.

For kids, a visit to Frank Kitts Park — with its lighthouse-shaped slide — is always fun and you can play "find the poetry" on the Wellington Waterfront Writers Walk.


It's a literary walk that's on the minds of Wellingtonians — and visitors to the capital — next month when the annual LitCrawl turns five. Claire Mabey and Andrew Laking started LitCrawl as a one-night-only event where writers, illustrators and readers could get together in cafes, bars, bookstores and even clothing shops.

It's grown into a four-day literary festival, which includes "extended series" talks and workshops, family events and the Saturday night LitCrawl itself, which encompasses some 25 talks and discussions, divided into three different phases of the night, ending with a ticketed after-party. This year's big names include Irish poet and film-maker Doireann Ni Ghriofa and Zoya Patel, whose book No Country Woman: A memoir of not belonging has made international headlines with its essays on race, feminism, religion, family and identity.

Perhaps Mabey shouldn't be surprised at LitCrawl's growth, given 15 venues signed up to the first one and 1200 punters attended. Clearly, we've got a love for words.

"Every venue was full and there was immediately this incredible energy ... Maybe it was because it was really sunny so people were out and about anyway but there seemed to be a different demographic in a lot of places — a lot of younger people, students, travellers, people who would not necessarily go to a writers' festival but found themselves at a certain venue and stayed to listen."

Mabey, a literary programmer and producer with a background in publishing and art festivals, got the idea from her own travels. She saw LitCrawls in Dublin and San Francisco and thought easily walkable Wellington would be ideal for a similar event.

"The momentum was so good after that first year that we decided we had to do it again.

"There's a huge public appetite for these types of events, especially when they're presented in a way that's exciting and a bit different."




LitCrawl Wellington

runs from Thursday, November 8 to Sunday, November 11.