Featherston is now officially a "Booktown", joining several other small towns around the world in celebrating books.

The town has been accepted to the first level of membership by the International Organisation of Booktowns and organisers Creative Featherston are hoping to attract booklovers to its first Booktown festival on October 18-19.

Chairman Lincoln Gould said a booktown is defined as "a small rural town or village in which second-hand and antiquarian bookshops are concentrated.

"Most have developed in villages of historic interest or of scenic beauty."


He said they wanted to establish Featherston as a centre where people will visit to browse and buy books, engage with authors, bookbinders, restorers and other book-related craftspeople.

"The festival will be a centre point of our project, but we see permanent establishment of additional second-hand bookshops and artisan workshops as a development opportunity for the town," Mr Gould said.

South Wairarapa Mayor Adrienne Staples said the town had been looking for a flagship event to call its own for a long time. "The festival is a perfect fit for the town and council is committed to doing whatever we can to help make it a success."

Kate Mead, director of operations for Creative Featherston, said the town will become "book heaven".

She has been working closely with the Kokomai Creative Festival in which Featherston Booktown 2015 will feature as the major literary event.

"Featherston and books combined, are two of my favourite things," she said. "I can see the town full of booklovers, walking around in happiness, taking in the sights and sounds of book-related presentations, activities, readings, theatre, on the main street, in the library, the bookshop - For the Love of Books, and the Anzac Hall."

For more information, visit www.booktown.org.nz.