Yarns in Barns, Wairarapa's Festival of Reading, has started with a hiss and a roar this year with people turning out in record numbers for the first events on the 10-day calendar.

Festival director David Hedley said the festival kicked off in grand style on Friday with the Trust House debate where the affirmative "conquered the city slickers" arguing that "rural life whips city life any time".

Big audiences then came to listen to top Kiwi authors Steve Braunias and Nicky Pellegrino discuss their writing lives and their latest books.

Mr Hedley is confident the festival will attract good crowds this week and over Queen's Birthday Weekend. There are many events planned, including the quintessential Yarn in the Barn on Saturday afternoon in Gladstone. It will see guests Colin Hogg and Joe Bennett share road trip yarns alongside MC Gareth Winter.


"This event has been held in a barn -- well, technically it's a woolshed -- in rural Gladstone since 2003 and is always a crowd favourite," Mr Hedley said.

Colin Hogg will recount his favourite road trips from his book Going South: A Road Trip through Life and the high octane Joe Bennett will be the entertaining double bill.

"Pre-bookings are high, but there will be room for everyone with plenty of pens to be filled," Mr Hedley said.

On Saturday night Art Green and Matilda Rice host an evening at Masterton Town Hall discussing paleo diets and fitness.

The event will double as a fundraiser for the Bring it to Colombo netball trust.

"For those in wind-down mode, what better way to spend an afternoon than sipping a glass of Wairarapa Pinot Noir and listening to poets read to you in front of a fire.

"Well, that's how people can spend Sunday at Poems on the Vine at Gladstone Vineyard, when poets Ya-Wen Ho, Lynley Edmeades and Ross Ireland will read their own work," Mr Hedley said.

"Wairarapa will be abuzz this weekend -- and the worse the weather, the better it will be for staying indoors enjoying the world of reading," he said.