Winter Wonderfest kicks off this weekend with events featuring a visiting author and a visiting artist.

Auckland-based new author Katherine Dewar will be visiting Whanganui this weekend for the New Zealand launch of her debut novel, Ruby and the Blue Sky.

The launch, one of the first events in the Winter Wonderfest, will be held at 1pm on August 13 at the Gonville Café Library. It will take the form of a Q&A discussion between the author and popular local writer Nicola Patrick, with audience questions encouraged. It will be followed by a book signing.

"A key idea in Ruby and the Blue Sky, a political thriller, is how we can act together, in our communities, to create change," said Ms Dewar.


"In the novel, leadership and new ideas can come from anywhere, not just the biggest cities, so it made sense to get out of Auckland for the New Zealand launch. The Winter Wonderfest celebrates women and creativity and, with Ruby and the Blue Sky built on creative female characters, it's a perfect environment."

Ms Dewar has a BA (Hons) in Political Studies from the University of Leeds, and emigrated to New Zealand in 1996. She runs ethical marketing company GoodSense and studied creative writing with Dame Fiona Kidman. This is her first published novel.

Ruby and the Blue Sky is on sale worldwide in paperback and eBook.

On August 14, 1pm at the Women's Network Whanganui in St Hill St, artist Caroline McQuarrie will talk about her No Town exhibition.

'No Town' toured the West Coast in 2015. Exploring sites on the West Coast of the South Island that used to be towns but are now no longer or only sparsely inhabited, 'No Town' utilises photography and embroidery to show the sites as they now are, and explore the communities that have been lost.

Incorporating eight areas, which include thirteen towns, three exhibitions were held in Hokitika, Reefton and Greymouth to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the gold rush that kick started European habitation of the West Coast.