This is incredibly late. But I think we all know why, the Sunday night of the LitCrawl weekend Wellington was shaken by an ever escalating earthquake, and fear, anxiety, and danger became a real and living reality for most people. Steve Braunias captures this overshadowing effect of the earthquake incredibly well in his piece for The Spinoff.
On Friday night, we went to the show ‘My First Time’ which saw a series of plays by authors directed and staged by actors and directors. These performances were rough and raw and visceral, they made the audience laugh as the actors carried the scripts in their hands. The location – the Double Denim Headquarters made the backdrop for each play a hot pink velvet curtain. It was great and unlike other LitCrawl events I had been to.
The next day, I spent the afternoon at the LitCrawl Lounge which served as a pop-up shop and home-base for volunteers and attendees. The LitCrawl team had set up 17 Tory street perfectly, and it was comfortable and warm and a happy respite from the persistent rain and wind outside. Baz from Vic Books was hosting a Storytime, and then a Book-Club down at 17 Tory street. I sipped a cup of coffee from Coffee Supreme and listened to Baz read the kids books, and felt incredibly comfortable among the Pop-Up Shop. It sort of felt like where books were, your comfort went.
Then we were ready for the evening – Luke coordinated the booksellers, giving us a cash box and instructions, and then it was our delight to attend each event, display the books by those writers who spoke, and sell to any new or old fans.
I started at Bats Theater, where a panel of BWB text authors discussed how their books come about and the value of each book. There were scientists, academics, and a novelist. Bridget herself sat front row, relishing these books come to life. The speakers were lit under the spotlight, and grilled with questions like favourite quote and favourite album. It was a great event.
From there I dashed across the town, with the help of one of the LitCrawl Volunteers, to Wellington Apothecary, for the event Poetry=Medicine. Here a range of poets who doubled as medical practitioners in various ways spoke to the bridge between poetry and healing. Particular standouts were Rae Varcoe, and Sue Wootton, whose poetry sliced to the heart as if using a scalpel.
From there, I went up the road to Enjoy Gallery for readings from authors in the latest issue of Sweet Mammalian. This year they had physical copies for sale too, with a cover by Georgette Brown, and printed on purple pages. This event was fun and full of laughter and feelings and it felt like being among friends.
After that, the panic of getting from place to place had dissipated, and all that was left to do was to the After-party. Swarms of attendees arrived at the Paramount theater, to trade stories and criticisms, and generally debrief after the crawl.
As I was checking my name off the list to get into the party, ahead of me was Hera Lindsay Bird whose name couldn’t be found, and the person on the door was utterly thrown by her name, and showed no recognition. I had passed a boy who had started to approach, and I quickly noticed he had a copy of Hera Lindsay Birds’ book splayed open in his hand. When I later walked to the bathroom, she was sat on the steps signing his book and talking to him about how much sex there is in the book. I sort of felt like it was a telling scene, that in this room was a wonderful mixture of writers and fans and friends.
The following evening, we were at the People of Letters event. Which was an incredibly heart warming event full of love and friendship. The letters that were read in that room were written under the premise that they would never leave the room again, without their permission. These letters that captured years of love and years of friendship were left to disappear as soon as they were said aloud. I held back tears as people shared candid moments, and was steadied with hope in the face of Trumps election.
That night, I lay in bed and felt a fizzing in my mind. I was lit up by everything I had heard and seen at LitCrawl. This fizzing only grew as the earth started quaking underneath us.
Thanks to Claire and Andy for another amazing event. So many people look forward to this event; it takes us around our town, to shops and bars we love, to see them at night, and hear from writers about things we may not have known we would hear about. It was an honour to be part of the third year, to watch it grow, and we’re already excited about what you’ve got in store for us next year.
Thanks for reading!