Alexander McCall Smith
British author Alexander McCall Smith will headline the
revived Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival in May.
McCall Smith will be one of at least three international
authors in Dunedin for the festival, which will bring
visitors into Dunedin and boost the city's economy,
Committee chairwoman Alexandra Bligh said the festival was
timed to be a prelude to the Auckland Writers and Readers
Festival, so international authors could attend both.
Through a partnership with Auckland festival organisers, the
Dunedin committee was able to lure the likes of McCall Smith
and others, Ms Bligh said.
McCall Smith, an emeritus professor of medical law at the
University of Edinburgh, wrote The No 1 Ladies' Detective
Agency series, as well as dozens of other works of
fiction, children's books and academic literature.
Ms Bligh said it was an honour to host McCall Smith and other
high-profile authors, whose identities would be revealed in
''To have such an impressive author as an international guest
for our first festival is an incredible honour and a real
coup for the city and the many organisations and businesses
that have supported us,'' she said.
Sponsors of the festival included Creative New Zealand,
Dunedin City Council, Otago Community Trust, Otago University
Press and University Book Shop.
Writers from throughout New Zealand and Otago would also be
involved in the festival's panel discussions, workshops,
readings and book signings from May 8 to 11.
Ms Bligh said she already knew of people travelling to
Dunedin from Australia and the North Island for the festival.
''I think there will be a real demand for the variety of
things we have programmed,'' she said.
''I'm tremendously excited, and I'm convinced festival-goers
will be inspired, captivated and stimulated.''
The festival was developed almost 10 years after Dunedin
writer's festival Wordstruck! ended. Ms Bligh said it was
intertwined with Otago's annual arts festival until about