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With the borders closed, the two-yearly literary festival was limited to New Zealand-based writers, but Hannah Molloy said her bedside stack of New Zealand books grew to be taller than her while she prepared for this year’s festival.
She learnt New Zealand writers shared a "tone", but there was as much diversity among the country’s writers as there was among its people.
"There’s no lack of talent — we’ve got so much talent," she said.
"For my first time, curating my first literary festival, it’s almost overwhelming."
In a programme that includes local writers Vincent O’Sullivan and Liz Breslin and national identities Witi Ihimaera and Nalini Singh, all 55 guests to this year’s 35-event festival are based in New Zealand.
There is a range of writers, with children’s books, romance, non-fiction and poetry, all featured.
The festival, which opens on May 6, is spread across five venues.