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Booktown is ‘blooming’ rapt

Featherston Booktown is one of six Wairarapa businesses recently selected as finalists in the 25th Wellington Gold Awards.

Cited for “inspiring people to read more, write more, and debate ideas”, Featherston Booktown is competing in the ‘Vibrant Gold Category’ for events and hospitality, which operations manager Mary Biggs described as “blooming fabulous”.

The organisation was encouraged by Destination Wairarapa to enter the awards this year due to the increasingly successful festivals they’ve held since the covid-19 lockdowns.

“Featherston Booktown loves to have an opportunity to celebrate our amazing town and our awesome community in Featherston Paetūmōkai, so hearing the news that we are Wellington Gold Awards finalists this year in the Vibrant Gold category for events and hospitality is brilliant. It’s uplifting,” Biggs told the Times-Age.

And there’s no slowing down for Featherston Booktown, with plans to launch a Booklover’s Trail and audio app next month that people visiting Wairarapa can download and listen to as they drive through the region.

“They’ll hear stories from booksellers, mana whenua, historians, and writers explaining why they’ve made Wairarapa home,” Biggs said.

But wait, there’s more: “This year and next year are going to be booming ones for us as we’re hosting the International Organisation of Book Towns global conference in March
[14-18] and delivering our ninth Karukatea Festival in May [8 -2].

“And then I think we will have a lie-down,” Biggs laughed.

“Featherston Booktown is a nationally and internationally acclaimed example of how a deprived community can be re-energised through culture. We’re a literary development organisation seeking to grow thriving communities by inspiring people to read more, write more and debate ideas.

“Featherston Booktown has encouraged the development of not just Featherston, but the whole Wairarapa valley as a cultural destination for book lovers – a new category of tourist.”

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