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Bunch of storytellers coming to town for a yarn

David Hedley says this year’s Yarns in Barns will feature the “most interesting group of authors yet”. PHOTO/FILE

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Kiwi authors will be dropping in to Wairarapa for a literary festival to celebrate the art of storytelling.

Yarns in Barns is back this year, and it brings a wide range of storytellers to the region.

The biennial event is run, in part, by David Hedley of Hedley’s Booksellers.

He said books were in his blood.

The reason for the festival was to recognise their special power in sharing stories.

“Everybody’s got a story, don’t they?

“The story of their life, a story to tell, and it’s great over 10 days to get a whole lot of different sorts of people together to tell their stories.”

This year’s festival serves up debates, plays, and several speaking sessions with Kiwi authors and other written-word enthusiasts.

Mr Hedley said the range of talent coming to Wairarapa was some of the best so far.

“I think it’s the most interesting group of authors that we’ve had.”

Most events related to books in some way, be it by author theme or topic of debate.

Mr Hedley noted a swing back to the printed version over e-books in recent years.

“It’s nice to know that the experience of enjoying the stories of somebody through the printed book is alive and well, so we want to highlight that through the festival.”

True to its name, there will be yarns in a barn.

Farming icon Mark Warren will lead the way with stories from his book, “Many a Muddy Morning.”

The barn floor will then be open for punters to spin their best local rural yarn at Strang Woolshed, Gladstone, on June 2 with prizes for the winner.

Carterton Courthouse will be turned into a battleground, with members of the media set to trade blows over the role of journalism today.

Expect the phrases “fake news” and “alternative facts” to be thrown across the room on June 3.

Award-winning journalist Diana Wichtel will share her journey discovering what happened to her father.

She moved here from Vancouver when she was 13, her father was to follow, but vanished somewhere along the way.

She will be in Masterton to talk about her investigation into her father’s fate at Hedley’s Bookshop, on June 4.

Again at Hedley’s, a performance taking a look at the way pornography is changing the way young people perceive intimacy will give viewers plenty to think about.

‘Two nights: A Play’, by author and playwright Bernard Beckett, is a 45-minute performance followed by public discussion on June 7.

Rounding out the festival on June 10 will be ‘Poems on the Vine – Beyond Jerusalem’, where Kiwi poets Bill Manhire and Glenn Colquhoun will read selections of their work.

Mr Hedley said it was the perfect way to close the festival.

“I love listening to authors read from their books and tell their stories – if you hear a poet read their poems, they just come alive.”

Yarns in Barns kicks off June 1 and runs until June 10. You can find a full list of events, prices and information at hedleysbooks.co.nz — under the ‘events’ tab.

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