2018 Harcourts Hawke's Bay Arts Festival

Readers and Writers


Jessica Soutar Barron

Jess Soutar Barron is a community enabler with a number of hyperlocal initiatives under her belt including project managing talk fests and craft markets, writing for magazines and websites, producing arts projects, facilitating events and setting up pop-up shops. She holds of Master of Arts degree, is a wordsmith by trade and works alongside her husband running a neighbourhood bar in The 'Stings. She sits on the boards of the National Youth Drama School and Taikura Rudolf Steiner School. Jess is a wannabe children's writer and has enjoyed fledgling success with the publication of her story Pot Belly Brown Queen of the Muttonbusters.

Elizabeth Smither
Elizabeth Smither has published 18 collections of poetry, was Te Mata poet laureate (2001-3) and was awarded an HonDLitt by Auckland University and the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement in 2008. She also writes novels, journals and short stories, and is widely published in Australia, Britain and USA. She was awarded the Sarah Broom Poetry prize in 2016 and her most recent poetry collection, Night Horse, won the Ockham Poetry Award for 2018.

Tryphena Cracknell 

Tryphena o Rongomai Cracknell belongs to the Rongomaiwahine iwi based on Māhia Peninsula. She has worked in the arts and culture sector for two decades as a curator, writer, historian, as well as trying her hand at many other aspects of museum and gallery work. She recently completed a five year tenure on the Museums Aotearoa Board and has played an active role in redeveloping Kāhui Kaitiaki, a network of Māori staff working in museums and art galleries. 

Tryphena was born and bred in Hawke's Bay and after some time in Wellington studying at Victoria University and working at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, returned to the Bay to start a family and enjoy everything that this wonderful region has to offer.

Anna Mackenzie

Anna Mackenzie writes award-winning contemporary, historic and speculative fiction, edits magazines, teaches creative writing and mentors aspiring writers. She is published by Penguin Random House. Her nine titles have won an NZ Honour Award, Sir Julius Vogel Award, White Raven (Germany) and seven Notable Book Awards. She is Vice-President of NZSA and lives in Hawke’s Bay.

Marty Smith

Marty Smith's Horse with Hat (VUP, 2014), was a finalist in the poetry category of the 2014 New Zealand Post Book Awards, and won the Jesse Mackay Award for Best First Book of Poetry. With the help of an arts grant from Creative New Zealand, she is writing a non-fiction book about the working lives of people on the Hastings racecourse.