International writers' collab at Whanganui Literary Festival

Published on September 07, 2023

Whanganui Literary Festival

Joint press release between Whanganui District Library, Whanganui District Council and Dear 26

Whanganui District Library and Whanganui Literary Festival are excited to announce a collaborative exhibition entitled The Art of the Letter by the literary project Dear 26. The exhibition opening event will start at 10am on Monday, 11 September at the Alexander Heritage Library te Rerenga Mai o Te Kāuru.

Dear 26 is an international project conceived by writers' group 26 ( In this creative initiative, 26 authors from around the world were randomly assigned a letter of the alphabet. They then crafted letter exchanges between two fictional characters, with names beginning with the assigned letter. Visitors to the exhibition will have the opportunity to read the unique letters, which have also been compiled into a book.

Twelve writers from Aotearoa New Zealand were involved in creating letters, including Sir Bob Harvey and Whanganui-based authors Catherine Macdonald and Jayne Workman, as well as 14 writers from the UK, USA, Eire, Northern Ireland, India, The Czech Republic, Switzerland and Australia.

“What would Quasimodo say to the Queen of Hearts, Eeyore to Ebenezer Scrooge, Sam Spade to Sherlock Holmes? These impossible conversations, a tribute to the lost art of letter writing, are moving, funny, poignant and thought-provoking”, says author Jayne Workman.

“There are characters from novels, plays and poems as well as different eras, representing fan favourites such as Olive Kitteridge, Hamlet and Zorro, and authors as diverse as Sally Rooney, Janet Frame, Stephen King, Jane Austen, Shakespeare and Murakami.”

Jayne Workman, Catherine Macdonald and Jane Berney, an Auckland author, will be present at the opening event, sharing insights and anecdotes on Dear 26, which was initiated during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The exhibition opening will run from 10am-12 noon on Monday, 11 September, with a guided tour, coffee, Q&A and book-signing. The exhibition will continue until Friday, 29 September, open daily from 10am-5pm.

For more information, please contact Kat Schroyens: or visit the Whanganui Literary Festival event page


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