Thursday, November 30, 2023

Get Your Crawl On: Our Top Picks for Verb Wellington

Calling booklovers: it’s that time of year when Wellingtonians and out-of-towners converge for the world-class literary festival Verb Wellington (, 2-6 November). This year’s theme is ‘Radical Possibility’, and it’s very possible that there’s something for everyone. Take your pick from all the author and panel discussions, performance poetry, a literary pub quiz – and witness the return of both Michele A’Court’s open-mic Feminist Rage Night, and the Bad Diaries Salons where writers read generally-embarrassing excerpts from their younger selves’ diaries.

The core event is LitCrawl Wellington on Saturday 5 November. Choose from 25 events held in well-known and very-random venues across three timeslots: 6pm-6.45pm, 7.15-8pm, and 8.30-9.15pm. The idea is that you crawl (well, hopefully walk, notwithstanding pre-drinks) between venues. First in, first served; not ticketed; koha of $5 recommended. (The 40-plus sessions outside of LitCrawl, and the LitCrawl after-party, are ticketed; the children’s day events are free._

Here are some of our top picks, with bite-size bullet points for quick digestion.

‘Calm down! how we hate that term and why, in fact, we should.’ Writer Nicky Pellegrino speaks with Dr Sarb Johal, who has written the book Finding Calm, about why the phrase ‘calm down’ is so annoying and what we could do to help reduce anxiety.

Hot Topics:

*anxiety and mental health                                                                                    


*state of the world


*staying safe online

5 November, 7:15-8pm, Bicycle Junction.

‘Mothers and Metamorphosis: Noelle McCarthy’.

Broadcaster Noelle McCarthy’s memoir Grand: Becoming My Mother’s freewheels across the pubs and streets of Catholic Ireland, and the clubs of Auckland in the new millennium. It’s a portrait of a mother-daughter relationship, and a meditation on the demons we inherit.

Hot Topics:

*alcoholism and recovery

*mother-daughter relationships

*writing process

*the nature of memoir

*living life in the public eye

5 November, 4-5pm, Meow.

‘The Radical Possibility of Domestic Mess’.

Writing whenever her baby slept, Louise Wallace chopped out chunks of text from a pregnancy guide, turned them into poem fragments, and sent them to fellow mum Anna Perry, who responded with paintings of domestic scenes curiously absent of humans.

Hot Topics:

*domesticity as work

*invisible labour

*art collaborations and the idea of ‘women’s art’

*the language of ‘home’

*subverting the narratives of domestic life and work

6 November, 1-2pm, Bowen Galleries,

‘Menopause with Mimosas’.

Authors Nicky Pellegrino (To Italy With Love, Don’t Sweat It) and Niki Bezzant (This Changes Everything) – who’ve written about menopause – talk to Sarah Connor, the woman behind Menopause Over Martinis: a movement inviting friends, family and colleagues to talk about perimenopause and menopause.

Hot Topics:

*women’s health                                                                              

*awareness and symptoms of menopause

*fighting for equality in the workplace

*the medical system (needs improving)

*the power of ageing

6 November, 10-11am, Meow.

And catch ‘The Possibility of the Personal’ session with Sarah Jane Barnett, who talked to us after her oh-so-good memoir/feminist manifesto Notes on Womanhood.

6 November, 3-4pm, City Gallery

Poise, Power & Problems: I Wore Heels for a Week for the First Time in… FOREVER. Here’s What Happened

Kelly Bertrand, like so many of us, eschewed heels following the pandemic after abandoning the corporate office life. But is she missing something? She...

The Motherhood Diaries: What It’s Like To Be A Midwife Going Through IVF ‘You Have To Give Yourself A Lot Of Grace’

If you've ever gone through a fertility journey, you'll know first-hand that dealing with other people's pregnancies can be a minefield. But what happens...

‘We Struggle So Much To Even Have A Career After Kids’: Why ‘Picking Up The Mum Slack’ Is A Feminist Issue

In part one of our 'the mum slack' story, we looked at the expectation being placed on child-free women to take over the time...

‘I’m Sick Of Picking Up ‘The Mum Slack”: Why Childfree Women Are Tired Of Covering For Mothers At Work

Many child-free women are silently sick of picking up 'the mum slack' because the mothers they work with arrive late or leave early to...