CEO Grant Rosewarne & GM Marketing Jemma McCowan enjoy their books in the Marlborough Sounds

New Zealand King Salmon is proud to sponsor the annual Marlborough Book Festival, which will be held from 6-8 July this year.

The festival, held in venues in and around Blenheim as well as Picton, has become a solid fixture on Marlborough’s events calendar since it began five years ago, and NZKS has backed it from the start.

NZKS General Manager Marketing Jemma McCowan says she was impressed with the festival committee’s bravery in setting up a brand new cultural festival in Marlborough in the middle of winter.

“It really shows guts to do something new and do it well in a relatively small region, and build success year on year.

“The sponsorship is not in our traditional bailiwick of environment and schools but we felt that encouraging reading and appreciation of books in our region, as well as bringing top quality talent into the region, could only support positive outcomes for our community, and we want to be part of that.”

GM Marketing Jemma McCowan enjoys a book with the Marlborough vineyards in autumn as a backdrop

This year’s lineup of authors forms an eclectic mix, with something for everyone. They are New Zealand Poet Laureate Selina Tusitala Marsh who is joined by Tusiata Avia, Vincent O’Sullivan, Jenny Pattrick, Glenn Colquhoun, Nicola Galloway, Diana Wichtel, Tom Scott, Harry Broad, Tina Makereti, Atholl Anderson and Alan Carter.

Marlborough Book Festival committee member Kat Pickford says visiting authors are “wined and dined” with local produce, including King Salmon, which is also served at a number of sessions. That, along with luxury vineyard accommodation also provided by festival sponsors, has given the festival a reputation of being a very special experience for visiting authors, she says.

Every first session of the festival is a Marlborough Sounds cruise on the MV Odyssea, which this year will feature author Tina Makereti. Cruise guests are treated to freshly prepared King Salmon onboard.

Kat says NZKS’s sponsorship is a valued part of the festival and has added to the uniquely Marlborough atmosphere that is such a big part of its success.

“When we asked for feedback from our audience, one of the main things they said was that they loved how intimate and small we are. So for us, it’s a balancing act of trying to achieve growth, innovation and excitement while staying true to the boutique side that makes the book festival so special to people.

“The depth of support from our event partners, including NZKS and local wineries, are a big part of that. Where else could you expect to be served fresh Marlborough salmon alongside local wine while you listen to a fascinating top New Zealand author speak?”

Jemma, herself a book worm since she could read, has attended the festival in previous years and will go again this year once she’s chosen which authors to see.

Stand-out sessions from previous years for Jemma included interactive drawing classes with cartoonist, graphic designer and storyteller Sarah Laing and listening to Dame Fiona Kidman talk about her novel The Infinite Air, based on renowned aviator Jean Batten.

For Marlborough Book Festival tickets or more information go to: