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Sarah Gaitanos on Shirley Smith: An Examined Life

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Featherston Booktown is back!

Having been forced to postpone the Featherston Booktown Karukatea 2020 Festival in May, Featherston Booktown is returning with a roar, with a series of drawcard literary events dubbed Words in Winter from June through to August in Featherston.

The opening event will be “Aotearoa New Zealand, We Need to Talk” featuring three award-winning and provocative writers held over the weekend of 27- 28 June, 2020.

We will start the kōrero with Sarah Gaitanos in conversation with Linda Clark, exploring her recently released biography of "Shirley Smith: An Examined Life" (which was a finalist at the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards this year) at 2:00 pm in the Kiwi Hall on Saturday 27 June.

Sarah Gaitanos' book tells the story of Shirley Smith - a remarkably warm and generous woman, one with a rare gift for frankness, an implacable sense of principle, and a personality of complexity and formidable energy. Her life was shaped by some of the most turbulent currents of the 20th century, and she in turn helped shape her country for the better.

According to the publisher, Victoria University Press, Shirley Smith was one of the most remarkable New Zealanders of the 20th century, a woman whose lifelong commitment to social justice, legal reform, gender equality, and community service left a profound legacy.

Shirley was a pioneering lawyer, a civil rights advocate, a champion of human rights and liberties, who wanted to make a difference, She was also married to Bill Sutch, one of New Zealand's most prominent public servants who in 1974 was arrested and charged with espionage.

Featherston Booktown is very grateful to the South Wairarapa District Council and the Featherston Lionesses for their sponsorship support of these events.

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