women of letters

Friday 10 November


City Gallery


Tickets $45


women of letters


Six New Zealand women write letters on a theme and read them for the first time aloud in front of an audience.


This is the fourth edition of this Australian-grown salon that has taken the world by storm. It is an astonishing evening that will move you in every way. Featuring Gaylene Preston, Jess Holly Bates, Ashleigh Young, Makerita Urale, Georgina Beyer, and Rachel Stewart. All profits from this event will be donated to the Wellington Homeless Women’s Trust.


‘Women of Letters is the perfect alchemy of literary art-party and storytelling’ -- Amanda Palmer.





Gaylene Preston has been making feature films and documentaries with a distinctive New Zealand flavour and a strong social message, for over 30 years. In 2001 she was the first filmmaker to be made a Laureate by the Arts Foundation, recognising her contribution to New Zealand film and television.


Holly Bates

Jess Holly Bates is a theatre practitioner, writer and artist, who loves to communicate cultural criticism through performance. In 2014 her acclaimed solo theatre show Real Fake White Dirt, was published as a book of poetry by Anahera Press.



Georgina Beyer is a former New Zealand politician. She was the world's first openly transsexual mayor, as well as the world's first openly transsexual Member of Parliament. She is also among a very small number of former sex workers to hold political office. Georgina is a national treasure.



Rachel Stewart: New Zealand Herald Columnist, winner of the 2016 Canon Media Award for 'Opinion writer of the year', farmer, falconer, and fighter for freshwater and climate change action. “I never trust a thought I have indoors”.



Ashleigh Young won an incredible literary award from Yale University in 2017 in recognition of her acclaimed essay collection Can You Tolerate This?, which also won the prize for best book of non-fiction at the 2017 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. She lives in Wellington, and works as a literary editor and teaches creative writing. Ashleigh was born in Te Kūiti in 1983.



Playwright, producer and documentary director, Makerita Urale grew up in her father's village in Samoa.  She has written Pacific stories for children including Popo the Fairy for theatre and The Magic Seashell book. She has also directed documentaries on Samoan tattooing (Savage Symbols), gangs (Gang Girls), and Kiwi activists (Qantas award-winner Children of the Revolution).