Sometimes in a big city, it takes a while to get a feel for what’s what. Auckland is no exception to this but once you scratch the surface a bit, this is a city with real soul and loads of interesting people doing interesting things.

One of our greatest finds in Auckland was Carole and The Women’s Bookshop. They’ve won Penguins Independent Bookseller Award and it’s easy to see why. Focusing on promoting excellent fiction and books by female writers, this shop oozed charm. As well as being on the board of the Auckland Writers & Readers festival, Carole pens a quarterly magazine column that also features a Faves & Raves section dedicated to the best books released each season.

Carole Beu and Mary-Liz Corbett. co. Women's Bookstore website

Carole Beu and Mary-Liz Corbett. Photo credit: Women’s Bookstore

The Women’s Bookshop are also doing some really interesting things with eBooks and Carole claims that through a new deal with Kobo, independent booksellers in New Zealand now have online shopping catalogues much larger than Readings. However, to my eye, Readings/ offer their books at slightly lower prices.

Fifty-fifty women

Fifty-fifty women

Further down Ponsonby Road is the delightful Classics & Suchlike Books. A veritable rabbit warren of a 7 room house filled with secondhand books neatly organised into categories. I got a bit sucked in.

Classics and Suchlike Books

Classics and Suchlike Books

However, being the Easter Long-weekend, unfortunately many bookstores were closed. Having said that, see below for details of more excellent Auckland booksellers.

One our unexpected highlights came when we lured by the smell of good coffee from across the garden of a grand old house, just off the Grafton bridge. The house is home group of people that call themselves Hum Salon. They describe what they do as a “Social Enterprise” and aim to harness the skills and talents of the local community and business in order to promote a space for artists, musicians and writers to use.

Hum Salon at 123 Grafton Road, Auckland

Hum Salon at 123 Grafton Road, Auckland

Sharing a cup of English breakfast with Sarah, Michael and Sam of Hum, it became pretty clear how passionate and vital this collective is for Auckland arts. Currently in a state of renovation (there were fourteen layers of paint to strip back) it should be fully functioning in the next two to three months. Look out for a Writers Bloc collaboration coming soon. Email if you are interested in finding a space to write or in joining a group.

And all of this great stuff is going on in the lead up to the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival. Predominately held in the impressive Aotea building, with over 150 other fantastic writers from around NZ and the world will be arriving in town mid-May.

Auckland Writers & Readers Festival 2013

Auckland Writers & Readers Festival 2013

See you all again in May.


Auckland Highlights:

Auckland Writers & Readers Festival –

Hum Salon –

The Women’s Bookstore –

Classics & Suchlike Books –

Unity Books –

Jason Books –

Arcadia Bookstore –

Michael King Writing Centre –

The Creative Hub –

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