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The Great Write Inn @ The Castle

Event description

The Great Write Inn is an all-day, inspirational workshop for writers. 

Bookending the Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival, The Great Write Inn is returning to Dunedin for another inspiring literary workshop. 

The workshop begins with a Tour of the picturesque Larnach Castle and Gardens, New Zealand's only castle.

We'll teach and inspire you to write a short story using the writer’s matrix: 

(1) Create a character, (or two);

(2) Choose a room;

(3) Involve an object......

(4) Blend elements from your favourite genre and write a (short) story!

Taught by some of New Zealand’s most talented creative writing tutors and authors, the Great Write Inn is perfect for beginner writers or experienced authors needing fresh inspiration, motivation and upskilling. 

The workshop is open to all genders, genres, ages and stages.

Ignite your story telling passion and bring your story to life!

Keep scrolling to learn more about the workshop programme, tutors and Dunedin, or view the video from a similar Great Write Inn at Olveston Historic Home.

Morning Programme

  • 9:15    Welcome
  • 9:30    Tour of Larnach Castle
  • 10:45   Morning Tea 
  • 11:30   Create a Character writing exercise with Julia Anne
  • 12:00   Choose a Room writing exercise - location, location, why it's always the location. 

Our morning programme includes a guided tour of Larnach Castle, where you’ll explore New Zealand’s only castle and be inspired by its rooms and objects. 

Then we will break for morning tea in the Ballroom where you can mix and mingle with other writers. 

Festival Director and author Julia Anne will guide you through creating compelling and authentic characters.

Then we'll help you bring locations to life to craft a realistic setting for your story.

Afternoon Programme

  • 12:50  Lunch Break and Garden Tour (optional) with Margaret Barker (TBC)
  • 1:45   Involve an Object writing exercise with Catherine Chidgey** 
  • 2:30   KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Writing historical and fantasy stories with Jayne Castel. 
  • 3:30   Wee Write Inn: Writing session 

We break for lunch (own cost: cabinet and full menu available) and optionally take a Garden Tour with Margaret Baker (TBC). Margaret and Barry were the owners who lovingly restored the garden and grounds. We'll visit Alice in Wonderland, the Wishing Well, the White Rabbit, the Chesire Cat, the raised lawn, the pergola and the tapestry gardens.

The afternoon Masterclasses starts with award-winning author Catherine Chidgey, who will teach you how to give power to objects. **This is an especially recorded session, as Catherine will be in Europe.

Then our Keynote speaker Jayne Castel will teach us how to write stories that matter. Jayne writes epic historical and fantasy romance and will help you bring your stories to life using the Castle as a setting. 

Finally, we'll take some time with a "Wee Write Inn" - time to work on your own story. 

    Following the workshop, after 21 days, all writers are invited to optionally submit their 1500-2000-word story to the “One Castle, Many Stories” collection for consideration.


    The Great Write Inn is designed by writers for writers. We have carefully selected some of New Zealand's most experienced facilitators, writing tutors and authors for this session. 

    • Catherine Chidgey is a multiple award-winning author whose novels have achieved international acclaim. An experienced tutor and master storyteller, Catherine will share her experience writing historical fiction and non-fiction and the power of the object. 
    • Jayne Castel is an award-winning author who writes epic Historical and Fantasy Romance. Her vibrant characters, richly researched historical settings and action-packed adventure romance transport readers to forgotten times and imaginary worlds. Jayne is the author of a number of best-selling series. In love with all things Scottish, she writes romances set in both Dark Ages and Medieval Scotland.
    • Margaret Barker When Larnach Castle was purchased by Barry and Margaret Barker in 1967 the Castle was in a state of near ruin. Over time, every room has been lovingly returned to the exacting standards of Larnach’s times. The 35 acres of grounds were cleared and felled, allowing for the creation of wonderful gardens with vistas, paths, flower beds, hedge rows and trees. The Larnarch Castle gardens are listed as “Garden of International Significance” by the New Zealand Gardens Trust. The Barkers have rescued a major part of Dunedin's heritage  and have made a significant contribution to the local tourism industry. 
    • Dr. Julia Anne is an award-winning scientist, writer and entrepreneur. She is a performance poet who writes and publishes creative non-fiction, business, PR, travel and scientific genres. Julia is The Great Write Inn’s festival director and will facilitate the session on character.

    Photo Gallery

    Great Write Inn - Writers workshop at Larnarch's Castle

    About Dunedin

    Dunedin is New Zealand's only UNESCO City of Literature, so it's where writers come to read, write, learn, eat, play and stay. It’s also home to Larnach Castle and Gardens, New Zealand's only castle, lovingly restored by the Barker family.

    This Great Write Inn workshop has been timed to complement the Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival, which brings local, national and international writers to Dunedin to celebrate words, stories and ideas. 

    Suppose you plan to stay a few days on either side of the Great Write Inn? In that case, we'll share our locals secrets of the most stunning beaches, endearing wildlife, historical architecture, fantastic bookshops and mouth-watering restaurants.

    Need a place to stay? 

    No problem. Look After Me will look after you. 

    We're both an events and accommodation network, so we know safe and comfortable places to stay in Dunedin. Make a note in the comments, and we'll send you separate information about bed and breakfasts, homestays, self-contained units, holiday houses or lodges suitable for writers coming to this event.  

    Thanks to Our Supporters, Suppliers and Funding

    We are grateful to all the tutors, individuals, organisations and businesses who have supported this event with funding, logistics, risk-management, catering, venues, photography, marketing, in-kind and cash contributions or sponsorship. 

    Thank you!

    Funders and supporters of the Great Write Inn Dunedin Writers Festival

    The Great Write Inn is presented by locally owned events and accommodation network, Look After Me Ltd.

    Look After Me loves creating, hosting or being involved in memorable, enjoyable events in New Zealand communities. Visit to learn more.

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    Refund policy

    Refunds are available up to 1 day prior to the event