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The Great Write Inn - Romance at Olveston

Price FREE – $169 NZD + BF Get tickets

Event description

The Romance Writers of New Zealand's Great Write Inn is an all-day, inspirational workshop for writers. 

Following the sell-out success of our 2021 event, our next Great Write Inn will lead into the Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival.

Sponsored by Romance Writer's of New Zealand, this literary workshop will help writers reveal the romance, in a story. 

Take a guided Tour through Olveston Historic Home, an illustrious Edwardian villa, gifted by Dorothy Theomin to the City of Dunedin.

We teach and inspire you to write a romantic short story.

Once inside Olveston Historic Home, we'll be using the writer’s matrix formula: 

(1) Create a character( or two)

(2) Choose a room

(3) Involve an object

(4) Blend some romance....and 

(5) Write a story! 

Taught by some of New Zealand’s best creative writing tutors, The Great Write Inn is perfect for beginner writers wanting to experiment with romance, or experienced authors needing some fresh inspiration and motivation in an uplifting environment.

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

This event is strictly limited to 24 writers, to allow an intimate and personal learning experience. 

Ignite your story telling passion and bring love to life!

Keep scrolling to learn more about the workshop programme, tutors and Dunedin, or watch the 1 minute video capturing the photo gallery from a previous Great Write Inn held at Olveston Historic Home, Dunedin.

Morning Programme

  • 8.45    Assemble and registration     
  • 9.00    Official Welcome and Introduction 
  • 9:15    Tour of Olveston Historic Home
  • 10:45   Morning Tea 
  • 11.15   Presentation from Romance Writers of New Zealand
  • 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 Olveston Historic Home, where you’ll explore New Zealand’s only Edwardian Villa and be inspired by its rooms and objects. 

Then we will break for morning tea 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 at Dunedin Community House

  • 12:50  Lunch Break and Writer's Tour (optional) in the Octagon
  • 1:45   Involve an Object writing exercise with Catherine Chidgey** 
  • 2:30   KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Writing historical romance stories with Jayne Castel. 
  • 3:30   Wee Write Inn: Writing session 

After a lunch break, stroll around the Writer's Walk at Dunedin's Octogan.

We celebrate Essie Summers - Queen of Romance and the 56 stories in 25 different languages....

We'll also remember Janet Frame, Robbie Burns and other literary heroes through street art and statues in the area.

After lunch, we’ll reconvene nearby at Dunedin Community House.

The afternoon Masterclass starts with award-winning author Catherine Chidgey, who will teach you how to give power to objects in the Edwardian Era. Be prepared to involve all of your senses in this captivating session. **This is an especially recorded session, as Catherine will be in Europe.

Then our Keynote speaker Jayne Castel (author of historical romance) will help you bring your stories to life using Olveston Historic Home as a setting. 

Finally, we'll take some time with a "Wee Write Inn" - 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 Home, 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, and recent winner of the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction at the 2023 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards for The Axeman's Carnival, 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.
    • 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 - Catherine Chidgey books, photos and awards

    Jayne Castel books and photos of previous events 

    Photo gallery of Jayne Castel books. Guest speaker at Great Write Inn Olveston Historic Home
    Photo gallery of Jayne Castel books. Guest speaker at Great Write Inn Olveston Historic Home
    Photo gallery of Great Write Inn Olveston Historic Home
    Photo gallery of previous Great Write Inn event at Olveston Historic Home

    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 Olveston Historic Home, which gives visitors a glimpse into the life of a wealthy merchant family in the early twentieth century.

    We are proud to support the Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival, which brings local, national and international readers and writers to Dunedin to celebrate words, stories and ideas. 

    As well as this Great Write Inn at Olveston Historic Home, we have a social function called FrockIT. 

    Suppose you plan to stay a few days on either side of the Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival. In that case, we'll share our local 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, it's what we do.

    We're both an events and accommodation network, so we know safe and comfortable places to stay in Dunedin. 

    Just 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!

    Please note: Funding partners for 2023 event is not finalised as sponsorships and partnerships are still being secured, so this may change slightly

    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 7 days prior to the event