It wouldn?t be Aspiring Conversations without the presence of Chris Lumsden from Paper Plus Wanaka, who has been on hand every year since the festival started with his pop-up bookstore. Come see him in the Armstrong Room during the festival to check out a range of books written by our speakers, have a chat with the authors, and get your copies signed.

Chris has always gone above and beyond to support the festival ? including dressing up as a French maid in honour of the Dave Armstrong play Le Sud, which premiered at the 200 Festival of Colour (he had a selection of maid outfits airfreighted in to Wanaka for staff to wear).

He said he is particularly looking forward to seeing Christos Tsiolkas? session, which will feature Christos, the author of The Slap, discuss how writers are responding to the era of Trump and Brexit, and what the writer?s role is in society.

?I really enjoyed The Slap and I?ve heard so many good things about Christos. That will be a great session,? Chris said.

He added that one thing he enjoys about Aspiring Conversations is that there is always something that surprises him. For example, Chris read Andrew Dean?s Ruth, Roger and Me? after seeing Andrew speak at the festival in 2015 with Shamubeel Eaqub, and said he found reading about his generation?s point of view fascinating.

?There are subjects you get blown away by, every time, those jaw dropping moments that stick in your mind.?

Buy a book from Chris during Aspiring Conversations and support our festival ? Paper Plus Wanaka will be donating a percentage of the takings from the pop-up bookstore to the festival.

More tickets to be released next week

Did you miss out on a speaker you?d love to see? Good news – we will be releasing additional tickets to some of our sold out shows next Friday, March 23 at 9am.

You will be able to book online through the Aspiring Conversations website or by telephone on 022 4 849 669.

Watch out for an announcement in next week?s newsletter for a list of available sessions. (Note this will not include the Friday evening session featuring Jacinda Ardern and Mary Robinson, or Aspiring Passes.)

Back to school for Aspiring Conversations speakers?

For the first time this year, three of our speakers will be running sessions with students at Mount Aspiring College. Brent Williams, John D Potter and Jeanette Fitzsimons will all be visiting the high school to speak with students and encourage our young people to join the conversation!

There will be coffee



Thinking requires a clear head, and we are pleased that Anna from Queenstown?s Life?s a Grind will be bringing her coffee cart over the hill to keep us caffeinated with Allpress coffee over the Aspiring Conversation weekend. You may run into her outside the Queenstown Airport ? stop in and say hello and enjoy a barista-made cup of java.

A word from our sponsors

Wanaka?s reputation as a great place to eat is growing, and we have two terrific local eateries supporting us as local business sponsors.



?Big Fig is delighted to help keep the wonderful people involved in Aspiring Conversations fuelled with delicious dishes and great coffee. We?re all about slow food, served fast and open all day, every day next to the iSite in Ardmore Street.?



?Located on the outskirts of Wanaka at 71 Cardrona Valley Rd, Florence’s Foodstore & Cafe is set in Heritage Park, surrounded by the beautiful multi-hued colours of autumn. Feed your mind and your senses with our classic, yet simple, menu, as well as our sumptuous food displays, elegant teas in silk tea-bags, and great coffee. We are proud to support Aspiring Conversations, Wanaka?s very own festival of ideas, one of the many things that makes our town a special place to be.??