Crawling the streets of Wellington – LitCrawl makes literature accessible

Think of a pub crawl across Wellington, but rather than getting a drink at each destination, you get a taste of literature.

LitCrawl takes everyday people with an interest in all things literature, and spends three days with over 150 local and international writers, across 45 different events, at 27 different venues, with the main event being the crawl. Its purpose is to engage the community in a rich and vibrant celebration of literature in a way that is unique, social, and highly accessible.

With an aim to take literature to the streets, LitCrawl celebrates New Zealand and the world’s emerging and established voices over one weekend in the capital. Since being founded in 2014, LitCrawl has grown quickly with events overflowing with enthusiastic crawlers, many of whom never usually go to literary events (a great achievement).

Boasting one of the most diverse crowds, LitCrawl caters to many audiences. With an age range of 18-80, a balance between males and females, and events designed for Māori speakers, as well as those who use sign language, making the event easily accessible for anyone and everyone.

LitCrawl has turned into more than one day or visiting sessions and events. In 2017 LitCrawl expanded by 40%, which included the new LitCrawl Extended series at City Gallery: a weekend of extra ticketed events.

Being such a large and successful non-profit event comes down to the organisations and people that support it. Claire and Andrew from Pirate & Queen, the production company behind LitCrawl works hard to develop relationships within the art scene, and through established connections have been able to gather support and sponsorship from various organisations.

As they head along to various venues such as Ferret Bookshop, the LitCrawl family has developed relationships across the Wellington CBD, and many venues generously donate their space for the event. These venues donating their space and time allows LitCrawl to not only run smoothly, but improves the quality of the event. As more and more recognised locations in the CBD get involved, the event gains more traction and awareness which allows the event to expand and reach more people.

The Wellington Treasure Trust is a major partner, with five Trustees who volunteer to ensure LitCrawl’s ongoing success. The Wellington City Council also understands that it is a key event for not only Wellington’s literature scene, but also New Zealand’s, so supports its ongoing success.

Having sponsors and supporting organisations is incredibly important for events like LitCrawl, as it allows the event to reach more people who may not regularly be involved in literature events. It also means there is more support to help organise and run the event.

As they approach their fifth year, LitCrawl aims to expand on the event to make it even greater and are working with various corporate sponsors and partners to boost the quality and reach of the event.

The weekend involves short, fast paced and energetic sessions with writers from New Zealand and overseas, who run presentations in established and eclectic venues, ranging from public galleries and museums to local bookstores, cafes, bars, and outdoor public spaces. Presenters cover an extraordinarily broad range of fields and include novelists, storytellers, artists, comedians, scientists, scriptwriters, philosophers, designers, politicians, journalists, musicians and business people.

They champion and encourage the writers who make LitCrawl the diverse and meaningful event that it is - they have guest curators, up-and-coming writers and international stars who are celebrated year to year.


To learn more about LitCrawl, visit

CommunityBrian Steele