Love travel and books? Here’s a chance to combine your passions – take a Literary Tour!
Let me introduce Beverly Martens. Beverly is a communications expert who moved to Dunedin several years ago. A lover of books and writing, last year Beverly decided to set up a small business, taking visitors to Dunedin on tours of our vibrant literary scene.
Beverly’s story is an interesting insight into the varied places writing can take you, and her tours offer visitors a chance to explore a city famed for its literary history – away from the normal tourist trails.
I’ve asked Beverly to tell her story in her own words. Here it is below:
Literary Walking Tours, Dunedin
Hi, I’m Beverly Martens, owner/guide of Literary Walking Tours in Dunedin.
I was looking for fulfilling part-time work, but as I ‘d been focussed on writing these past few years, my previous business contacts had gone stale, and I was over qualified for many of the part-time jobs available.
However, with Dunedin now an official UNESCO City of Literature, I saw a unique opportunity to merge my new literary life with my previous marketing and pr skills and start this new small business.
Also, I’d had recent experience running a monthly Wine Club, so I knew how to host people and give them a great time!
– Why did you decide to base your tour here in Dunedin? Did you look at similar tours that are done elsewhere?
My tours would have no context if Dunedin wasn’t a UNESCO City of Literature (only one of twenty world-wide). Once we got that designation it kind of all made sense.
And yes, I researched walking tours in other cities, including Paris and Dublin etc, but I doubt I’m ever going to dress up in period costume and start spouting Shakespeare. What I offer is in-depth knowledge about Dunedin’s writing scene from both a historical and current perspective.
– Where do you go on your tour? What do people like to see?
I offer two separate walks: one through the historic part of the University of Otago campus, and a shorter (1½ hour walk) around the centre of Dunedin that showcases both some historic buildings and the key figures that have shaped Dunedin as a place where writers live thrive.
Guests enjoy both the historic buildings and the anecdotes I tell.
– What is it about the writers you feature on your tour that people love hearing about?
The human-ness of our key NZ literary figures. Being a full-time writer has never been an easy choice for anyone, and those choices have consequences (mostly good) that still resonate in the city today.
– What do people most say they enjoy?
‘Dunedinites’ love being a tourist in their own city; discovering out-of-the-way places that they didn’t even know existed!
Overseas visitors are charmed by our historical buildings, and how I weave through the continuing influence of some of the province’s founders into the opportunities (such as writing fellowships and writing competitions) available to writers living here now. Also, some of the quirky projects Dunedin has are interesting. For example, our ‘mini libraries’ Lilliput Libraries, poems on the back of our parking meter tickets, and so on.
– Where can people find you?