Reading Aotearoa New Zealand in the company of Lydia Wevers' work: Writing and Reading for/in Public

Reading Aotearoa New Zealand in the company of Lydia Wevers' work: Writing and Reading for/in Public


MCLT 103 Kelburn Campus and Online

This seminar is part of the Seminar Series: Reading Aotearoa New Zealand in the company of Lydia Wevers' Work.

Many academics are also public commentators, blog post authors and regular guests on radio. Lydia was a prolific public intellectual, writing countless book reviews for public outlets, talking on the radio about books and reading, and participating in our major writer and readers festivals.

Panellists will share some of their memories of “Lydia moments’ in the media and then go on to discuss contemporary aspects of media work by writers. How do we convey complex topics to a general audience? How can long and difficult research be shared with the public. And how does the future of deep journalism and academic engagement look like in the 21st century.

Listen to Lydia’s last interview with Kim Hill on Radio New Zealand about her talk for Featherston book town:  Lydia Wevers: Shining light on the life of Jane Mander | RNZ

Chair: Anna Fifield, editor of the Dominion Post

Panel: Robert Kelly, journalist at Radio NZ; Rebecca Macfie, journalist and author; Marc Wilson, Professor, Social and Political Psychology, Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington.


About the Chair and panel

Anna Fifield became the editor of the Dominion Post in Wellington at the end of 2020, after two decades overseas working for the Financial Times and the Washington Post. She was a foreign correspondent posted to Seoul, Tehran, Beirut, Washington DC, Tokyo and, most recently, Beijing. She was a Nieman journalism fellow at Harvard University in 2013-14 and was awarded Stanford University's Shorenstein Prize in 2018 for her reporting on Asia. Her book The Great Successor: The Secret Rise and Rule of Kim Jong-Un has been translated into 24 languages.

Robert Kelly is a journalist and reviewer with a focus on books, reading and culture in Aotearoa. For the last several years he has been a producer, reviewer and host at RNZ and he’s just started a new role as a producer at TVNZ. Robert conducted his MA in New Zealand Studies at the Stout Centre in 2015. His supervisors were Lydia Wevers and Anna Green and it focused on the way unmarried men were employed by the New Zealand Railways Department in the inter-war period.

Rebecca Macfie is a journalist from Christchurch. She is the author of Helen Kelly - Her Life (Awa Press, 2021) and Tragedy at Pike River Mine: How and why 29 men died (Awa Press 2013). Her journalism appears in North&South, The Listener and

Marc Wilson is 'intellectually indigenous' to Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington, having come here directly from secondary school and never leaving. He teaches and researches mainly in the areas of social and political psychology, and adolescent self-injury. He has been the recipient of both local and national awards for his teaching, and his engagement with public science was recognised in 2010 by the NZ Association of Scientists' Science Communicator Award. Since 2011 he has written a weekly psychology-themed column for the New Zealand Listener.

About the series

Join us in honouring the legacy and work of Emerita Professor Lydia Wevers.

Professor Wevers was an internationally renowned literary historian and critic, teacher, writer, and scholar who specialised in New Zealand studies.

This series addresses themes and activities in New Zealand research that were central to Professor Lydia Wevers' work, especially during her time as director of the Stout Research Centre for New Zealand Studies. ‘Reading’ New Zealand through the lens of writers, columnists, journalists, librarians, booksellers, and academics colleagues will explore our understanding of our country through the lens of reading and writing.

Each afternoon will start with a short reflection on Lydia Wevers’ reading of the chosen theme. The panellists will then take this theme in new directions.

By ‘reading’ Aotearoa New Zealand, we deepen our relationship with our unique country; by discussing it together we seek to open it up to new ways of listening. Every panel session will end with Q&A.

If you have further questions, please contact: or

Date: Every Wednesday from 27 April–8 June

Time: 4.30pm–6pm (except 25 May seminar—5.00pm–6.30pm)

Where: Maclaurin Lecture Theatre 103, Kelburn Campus


Other seminars in this series

27 April: The Infrastructure of Reading

4 May: Cultures of Reading

18 May: Women 'readings' of Aotearoa New Zealand

25 May: Reading the Short Story

1 June: Being Pākehā

8 June: A life as a Reader Researcher: Honouring Lydia Wevers’ Legacy at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

You are welcome to attend any number of seminars, please ensure you click only the ones you want to attend as spaces are limited: Register