BOOK lovers from the north eastern Wheatbelt travelled to Koorda for the NEWROC Literary Luncheon on August 1.
Held annually at a different location, the event unites members from different book clubs from across the region, as well as community members not affiliated with a book club, to enjoy a good read and discuss their favourite novels from the past year.
The Koorda Book Club hosted 80 readers at the local recreation centre who were keen to listen to New Zealand author Beverley Forrester share the story behind her book, ‘The Farm at Black Hills (2015)’ which centred around her journey as a woolgrower.
Ms Forrester was left to run the farm she had barely worked when her husband died suddenly and was on a steep learning curve.
Ms Forrester owns and operates Black Hills farm in North Canterbury with her sister Noelene, running 300 Corriedale ewes plus lambs at foot and 12 Hereford cattle.
Black Hills is an historic 101.2 hectare property with beautiful old buildings and is a popular location for guided tours and weddings.
Over the years Ms Forrester has diversified her business by establishing two fashion ranges of garments, cushions and rugs and a yarn production and export company.
As well as establishing a global wool textile company, Ms Forrester has made a name for herself by being a sheep and wool judge at various international events and her most recent achievement now makes her a published author.
Ms Forrester said the achievement of having her life story in print hadn’t sunk in and she was still not used to being referred to as a writer.
“It’s funny being called an author because I am actually a farmer and always have been,” Ms Forrester said.
“Like many of you, I’m usually out in the paddock and in the sheepyards and it just happens to be that over several years the farm has evolved into what it is today, including having our fashion line.”
One of the organisers of the event was Koorda Book Club member Lesley McNee, who said the club had difficulty raising funds for the lunch, so she took matters into her own hands.
Ms McNee made 16 canvas artworks of 60 centimetres to 90cm, featuring wool stencils of local farmers.
Producers purchased their canvases for $150 a piece which Ms McNee put towards the costs of bringing Ms Forrester to Koorda.
“It’s thanks to all (woolgrowers) that Beverley could come here today,” Ms McNee said.
The canvases also doubled as a backdrop for the event, tying in nicely with the wool theme of the day.
Ms Forrester’s passion for wool resonated with the attendees as most were wool producers themselves.
“Wool is a wonderful four letter word and there’s a lot of work being done around the world with it,” Ms Forrester said.
All of Ms Forrester’s garments are hand-knitted by a team of four plus herself and she prides herself on producing quality, natural and sustainable products.
Some of Ms Forrester’s clothing products were showcased with a fashion show, displaying the wonderful creativity and skill that she and her team have, to produce beautiful hand-made pieces that take New Zealand wool to the world stage.
Towards the end of the day, some of the book clubs shared what they had been reading over the past year and provided recommendations.
Next year’s annual luncheon is expected to be hosted by the Wyalkatchem Book Club.