In a previous Weekend Name Drop, I suggested that entrepreneurship is not always a word we associate with authors. Well, how about mumtrepreneurship? To understand what that’s all about, you need to meet Louise de Varga.
Name: Louise de Varga
Creative field: Author, Entrepreneur, Promoter, Festival Creator & Organiser
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Best known for: Creator of Kapowai the Dragonfly; Winner of the 2013 Kingi McKinnon Scholarship from Waiariki Institute of Technology Creative Writing; Winner of the 2015 Mumtrepreneur Award for Best Creative Business (NZ Independent Book Festival)
My connection: It may have been through Pirongia-based writer, Tui Allen, that I first heard about the inaugural Auckland Independent Book Festival in 2014. In hindsight now, the festival was a simple affair, but the biggest event I had attended as an author then, following the release of my second novel, Te Kauhanga. I first contacted Louise in preparation for the festival and met her in person upon my arrival in Devonport. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to attend subsequent events, but I have maintained contact with Louise and followed along with the growth of the festival, now known as the NZ Book Festival.
Inspiration for this writer: Louise’s energy and enthusiasm were evident as soon as I met her and throughout her event. As modest as it was, I was impressed that one person could initiate, organise and execute such a thing – and for the sake of promoting others and the very notion of independent publishing in New Zealand. (You can read about her own publishing journey here.). Others have noticed and honoured her too – Louise won the 2015 Mumtrepreneur Award for her work. Yes, Mumtrepreneur – it’s a thing! Via her newsletters and discussions in online forums, I also understand the toll it took to run these festivals and I admire her conviction, determination and courage in persevering, as well as her wisdom to form a committee to share the load, including fellow Weekend Name Drop stars, ZR Southcombe and Cat Connor.
Why you should check her out and share with others: There are really two reasons I am featuring Louise this week. First, I want to promote the upcoming NZ Book Festival, held on 5 November at Mt Eden Memorial Hall, Dominion Road, Auckland. A full list of exhibitors can be found here, and includes James Russell, Vicky Adin, and P.D.R. Lindsay (all whom I met at the first festival) along with many, many more such as Kirsten McKenzie, Andrene Low, ZR Southcombe, and even a fellow named Adam Millen!
And, of course, Louise will be there, not just as a festival organiser, but as an author, herself. And this is my second reason for posting about Louise. As I wrote about Taumarunui High School’s own Maria Cole, the promoter rarely gets promoted, so I think it’s only fair that everyone interested and involved with the festival should also have a look at Louise’s own writing. In fact, she has a brand new book in the works, continuing with her tales of Kapowai the Dragonfly. Please check out her work below.
Sample of work:
From Louise’s latest book, Kapowai’s Gold, at the printers right now!
Kapowai the dragonfly awakes to a sparkly world and a beautiful rainbow!
What could be at the end of the rainbow? Could it be gold?
Kapowai flies off to find her friends; the little dragonfly doesn’t think she is brave enough to go on this adventure, chasing the end of a rainbow, all on her own. But what will Bella, Charlie and the rest think of crazy plan and just what will Kapowai find at the end of the rainbow where the big trees grow?
Here’s Louise, along with some friends, telling us about independent publishing: