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Just enough space . . . Participants in Sunday?s writing workshop tutored by Kate Camp (front, in blue) and Shayne Carter (far right) squeezed into the front room of Janet Frame?s old Eden St house. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Kiwi rock legend Shayne Carter was “amazing” as a speaker and writing tutor in Oamaru last weekend, Cara Tipping Smith says.

As a member of the charitable trust that runs Janet Frame’s childhood home at 56 Eden St, Tipping Smith was instrumental in bringing the musician and author to town for the annual Janet Frame Writers and Readers weekend.

Carter, who achieved international renown as a singer, songwriter, and guitarist in the bands Straitjacket Fits and Dimmer, last year released his first book, the memoir Dead People I Have Known, which has been shortlisted for the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.

He was the guest speaker at a picnic on the lawn at 56 Eden St on Saturday.

“What a decent guy,” Tipping Smith said.

“He was humble and really generous with information.

“It was really, really fantastic.”

Carter and trustee Kate Camp, an award-winning poet, led this Sunday’s writing workshop, which began at The Business Hive in Ribble St and concluded at 56 Eden St.

As in every other year it has been offered, it was a sellout.

Camp helped Carter with the tutoring process.

“The participants loved it,” Tipping Smith said.

“Shayne is not a writing teacher per se. They fed off each other.

“He talked about songwriting.

“He’s a normal, likeable kind of guy.”

Carter pointed out that artists in New Zealand do not generally make a lot of money, but he was really grateful for a life that allowed him to be an artist, Tipping Smith said.

It could be viable and it was “gutsy to put yourself out there” and reveal a sensitive soul, she said.

She continued to be “blown away” by the talented writers “such a tiny little trust” was able to attract to the weekend.