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Star-Studded Cast For Auckland Writers’ Festival

Star-Studded Cast For Third Auckland Writers’ Festival

Amy Tan, Jane Smiley & Glenda Jackson all confirmed

The third Auckland Writers’ Festival is to be held on 25-27 May at the Hyatt Regency and Old Government House and its organisers say it promises to be even more impressive than the previous two festivals.

“We’ve already got 11 overseas writers and 80 New Zealand writers confirmed, and their calibre is just outstanding,” says festival co-founder Peter Wells.

“Our overseas guests include the best-selling American authors Amy Tan, whose books include The Joy Luck Club and The Kitchen God’s Wife, and Jane Smiley, the Pulitzer prize winning author of novels such as Horse Heaven and A Thousand Acres.

“From Britain, we have Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat which has been made into a film which is currently screening in New Zealand, the popular historical novelist Edward Rutherford, acclaimed lesbian fiction writer Sarah Waters, and the guest for the festival finale, the prestigious Buddle Findlay Sargeson dinner, is British politician and former actress Glenda Jackson.”

Festival co-founder Stephanie Johnson says there is also an extremely strong line-up of Australian authors.

“We’ve got David Malouf, who’s one of Australia’s most respected writers, award-winning novelist Frank Moorhouse, best-selling Tasmanian author Richard Flanagan and Delia Falconer, whose first novel The Service of Clouds was very well received.”

This year’s theme is Celebration of The City, and sessions look at how the city is experienced in fiction and reality, how it is imagined and conceptualised, how people live in the city, how it has been seen and imagined through history and how one imagines other cities to be.

“It’s a celebration of urban-ness,” says Johnson.

Helping in that celebration and examination of urban-ness will be controversial Los Angeles Marxist Mike Davis, author of City of Quartz and Ecology of Fear, who teaches urban theory at the Southern California Institute of Architecture.

“We’re also taking new perspectives on our popular sessions on fiction writing, poetry, food & children’s writing, and there are also events focussing on subjects diverse as dark humour, sailing, cartooning, and a rehearsed reading of Albert Wendt’s first play,” says Wells.

The New Zealand authors attending the Festival include Kevin Ireland, Shonagh Koea, Kapka Kassabova, Tina Shaw, Patricia Grace, Albert Wendt, CK Stead, Charlotte Randall and Sam Hunt.

The Auckland Writers’ Festival sponsors include NZ Herald, Lion Foundation, Buddle Findlay, Creative NZ, Matua Valley and Hyatt Regency Auckland.

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