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Auckland Writers' Festival Sell Out Success

Organisers of the third Auckland Writers' Festival, held 25th ?27th May, say the event was a huge success, selling 6,500 tickets.

"This is tremendous," says Festival co-founder Stephanie Johnson. "We sold 30 per cent more tickets this year than we did last year."

"It shows we've created something people from throughout New Zealand want to attend. It has become a major feature on Auckland's event calendar."

People travelled from all over the country to attend the Festival which featured 12 international authors and 80 New Zealand writers in 40 different sessions.

The international authors included Amy Tan, Jane Smiley, Mike Davis and Naomi Wolf from the US; Joanne Harris, Edward Rutherfurd, and Sarah Waters from the UK; and David Malouf, Frank Moorhouse, Richard Flanagan and Delia Falconer from Australia.

Local authors included Allan Curnow, CK Stead, Patricia Grace, Kevin Ireland, Albert Wendt, Shonagh Koea, Kapka Kassabova, Maurice Gee, Tessa Duder, Colin Hogg and Chad Taylor.

Many sessions were sell-outs. " Each year the Festival jumps another notch, it's just incredible," says Festival co-founder Peter Wells. "The first year we were thrilled when we had 80 people coming to listen to an author. This year many of the sessions had more than 400 people attending. We sold out of eight events before the Festival began, and many others sold out during the weekend."

Highlights of the weekend included the sellout single author sessions with Amy Tan, Jane Smiley and Patricia Grace; "Let's Talk City: A Forum" with LA urban analyst Mike Davis, Auckland architect Pip Cheshire, design historian Douglas Jenkins, NZ Herald columnists Brian Rudkin and Gordon McLauchlan; "The Tender Trap: Love and Therapy" with US author Jeffrey Masson, and therapists Juliet Batten and Rhonda Pritchard; and the festival finale, the black tie Buddle Findlay Sargeson dinner with US feminist, social critic and author Naomi Wolf as guest speaker.

"The Festival's success shows New Zealanders are hungry for ideas, debate and talk. We feel that the Auckland Writers' Festival is providing a lively forum for ideas in the broadest possible way," says Wells.

"We have to say a huge thank you to all of our sponsors and patrons, because without their help, this Festival would never have become the event that it is."

The Auckland Writers' Festival sponsors include the NZ Herald, Lion Foundation, Buddle Findlay, Creative New Zealand and the Hyatt Regency Auckland.

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