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International writers head to Auckland

16 Gebruary 2006

"Wit has truth in it; wisecracking is simply callisthenics with words." Dorothy Parker

Brilliant cast of international writers head to Auckland for literary extravaganza

The Auckland Writers & Readers Festival Charitable Trust announces WitSunday, a one-day literary extravaganza featuring a star-studded cast of international writers.

"We're detouring headline writers on their way to the 2006 Sydney Writers' Festival" says Festival Director Jill Rawnsley. "We're holding this event between the 2005 and 2007 Auckland Writers & Readers festivals to ensure local audiences don't miss out on seeing writers of this calibre who are unlikely to come back to the southern hemisphere again in a hurry."

Stepping into the spotlight on Sunday 21 May 2006 in the ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre, THE EDGER for a dazzling day of readings and repartee are the very talented: American Indian poet and screenwriter Sherman Alexie; Irish writer and 2005 Man Booker prize-winner John Banville; popular philosopher, writer and television presenter Alain de Botton; journalist and non-fiction storyteller extraordinaire Victoria Finlay; author of the hit sensation of 2005, The Historian, Elizabeth Kostova; Hari Kunzru, one of Britain's most highly regarded young novelists (courtesy of the British Council New Zealand); critic, composer and Francophile Steven Poole; and renowned writer and living treasure Edmund White from the United States.

Sherman Alexie grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Washington and is the author of such acclaimed novels as Reservation Blues and Indian Killer. He is also a poet and a screenwriter (Smoke Signals, The Business of Fancydancing) and has been described variously as 'one of the major lyric voices of our time' and 'one of the most acclaimed writers of his generation'. His most recent book is a collection of short stories, Ten Little Indians. His readings can be raucous, fascinating and even fractious.

John Banville, the Irish Times literary editor turned novelist, who's atmospheric tale of first love The Sea was the popular winner of last year's Man Booker Prize.

Alain de Botton, renowned for his bestselling book on modern living, Status Anxiety, returns with a beguiling tour through the philosophy and psychology of architecture in his new book The Architecture of Happiness. Be warned - it could forever change the way you think about your home, your streets - and yourself!

Victoria Finlay is a journalist and social anthropologist. Her first book, Colour: Travels through the Paintbox, was part travelogue and part narrative history: it unlocked the history of the colours of the rainbow and revealed how paints came to be invented, traded and used. Her new book, Buried Treasure: Travels through the Jewellery Box will be released in New Zealand in April.

Elizabeth Kostova spent a decade writing and researching her first novel, The Historian, little imagining that it would become an instant international hit upon publication. Now, one year on, is has become one of the most talked about novels of 2005, foreign rights have sold in over 20 countries and there's a movie deal as well.

Hari Kunzru's first novel The Impressionist, an epic tale of adventure and discovery, was described by The Observer as 'the most eagerly awaited British debut of 2002'. His latest work of fiction, Transmission, is a heady mix of life in London, Bollywood and Silicon Valley and a brilliant take on life at the click of a mouse.

Steven Poole is a critic and whizkid author of Trigger Happy: the Inner Life of Video Games and more recently, Unspeak, a book on state-of-the art 'rhetorical weaponry'. Steven also writes and reviews for the Guardian and the Times.

Edmund White, renowned for his frank and entertaining autobiographical novels including A Boy's Own Story and The Beautiful Room is Empty, tells his own true life story of growing up gay in Middle America in his stunning new memoir My Lives.

And, that's not all! Just when you thought the feast might be over:
Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveler's Wife, the mega-bestseller from 2005, will be in the city for an Auckland Writers & Readers Festival event at the Dorothy Winstone Centre, Auckland Girls' Grammar School, on Monday 29 May. Margie Thomson described this remarkable book in the New Zealand Herald as a story that "will live in your mind for days after you've finished it. Despite the frequent time shifts, it's a smooth, spell-binding story, an intelligent mix of love, tragedy, and danger."

Bookings for WitSunday and The Time Traveler's Wife Talks will open on 10 April at Ticketek. A full programme of events will be available very soon.

These events take place with the generous support of: the New Zealand Herald; THE EDGER; the New Zealand Listener; the Sydney Writers' Festival; British Council New Zealand; publishers Allen & Unwin, Hachette Livre, Penguin Books and Random House; McGovern Online; San Pellegrino; Karajoz Coffee Company and the Hilton Auckland.


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