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Auckland Writers Festival: Eleanor Catton Session a Sell-out

Auckland Writers Festival Makes History – Eleanor Catton Session a Sell-out

Kiwi Booker Prize winner, Eleanor Catton’s Auckland Writers Festival session in the Aotea Centre’s ASB Theatre is SOLD OUT, making history for this iconic event which is now in its 14th year.

The Festival, which begins on 14 May and runs until 18 May, is the largest literary event in the country and attracts some of the world’s greatest writers and thinkers.

Festival director, Anne O’Brien says she is delighted that the history-making sell-out is for a New Zealand author.

“We are thrilled for Eleanor. For the first time we expect several sessions to be attended by more than 2000 people and I couldn’t be happier that the first to achieve the milestone is one of our own.”

The Festival has sold out smaller venue events previously, but this is the first year the 2115 seat ASB Theatre, has reached capacity.

The 2014 Auckland Writers Festival has seen significant growth in ticket sales.

“We are more than 40 percent up on sold tickets compared to last year. The increase is across all genres: fiction, non-fiction, local and international writers. It’s a terrific result and we delighted for the authors, many of whom have travelled from the Northern Hemisphere to share their books and ideas with us.”

International guests Alice Walker (USA), Alexander McCall-Smith (Scotland) and Sandi Toksvig (UK) are among this year’s favourites. Balcony seats are still available to each of their sessions.

“We are able to offer international writers a unique experience. So, while it’s a long way to come, the word has got out over the years from visiting guests that we provide a warm and special experience.
It’s terrific we appeal to major-name writers as a festival and as a destination,” says Ms O’Brien.

The multi-day, world-class festival offers a huge variety of events including interviews, debates, conversations, poetry, readings, children’s events, workshops, concerts, lunches and soap box stir-ups.

Many events are FREE, ensuring there is something to appeal to all budgets and tastes.

The Festival’s inaugural Family Day runs all day Sunday, 18 May. Appealing to 5-10 year olds, there is a heady mix of local and international favourites including UKs madcap comics The Etherington Brothers, multi-award-winning kiwi writer Kyle Mewburn, Little Yellow Digger creator Betty Gilderdale and stories from everyone’s favourite Grandma McGarvey will be read aloud by her inventor Jenny Hessell. Family Day events are FREE, but ticketed for capacity.

Keri Hulme is travelling overland from Oamaru to accept The Bone People’s honour as the country’s first Great Kiwi Classic. She will make a rare public appearance, taking part in a FREE event of the same name on Sunday 18 May at 4.00pm.

The Festival Debate returns following its hugely popular launch in 2013. Arguing that Privacy is an Outdated Concept will be Jim Al-Khalili, Dutch historian Frank Dikotter, kiwi privacy expert Bob Stevens and Sandi Toksvig, chaired by broadcaster Mark Sainsbury.

The Festival’s Gala Night theme is True Stories Told Live: Truth and Lies. On Thursday 15 May, Eight writers deliver a seven-minute true story, propless and scriptless. Broadcaster Carol Hirschfeld keeps Nigerian storyteller Inua Ellams, Egyptian correspondent Yasmine El Rashidi, kiwi photographer Marti Friedlander, award-winning writer A.M. Homes, Kiwi writer Sarah-Kate Lynch, historian and explorer Huw Lewis-Jones, everyone’s favourite Scottish philosopher Alexander McCall Smith and master of the under-belly Irvine Welsh in line.

North Korean defector and former high-ranking propaganda official for the late Kim Jong-il, Jang Jin-sung reveals the nation’s innermost secrets in his newly published memoir Dear Leader on Friday May 16 at 11.30am.

Audiences enjoy a mix of music, readings and theatre in several events this year including Tim Finn’s one man performance work White Cloud, Duncan Sarkies’ lauded Demolition of the Century, Gutter Black- a tribute to Dave McCartney hosted by broadcaster Karyn Hay, and Scottish writer Janice Galloway’s homage to pianist Robert Schumann’s long-suffering wife Clara in Young Clara.

Visual artists who write are celebrated in the Festival’s Auckland Art Gallery series. Lauded Kiwi sculptor Greer Twiss celebrates his just-published monograph; central Australian artist and writer Rod Moss introduces us to his close friendships with the Aboriginal families at Whitegate, an Arrernte camp on the outskirts of Alice Springs; and New Zealand artists Cliff Whiting, John Reynolds and Yvonne Todd drop in for intriguing conversations.

We are delighted to present the Auckland Writers Festival’s 2014 Honoured Writer, Patricia Grace who will speak about her lifetime’s work at 5.30pm on Sunday 18 May.

Sir Ray Avery delivers this year’s Michael King Memorial Lecture on Sunday 18 May at 2.30pm. Titled The Power of Us, the speech marks the 10th anniversary of the great kiwi historian’s death and explores what defines New Zealanders in 2014, 100 years on from the Great War.

The Auckland Writers Festival warmly thanks our Gold Sponsors: New Zealand Listener and The University of Auckland; major funders ASB Community Trust, Creative New Zealand, The Lion Foundation and Auckland Council; and all our Silver, Bronze and Supporting Partners.

We are also enormously grateful to our Festival patrons for their enthusiasm and generosity.

Go to to purchase tickets. Go to more information on appearing writers and their events.

14, 15 May: Auckland Writers Festival schools’ programme. Aotea Centre.
15-18 May: Public Festival programme. Aotea Centre, Auckland Art Gallery and catered event venues
14 May: University of Auckland Festival Debate:Privacy is an Outdated Concept. ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre,8.00-9.30pm
15 May: NZ Listener Gala Night: True Stories Told Live: Truth and Lies. ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre, 7.00-8.30pm
17 May: Our Booker Winner: Eleanor Catton. ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre 5.30-6.30pm
18 May: The Great Kiwi Classic: The Bone People. Upper NZI Room, Aotea Centre 4.00-5.00pm.
18 May: FREE Family Day Programme. Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre.


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