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Modern life, literature and legends feature in programme

Modern life, literature and legends feature in Aspiring Conversations programme

The full programme for Aspiring Conversations, the new annual festival of ideas held in Wanaka and Queenstown, launched tonight includes a member of President Obama’s Global Development Council, an expert on China’s economy and ISIS/Islamic State, the present and a former New Zealand poet laureate and singer-songwriting legend, Tim Finn.

Sponsored by global management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company Inc. the festival takes place from 10-12 October. It is the first time that Aspiring Conversations has been held separately from the main Southern Lakes Festival of Colour.

Highlights include James Manyika, a director of McKinsey Global Institute and member of the US Global Development Council, debating the impacts of information technology with Parag Khanna, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

Italian journalist and political economist, Loretta Napoleoni (speaking in both Wanaka and Queenstown) examines the power of Chinese capitalism, the enigmas of Russian banking, and the laundering of funds for terrorism. She will also be discussing the latest developments in the Middle East following the publication of her forthcoming e-book on ISIS/Islamic State, the group currently involved in armed struggle in Syria and Iraq.

Tim Finn’s performance of his musical memoir White Cloud, co-written with Ken Duncum with film by Sue Healey, marks his first appearance in Wanaka for some time. He says it will be “a great opportunity to perform White Cloud in a place where landscape and sky combine to create drama and intensity, strong memories and connection – all themes of the show”.

Kirsty Gunn (pictured below), winner of the 2013 NZ Post Book of Year for The Big Music, makes two appearances. First she talks alone about story telling and how she tries to establish a relationship with her readers. Then with current poet laureate and fellow Katherine Mansfield expert, Vincent O’Sullivan, Kirsty examines ‘where is home?’ – a central theme of her new book, Thorndon where it combines with her own love of Mansfield’s writing.

Other literary heavyweights appearing include former laureate, Ian Wedde discussing the art of memoir writing with Dame Fiona Kidman, while father and daughter CK Stead and Charlotte Grimshaw host a session on the ideas that drive their own writing and the pleasures and perils of ‘keeping it in the family’.

There are two panel debates, the first Water – how do we balance the competing demands? (Wanaka and Queenstown) brings together Treaty lawyer, Moana Jackson, economist and journalist, Rod Oram and Bruce Wills, former president of Federated Farmers for whom “water is our number one issue”. This will be chaired by Wallace Chapman of Radio NZ National, in Queenstown

Then journalist and author, Max Rashbrooke, Wanaka-based philanthropist Scott Gilmour and UNICEF’s Deborah Morris-Travers, previously the country’s youngest Minister of Youth Affairs will debate Inequality – the growing gap between rich and poor.

The final session of Aspiring Conversations 2014 sees Damien Fenton, author of New Zealand and the First World War, asking why this country’s first engagement in the Great War was at Gallipoli and why it has come to mean so much for New Zealanders, Australians and Turks alike.

All Wanaka sessions take place at the Lake Wanaka Centre.
In Queenstown, Loretta Napoleoni appears at The Rees Hotel, Frankton Road while the water panel debate takes place at Queenstown Memorial Centre.

Ticketing Information
Tickets for all sessions cost $15 (Tim Finn $35) and go on sale first to members of Aspiring Conversation’s Patron Plus and Benefactor Plus supporter groups on 26 August. Patrons, Benefactors and Sponsors of the Festival of Colour can buy tickets from 1 September
Public sales start 3 September.

Book online or by phoning 022 4 TIX NOW (022 4 849 669). The Lake Wanaka Centre box office will be open on Wednesday 3 and Thursday 4 September from 8.30am to 2.00pm for cash sales.
Queenstown tickets can also be bought in person from The Rees Hotel, Frankton Road (cash only).

The Aspiring Pass is available for $130 and gives access to all nine Wanaka sessions, apart from Tim Finn, without having to book and pay for separate tickets. It can be purchased in person only at the Lake Wanaka Centre box office or by phoning the number above.

Join the conversation on Twitter @aspiringconv #ideasfest #aspiringconversations


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