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Auckland Writers & Readers 2010: Life Well Read

[See full release with authors biographical info: AWRF_2010_Festival_Press_Release_Pack_v3__Email.pdf]



Stephanie Johnson and Peter Wells will look on proudly as the Auckland Writers & Readers Festival they founded in 1999 celebrates its tenth birthday in May. Since 1999, this major Auckland City event will have put over 700 local writers and more than 160 international guests in front of over 100,000 people.

The focus at this year’s festival is on lives – the well-lived, the well-read, the rich, the tragic, the ordinary and the extraordinary, the quiet and the chaotic, the writer’s life, a life of books, living in times of war or political change, life in India, Iraq and Israel, the life of the art world, life-changing moments and decisions, the ordinary lives of extraordinary and memorable characters, the life of our national sport, the life of the outsider, the rebel and sometimes people who’d rather not be noticed at all. It’s about the stories we hope will live on (whatever the format), stories which deserve a life of their own, and the people who strive to give them life. “This is what a festival is all about – the enrichment of lives through a celebration of art” says Artistic Director Jill Rawnsley.


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International guests confirmed for 2010 include: acclaimed biographer of William Golding, John Carey; renowned travel writer William Dalrymple; Granta Editor John Freeman; legendary rare books dealer Rick Gekoski; Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert; controversial author of My Israel Question Antony Loewenstein; The Monthly Editor Ben Neparstek; journalist and author of Erasing Iraq Michael Otterman; sociologist and author of Seven Days in the Art World, Sarah Thornton; and Economist management editor and Schumpeter columnist Adrian Wooldridge. Fiction writers confirmed to attend are Colm Tóibín, Thomas Keneally, Lionel Shriver, Yiyun Li, Jill Dawson, YA writers Charlie Higson and David Levithan; and performance poets Charlie Dark and Alicia Sometimes. New Zealand guests set to take the stage include: Tui Flower, Dick Frizzell, Charlotte Grimshaw, Lloyd Jones, Rachael King, Chris Laidlaw, Julie Le Clerc, Warren Maxwell, Gordon McLauchlan, Paula Morris, Jeffrey Paparoa Holman, Gregor Paul, Emily Perkins, John Reynolds, Anne Salmond, Elizabeth Smither, CK Stead, William Taylor, Tama Waipara, Ian Wedde, Damien Wilkins, Alison Wong and many more.


Seven ‘Special Events’ go on sale on Wednesday 10 March: the gala New Zealand Listener Opening Night on Thursday 13 May features Colm Toibin, Emily Perkins, Thomas Keneally, Elizabeth Gilbert and William Dalrymple. A ‘High Tea’ with guest speakers Tui Flower, Lauraine Jacobs, Julie Biuso and Julie Le Clerc honours the traditional fare in A Treasury of New Zealand Baking; TVNZ 7 will be filming ‘The Good Word Debate’ at St Matthew-in-the-City where Finlay Macdonald and Emily Perkins lead two teams to debate the moot ‘The Book is Dead’ under the watchful eye of Te Radar; and legendary raconteur Rick Gekoski talks with Kim Hill over lunch at Soul in the Viaduct. Premium evening events feature William Dalrymple (Friday 14 May) and Elizabeth Gilbert (Saturday 15 May). And the ever-popular ‘Poetry Idol’ is on Sunday 16 May. Potential idols should visit the festival website for more information on getting an audition.

All other festival events go on sale on Monday 29 March, with the full programme of events available in print and on-line the week before. A range of free events will be available during the festival, including a “Rehearsed Reading” of Dave Armstrong’s new play General Ward, courtesy of the Auckland Theatre Company, and a very special hour with C.K. Stead to celebrate the publication of his new memoir, South-West of Eden, on Saturday 15 May.


The Schools Programme is designed for intermediate and secondary school students and features YA writers David Levithan and Charlie Higson; John Carey on William Golding and Lord of the Flies; Thomas Keneally and Anne Salmond on early settler times in Australasia; DJ and performance poet Charlie Dark; New Zealand fiction favourites Des Hunt, William Taylor and Anna Mackenzie; Leon Davidson on the First World War, Dave Armstrong on playwriting, and the band “Ivy Lies” on songwriting (which they’ve been doing since they were at school). Students are also being offered the opportunity to take a writing workshop with some of the writers this year. Schools bookings are open now at, and a downloadable Schools Programme is available on the festival website at


Special Events bookings open Wednesday 10 March. All other bookings open Monday 29 March. Door sales apply from Wednesday 12 May. Book at or ph: 09 3573355. (Service fees apply.) Patrons, Festival Club members and Friends of the Festival receive a range of attractive benefits such as priority booking periods, discounts on tickets, access to the exclusive Festival Club, and guaranteed premium seating. For more information, phone the Festival office (09 376 8074) or visit


GOLD SPONSORS: New Zealand Herald, New Zealand Listener SILVER SPONSORS: Auckland City Council, Crowne Plaza Auckland BRONZE SPONSORS: Allpress Espresso, Delmaine Fine Foods, Documentary Channel, McGovern Online, Man O’War Wine PUBLISHER SPONSORS: Allen & Unwin, Hachette NZ, HarperCollins NZ, Penguin Books NZ, Random House NZ SCHOOLS PROGRAMME SPONSORS: Sharpie, South Pacific Pictures, Stationery Warehouse, Text Publishing, The College Herald FOUNDATIONS, TRUSTS AND GRANTMAKERS: APRA, ASB Community Trust, Asia: New Zealand Foundation, Australia Council for the Arts, Creative New Zealand, Lion Foundation, North Shore City Council, Sir John Logan Campbell Residuary Estate, SkyCity Auckland Community Trust STRATEGIC PARTNERS: ALT, The Edge, GEON SUPPORTERS AND SUPPLIERS: BJ Ball, Booksellers New Zealand, British Council New Zealand, Dilmah, Juice TV, Kaleidoscope, Liquid Studios, Nielsen BookData, Qantas




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