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Biggest Line-up Yet for Auckland Writers & Readers Festival

Biggest Line-up Yet for Auckland Writers & Readers Festival

150 guests from New Zealand and around the world will appear in more than 100 events in the largest programme of writers and sessions yet presented at New Zealand’s premiere festival of literature and ideas, the Auckland Writers & Readers Festival.

Headed up by superstars Kate Atkinson, William Dalrymple, Sir Max Hastings, Anita Desai, Ben Goldacre, Patrick Ness, Jackie Kay, Carlos Ruiz Zafon and Fleur Adcock, the event will kick off with two days of schools’ programming, a political debate on the rule of the West and the traditional storytelling gala opening, and will spread its tentacles across five days, ending with the celebration of Pacific writing legend Albert Wendt complete with live music and readings.

Fiction, poetry, politics, food and wine, sport, conflict, science, music, travel, history, gardening, architecture and health will all feature in the wide-ranging programme.

“A Festival is a chance to immerse yourself in a diverse range of experiences – writers you know, writers you don’t, familiar subject matter and new worlds, thought-provoking ideas and sheer fun – and this year’s programme is designed to do all of that in spades. There is something for everyone in this unmissable event,” says Festival Director Anne O’Brien.

Alongside the usual in conversation and discussion formats, and the debate which will feature internationals Pankaj Mishra (India) and Sylvia Nasar (Germany / US) with William Dalrymple and Max Hastings, this year the Festival introduces two small musical concerts.

The first features Leonard Cohen biographer Sylvie Simmons on ukulele with local guitar playing hero Don McGlashan, and the second a jazz trio presenting Bill Manhire’s poetry set to music.

There will also be a free book valuing event; live playwriting in the Aotea Centre foyer; two days of sessions at the Auckland Art Gallery; a cricket lunch with Australian cricket writer Gideon Haigh; and three free readings sessions each day bringing together New Zealand and international writers around themes.

Other guests include novelists Diego Marani (Italy), CK Stead (NZ), Scarlett Thomas (England), Wayne Macauley (Australia), Edward Rutherfurd (England) and Kate De Goldi (New Zealand); Poet Laureate Ian Wedde in conversation and Lloyd Geering presenting the Michael King Lecture; literature lover Ramona Koval (Australia); dementia specialist Dr Helena Popovic (Australia); and non-fiction writers Aleks Krotoski (United States)on the internet, Masha Gessen (Russia) on Vladimir Putin, James McNeish on his memoir, Rebecca Priestley on New Zealand’s love affair with radium, Jarrod Gilbert on the history of gangs in New Zealand; and Sir Don McKinnon on his time as Commonwealth Secretary General.

The Auckland Writers & Readers Festival takes place 15-19 May in and around the Aotea Centre in Auckland, with ticketed sessions on sale from Thursday 21 March from $15 at Further information on the programme is available at

The Auckland Writers & Readers Festival Charitable Trust warmly thanks:
Our Gold Sponsors Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development Ltd, New Zealand Listener, The University of Auckland.
Foundations, Trusts and Grantmakers: ASB Community Trust, Creative New Zealand, The Lion Foundation,
And all our Silver, Bronze and Supporting Partners as detailed on


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