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Going West Festival Celebrates Two Decades

Going West Festival Celebrates Two Decades with Stellar Line-Up This Weekend

The Going West Books and Writers Festival celebrates 20 years with a line-up of outstanding home-grown authors, playwrights and songwriters in a packed programme of events this Weekend.

Featuring enthralling new non-fiction by David Slack, Roger Horrocks, and Geoff Chapple; novelists Anna Smaill, Greg McGee and Stephanie Johnson and poetry by Harry Ricketts and Leilani Tamu.

Audiences will also be treated to an appearance from Rachel Barrowman talking about her just-published biography on Maurice Gee and biographer Lucy Treep offers a tantalising insight into the life of Maurice Shadbolt.

Festival founder and director Murray Gray says this year’s writers will become part of the considerable legacy of conversations built up over two decades.

“Going West Festival audiences have been treated over the years to extraordinary events featuring such literary luminaries as Allen Curnow, Michael King, Nigel Cox, Ian Wedde, Anne Salmond, Lauris Edmond, Maurice Gee and Maurice Shadbolt.

“We are proud this festival showcases the best of New Zealand’s home grown writing talent,” says Mr Gray.

The festival weekend’s opening night celebrations on Friday 11 September include poet and rural GP, Glenn Colquhoun, as Guest of Honour, and Stephanie Johnson, who made her first festival appearance with an early novel at the first Going West Festival in 1996, will be the Sir Graeme Douglas Orator this year.

The Going West Poetry Slam grand final takes place on 12 September. Directed by Doug Poole, this will be a fun, fast-paced evening featuring some of the country’s best known bards. New Zealand’s biggest poetry slam cash prizes up for grabs!

The Festival, in partnership with Auckland’s home for Māori theatre, Te Pou will be holding a Koanga (Spring) Festival offering a range of performances, writing workshops and readings and culminating in a FREE Whānau Day of storytelling, theatre shows, face painting, kai and more on Saturday 12 September at the theatre’s home 44A Portage Road, New Lynn.

Te Pou presents a development season of The Great American Scream by award-winning playwright Albert Belz in the Going West Festival from 17-19 September. On the evening of October 30th, 1938 America thought the world was ending due to a broadcast radio play by Orsen Welles, based on H.G Wells War of the Worlds.

There’s also Whakarongo Mai: Three evenings of new plays by emerging playwrights, hear them here first and share your feedback with the author. Te Puhi by Cian Elyse White, Wednesday 9 September, 7pm; Morning Star by Liebchen Tamahori, Thursday 10 September, 7pm and Into the fire by Jatinder Singh, Friday 11 September, 7pm.

For the full Going West Books and Writers Festival programme go to For more information about Te Pou Theatre events go to

For tickets go to: .

The Festival is grateful for support from the Waitakere Ranges Local Board, Creative New Zealand, The Trusts Community Foundation, Foundation North and the Douglas Family Trust.


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