Preview: Auckland Writers Festival

The Auckland Writers Festival is back for 2015 and rolling out the red carpet for more than 150 writers and academics, from local favourites to true literary giants.


Haruki Murakami, one of the most respected authors of our time, will headline the festival that runs from May 12-17. The Japanese author has earned worldwide acclaim through his compelling novels of surrealism, having now been translated into 50 languages. The festival is now in its 15th year, and having the ability to attract a heavyweight such as Murakami speaks volumes.


As expected, Murakami’s event and other favourites are already sold out. Yet tickets are still available for other highlights, as well as a magnitude of free events scattered throughout the city centre. With several being held at (and near to) the University of Auckland and AUT, it’s ideal during a uni break. Or for those 9-to-5 working types, venture into town during the weekend and make an outing of it.


From poetry and theatre, to debates and workshops, here’s our pick.



[Alan Cumming]




NZ Listener Gala Night:


Featuring eight writers performing throughout the festival, each distinguished guest will speak for seven minutes about the theme of ‘Straight Talking’. Perfect if you’re indecisive on who to see or eager for variety. Speakers include Alan Cumming, star from The Good Wife, and award-winning Nigerian author Ben Okri.


Thursday, May 14, 7:00PM to 8:30PM.


Hack Attack:


This event calls for those interested in media and the direction it is heading. Nick Davies, a leading investigative journalist, will discuss the world of media with the New Zealand Herald’s Toby Manhire. The British reporter broke the phone hacking story that shook the UK media world and has worked with Julian Assange in publishing classified material with the Guardian.


Friday, May 15, 4:00PM to 5:00PM.


Carol Ann Duffy:


A drawcard for any poetry fans, UK Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy sits down with John Campbell to discuss herself and her works. With both of her other events sold out, act quick to see the Scottish poet.


Sunday, May 17, 12:00PM to 1:00PM.




For those looking for performances, consider this stage adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway. The well-received Dyad Production will grace the Civic Theatre with four performances during the festival.


Performances Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.


a - hack attack_1_1

[Nick Davis, Hack Attack]




Shakespearean Spinach:


Notre Dame University professor Peter Holland talks Shakespeare in the ClockTower of the University of Auckland. Discussing the many pop culture references and success stories that play on Shakespearean concepts, be prepared for some surprising connections.


Thursday, May 14, 5:00PM to 6:00PM.


Shameful Poverty:


An opportunity to listen, and perhaps learn, about child poverty in New Zealand. Academic Jonathan Boston, author of the book Child Poverty in New Zealand, will discuss the social issue through 20 minutes of lecture and 10 minutes of dialogue with the audience.


Saturday, May 16, 11:00AM to 11:30AM.


Designing Auckland:


Ever thought about the future landscape and vision of Auckland City? If so, consider this event as influential urban designers and architects discuss ideas such as housing, transport and the barriers in between.


Saturday, May 16, 1:30PM to 2:30PM.


Tiny Ruins:


Lead singer of Tiny Ruins, Hollie Fullbrook, will delve into the craft of song-writing. Regardless of whether she sings a tune or not, this event offers a chance to hear one of New Zealand’s finest singers discuss the development of her ideas.


Saturday, May 16, 4:30PM to 5:30PM.


Stop Tweeting… Commit!:


In this growing age of Twitter and condensed information, patience (especially among our generation) for long-form journalism and prose is becoming more scarce. Here to debate and discuss the trend is Metro editor Simon Wilson and editors Jolisa Greenwood and Susanna Andrew, publishers of Tell You What, a collection of Kiwi long-form nonfiction.


Sunday, May 17, 12:00PM to 1:00PM.

[Header cred]

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