Saturday, August 06, 2011

Jill Rawnsley Resigns

The Times They Are a-Changin' - News from the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival

The Festival office is undergoing a bit of a transformation at the moment, it is with much sadness that we will shortly be saying au revoir to our beloved Artistic Director, Jill Rawnsley.

Jill first fell for the Festival back in 2001 as a audience member and volunteer, but it wasn't long before she was on-board fulltime as the Festival co-manager. Her knowledge, wisdom and just sheer passion for literature, has been a tremendous asset to the Festival over the years and she will be sorely missed. You can read more about Jill here, including what she thought she was REALLY going to be when she grew up.
The other change on the horizon is that we will be welcoming a new staff member to our small team, Scott Ashton, who will be filling the shoes of Eleanor Congreve who departed earlier in the UK to take up an opportunity at the Tate Museum.
Farewell from Jill Rawnsley
Dear Festival friends,

As you may know, I love the Festival and its raison d'être, but I have decided for a variety of personal reasons to step down from the role of Artistic Director. I finish up on 24 August, and the planning for 2012 will continue under the experienced eye of well-known writer, Festival Founder and programmer Stephanie Johnson while AWRF recruits a new Artistic Director.

I’m grateful to the current festival team and Board whose commitment to the event has allowed me to step away with confidence that the “show will go on”. I feel even more fortunate to be leaving on a personal high ... I had a jolly good time at this year’s festival, and from what I could see and according to the numbers, so did a lot of other people.

When Karen Thompson and I stepped into the Ponsonby office for the first time in 2001, it was virtually empty but for some files, furniture and the will, drive and love of the people who had “birthed” the festival. I knew it was a golden opportunity to build on something special and I’ll be forever grateful to AWRF for the huge amount I’ve learnt over the last ten years. I have wonderful memories of hard work and (sometimes hysterical) laughter. I’ll take with me the comforting thought that I have in some small way made a contribution to the festival, and look forward to watching it grow under a new director... you can read the all of Jill's farewell on our website.

And, Welcome to Scott Ashton
The Festival warmly welcomes its new Communications and Business Development Manager, Scott Ashton.  With a strong communications background as well as extensive fundraising and development experience, Scott's impressive career has seen him in senior business development and commercial roles at Spotless Services and Auckland Museum.  Prior to holding these positions, he was Corporate Affairs and Sponsorship Manager for Montana Wines (including serving on the management committee of the Montana NZ Book Awards).  

Scott attended King's College and holds a Bachelor of Arts (English and German) from the University of Auckland.  He has a great passion for literature and the arts and is an ardent foodie. Besides managing the Festival's sponsors and members’ relationships, Scott will be responsible for a lot of our communications - including future editions of this e-zine!


1 comment:

pjkm said...

We'll miss Jill, and her tremendous energy, hard work and good humour.