Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Stellar, Star-Studded Literary Line-up for Auckland Writers Festival’s 16th Year

Booker and Pulitzer Prize-winning authors, a British knight of the realm, feminist icons, literary funny men, blockbuster children’s writers, together with some of the world’s best political, historical and philosophical thinkers, join many of New Zealand’s standout writers at the Aotea Centre for the 2016 Auckland Writers Festival, which runs from the 10th to the 15th of May.

Jamaican/US Marlon James, whose novel, A Brief History of Seven Killings, won the 2015 Man Booker Prize; 2015 literary superstar Hanya Yanagihara; journalist, writer and women’s rights campaigner Gloria Steinem; writer, composer, musician, comedian, artist, ornithologist and conservationist Bill Oddie, who starred in the UK TV comedy classic The Goodies; the festival’s 2016 Honoured New Zealand writer Vincent O’Sullivan; former Midnight Oil frontman-cum-Aussie-politician and memoirist Peter Garrett; the UK’s Paula Hawkins who wrote the international bestselling psychological thriller The Girl on the Train; one of the world’s leading contemporary poets, Ireland’s Paul Muldoon; Englishwoman Jeanette Winterson whose autobiographical novel Oranges are not the only Fruit catapulted her to global fame; lauded New Zealand writers Helene Wong, Brian Turner, Patrick Evans and Fiona Farrell; psychotherapist, social critic and Fat is a Feminist Issue author Susie Orbach; English playwright, screenwriter and theatre and film director Sir David Hare; favourite Kiwi entertainers The Topp Twins;  British creator of the popular children’s Tom Gates series Liz Pichon;  US novelist Jane Smiley, who won the Pulitzer Prize for A Thousand Acres; broadcaster and biographer Alison Mau; French doctor, diplomat, historian, novelist and co-founder of Médecins Sans Frontières Jean Christophe Rufin; Middle East specialists Emma Sky and Yossi Alpher and Palestinian conservation architect Suad Amiry; satirist and award-winning writer Steve Braunias and many more.

Festival goers can visit English bard Deborah Alma aka, the Emergency Poet, who will be giving ten-minute consultations, from a vintage ambulance parked in Aotea Square, Takapuna Library and Otahuhu Library, and prescribing a poem to fix any number of life’s ailments. Alma is expertly assisted by poet and partner, James Sheard, aka Nurse Verse.

Among several special festival events, New Zealand Opera director Stuart Maunder will present Mad About Coward, a show celebrating the writing of the great Noel Coward; King Kapisi joins Australia’s Omar Musa for an a hip hop verse-off, the Limelight hosts a jazz and spoken word concert with Pulitzer prize-winning Paul Muldoon with local musicians, and there will be a rehearsed reading of Sir David Hare’s global hit play, Skylight.

Festival director, Anne O’Brien, says she is thrilled to present such a wide-ranging programme.
“There are few events where, under one roof in just six days, you can be inspired and provoked by political experts and social activists, hear world-renowned novelists, historians and playwrights, seek solace from poets, laugh with comedians and meet children’s literary heroes.
“I encourage everyone to come and meet their favourite writers and to seek out those that are unfamiliar. Come along and be a part of this heady global mix.”
Now in its 16th year, the Auckland Writers Festival plays host to more than 150 writers over six days of ideas, readings, debates, stand-up poetry, literary theatre, children’s writers and free public and family events.

The festival, which includes the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards winners’ ceremony for the first time, has grown exponentially and is now the country’s largest literary event in New Zealand and the largest presenter of New Zealand literature in the world. Last year, festival attendance topped 62,000 and many events sold out.

The 2016 Auckland Writers Festival programme is launched at an invitation-only event at the Auckland Art Gallery on the evening of Wednesday 16 March.

A preferential booking period for Festival Patrons and Friends follows, with public tickets on sale from 9.00am, Friday 18 March from

The Auckland Writers Festival warmly thanks its Gold Partners: The University of Auckland, Freemasons Foundation, New Zealand Listener, Ockham, SPARK, Foundation North, Creative New Zealand and ATEED; and all our Silver, Bronze and Supporting Partners.  

We are also enormously grateful to our Festival patrons for their enthusiasm and generosity.

Go to for more information on appearing writers and their events. 

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