Saturday, May 14, 2016

AWF Humming along

Put 2000-3000 people inside the Aotea Centre and then move them around from location to location every hour or so and the result is what you might call happy chaos !!

The Ockham NZ Book Awards event and New Zealand Listener Gala Night were both full houses and almost every session since has been reached capacity or close to it. 
Record numbers are turning out and already over 60,000 tickets have been sold events.And with such a hugely varied and interesting programme one is not surprised.

Some of the sessions I have attended so far include:

INSIDE OUTSIDE Helen Wong - The Michael King Memorial Lecture.
Michael King would have been delighted wit the lecture that bears his name. Helene Wong, author of the just published BEING CHINESE. She had the large audience spellbound - her honesty, frankness and sense of humour combined to make a strong and occasionally disturbing address. Powerful, thought provoking stuff.


Zimbabwean author Petina Gappah and New Zealand writers Sue Orr, John Wareham and Bianca  each read from their latest books and then discussed them.. Chair Christine O'Brien. Always interesting to hear the author's own voice in titles you have read.


A huge turnout, unsurprisingly, to hear the 2015 Man Booker Prize winning Jamaican born author talking with Noelle McCarthy in fascinating detail about his writing of the huge volume.He proved an appealing and entertaining subject and I could have listed to him for hours. Superbly chaired by McCarthy with a great rapport between the two.
A coup for Festival Director Anne O'Brien to attract this author to Auckland.

Four fans stake a claim on behalf of a writer to take the title of Great Kiwi Classic author.. They all supported their nominee passionately and well -  Literary biographer Rachel Barrowman for Maurice Gee, English lecturer Mary Paul for Robin Hyde, theatre critic John Smyth for Bruce Mason and  close friend John Weir for James K Baxter.. 
Were the decision to be  made on the basis of these four arguments I suspect the title would go to James K.Baxter.

Back to the Festival !

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