Friday, July 28, 2017

Going West Festival a Feast for Book, Theatre and Film Lovers

Come to where the trees soar high and join some of the country’s best known writers of books, songs, film and theatre at the 22nd Going West Books and Writers Festival this September.

Featuring new work by Anne Salmond, Witi Ihimaera, Diana Wichtel, Bill Manhire, Kirsten McDougall, Pip Adam and Selina Tusitala Marsh, audiences will also be treated to an address by Rod Oram as the Sir Graeme Douglas orator; C.K. Stead examines the literacy legacy of Allen Curnow; Steve Braunias tells us how he Ate Lincoln Road while Colin Hogg Hits the High Road. This year’s Ockham New Zealand Book Awards Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize winner, Catherine Chidgey, discusses The Wish Child; Bill Manhire plays tour guide through NZ poems set to music by Norman Meehan and Hannah Griffiths and the Titirangi Poetry Collective celebrates 40 years at the fringe of heaven.

Going West Books and Writers Festival Director, Nicola Strawbridge, says audiences can expect to hear from big names, celebrate what’s local and be immersed in conversations about some of the big issues the world is facing at the moment.

“Come along and be inspired! There’s smart talk, poetry, great music, stimulating discourse and amazing catering.

“To quote Emma Neale, our Curnow Reader in 2016, “the Festival is a long party for the mind”.

“Going West Festival presents great ideas served up with delicious food and organic wine,” says Ms Strawbridge.
In partnership with Auckland’s home for Māori theatre, Te Pou, the Festival will present an intimate experience of Kororāreka: The Ballad of Maggie Flynn written by Paolo Rotondo and directed by Julie Nolan from 21-23 September.

For the first time in Auckland, Te Pou and the Festival also present The Māori Sidesteps ‘the newest and naughtiest Māori Showband in town’, written by Rob Mokaraka and Jamie McCaskill, directed by Tamati Kawha from 14-16 September.

Te Pou will also host their annual Koanga (Spring) Festival offering a range of performances, writing workshops and readings and culminating in a community Whānau Day of storytelling on Sunday 10 September at the theatre’s home 44A Portage Road, New Lynn.

There’s an intriguing line-up of films from 18 September, including Perfectly Frank, the Life of a NZ Writer in which biographer Michael King takes us through the life of pioneering writer Frank Sargeson; A Portrait of Katherine Mansfield which includes readings from Mansfield’s writings by Ilona Rogers and a screening of In my Fathers Den, followed by a Q&A with Producer Trevor Haysom and Going West Festival Founder, Murray Gray.

Spoken word poets have time to sharpen their acts before the Going West Poetry Slam takes place on 9 September. Directed by Doug Poole, this will be a fun, fast-paced evening featuring some of the country’s best known slammers. Handsome cash prizes to be won. 
Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery’s Learning Centre will hold an Indie Book Fair: a thriving showcase of zines, handmade books and limited-edition publications on Sunday 10 September and Henderson’s Corban Estate Arts Centre features Word Up on Friday 8 September: an exciting, word-based performance competition which gives 13-20-year-olds the opportunity to present their original work in any word-based genre from rap, poetry, spoken word, music or stand-up comedy.

The full Going West Books and Writers Festival programme will be online at from July 28. For tickets go to: or phone 09 361 1000.

The Festival is grateful for support from the Waitakere Ranges Local Board, Creative New Zealand, The Trusts Community Foundation, Foundation North, the West Auckland Research Centre, Douglas Family Trust and the Norcross Falls Heritage Trust.

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