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This August, Kiwis will be treated to a marquee line-up of the world’s best and brightest writers and thinkers, as they descend on Tāmaki Makaurau for one week only.
Each year the world-renowned Auckland Writers Festival defines the cultural agenda in Aotearoa. As borders have shuttered the world for two years, Aotearoa’s annual celebration of words and ideas returns in full-form with live and streaming events in Auckland from 22 to 28 August.
As part of the 22 festival, attendees will hear from world-leading experts on Putin and Afghanistan, a Golden-Globe winning actor turned New York Times bestseller, Māori and Pasifika stars lighting up the international poetry and spoken word scene, a two-time Oscar winner, and one of the UK’s most acclaimed philosophers, as well as iconic comedians, award-winning screenwriters, celebrated scientists, and prize-winning novelists.
Taking place in the Aotea Centre and other Auckland venues this winter, the festival will tackle themes as complex and varied as war, celestial navigation, abortion rights, Auckland’s architecture, wild weather, misinformation vs disinformation, and how three kiwi police officers became crime novelists. In addition to the festival’s signature mix of conversations and panels, across the week, Auckland will be host to a series of stirring theatre performances, poetry installations and public documentary screenings.
More than 30 international literary luminaries sit alongside more than 200 New Zealand writers, thinkers, facilitators, and panelists in the 2022 programme. Check out the full programme at writersfestival.co.nz.
Live events include New Yorker journalist and Putin expert Masha Gessen; two-time Oscar winner Jane Campion; preeminent philosopher A.C Grayling; feminist icon and bestselling author Clementine Ford; multi-million-copy selling novelist and TV-producer phenomenon Liane Moriarty, and former soldier, diplomat, and counterinsurgency expert David Kilcullen.
In a very special slice of kiwiana, The Naked Samoans will join John Campbell live on stage in a one-off and highly-anticipated reunion; Jack Webster Te Kapene Thatcher will offer a beginner’s guide to the artful science of celestial navigation; and Hēmi Kelly and the Embassy of Ireland come together to celebrate their work on the launch of Ngā Whakamāoritanga – a te reo Māori translation of Brian Friel’s Irish literary masterpiece Translations.
Special events include Art and Power, a music and readings performance from the Sydney Art Quartet; a celebration of Stephen Sondheim with guests including Hayden Tee and Jennifer Ward-Lealand; theatrical works Hello Darkness, Ka-Shue, and Paragon Dreams; rising hip hop and spoken word stars in New Dawn; and a sound journey through the night with Annette Lees, Rewi Spraggon and Riki Bennett.
Aotea Square hosts documentary screenings of Martin Hill & Philippa Jones’ epic Fine Lines sculpture project and Gaylene Preston’s Keri Hulme tribute Kai Purakau, as well as a poetry installation work.
The inaugural Auckland Writers Festival was held in 1999. Founded by award-winning Kiwi novelist, poet and playwright Stephanie Johnson and the late filmmaker and historian Peter Wells, it delivered a modest programme of 40 events to around 5,200 people. AWF has grown to become one of the most highly anticipated cultural events in the New Zealand landscape, and one of the best attended writer’s festivals, per capita, in the world.
Public tickets are on sale from 9am Friday 17 June via Ticketmaster.
Monday 22 to Sunday 28 August