The 20th anniversary edition of the Auckland Writers’ Festival was due to take place from 12 to 17 May this year and like many of us, the Festival has had to move their best laid birthday plans online. As Aotearoa New Zealand cools down for winter, AWF is inviting you to cozy up to literature with its free online ‘Winter Series’ instead with an event every Sunday at 9am (NZST) scheduled from 3 May to 26 July in partnership with Auckland Live. Here’s what you need to know:
What can we expect from the online programme?
Each event will consist of three writers, with at least two from the original 2020 programme which you can still explore on their website if you’re curious. You can already check out episodes one and two here. There are two options for watching the livestreams – you can watch live on Facebook here, or live on Youtube here.
Episode One – streamed live 3 May
The Winter Series kicked off with an episode featuring actress and novelist Barbara Ewing on writing her memoir One Minute Crying Time, economics professor Alan Bollard on his book Economists at War, and Bernardine Evaristo of Girl, Woman, Other fame. Each writer is given the opportunity to speak individually and give a reading before being brought together at the end for a joint conversation and audience questions which can be submitted live.
Episode Two – streamed live 10 May
This episodes features barrister and professor Philippe Sands with his book The Ratline, Lisa Taddeo with her bestselling Three Women and former NZ Poet Laureate Ian Wedde discussing The Warbler.
Episode Three – 17 May
Chanel Miller’s memoir Know My Name sparked a nation-wide discussion about the way sexual assault victims are treated in the United States College and justice systems. She is joined in this episode by award-winning Aoetearoa writer and reporter Becky Manawatu, and nature writer Robert MacFarlane with his latest Underland: A Deep Time Journey.
Each event is hosted by award-winning fiction writer and essayist Paula Morris who teaches creative writing at the University of Auckland and sits on the Māori Literature Trust.
Where can I get hold of books by these writers?
According to the Festival website:
This series provides an opportunity to champion New Zealand and international books that were to feature at the now-cancelled May Festival, which viewers will be able to purchase through a bookseller link. Look out for a few special surprises too.
AWF always seeks to honour its Aotearoa New Zealand roots and writers, as you can tell from browsing their virtual bookshop, their gorgeous branding, and the events they’ve showcased so far. There’s plenty more to come and while you’ll need to keep an eye on their social media channels for the combination of authors appearing in which, we know that these names coming up at some point:
Ann Patchett, Neil Gaiman, Richard Ford, Elizabeth Knox, Freya Daly Sadgrove, Simon Armitage, Maggie O’Farrell, Deborah Eisenberg, Wallace Shawn, Caroline Barron, Amy McDaid, Anthony Byrt and more.