What's On

What Not To Miss At The Auckland Writers Festival

By Sharleen Shergill - 10 May 2017

auckland writers festival, guide to the auckland writers festival, what's on at the auckland writers festival

Journos, novelists, playwrights and bibliophiles, put ya pens down, because the Auckland Writers Festival is back and better than ever. This is your chance to get up close and personal with some of the best international and domestic authors.

The Auckland Writers festival is six exciting days of ideas, readings, debate, stand-up poetry, literacy theatre, children writers, and free public and family events. So whether you’re a writer or a reader, or just a creative, get down to Aotea Square for your fill of literature.

Targeting both writers and readers, there’s something for everyone at this year’s festival, but here’s our choice of which events to attend.

The Ten (Food) Commandments

Join Masterchef judge and The Oberver’s restaurant critic, Jay Rayner on a journey of the Ten (Food) Commandments. Rayner is a world-renowned journalist, who also formed the Jay Rayner Quartet and has received the Derek Cooper Award for Investigative Journalism from the Guild of Food Writers

Where: ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre

When: Friday 19th May, 8:45pm – 10:00pm


Charlie & Lola & Clarice & Ruby: Lauren Child

There would have been a time in your life when you loved the characters of Clarice Bean and Charlie and Lola. Chances are, you still do. At this year’s Auckland Writers Festival you can see Lauren Child, the mastermind behind your childhood obsession in real life. And, if you have a sprog under 12, they’ll get in free.

Where: ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre

When: Saturday 20th May, 9:00am – 10:00am

Chris And Tom Write A Book

Writing a book—how hard could it be? Lucky for you, Chris Parker and Tom Sainsbury have an event dedicated to doing that. Parker (Jono and Ben, Funny Girls) is also co-creator of Stake Out and Bachelor Pad with Sainsbury. We know this will be full of lols. Festival guests Jay Rayner, Brit Bennett and Kate Lynch will also be there to provide their insights.

Free event, no ticket required.

Where: Heartland Festival Room, Aotea Square

When: Wednesday 17th May: 9:30pm – 10:30pm ; Thursday 18th May: 9:00pm – 10:00pm

Jane Eyre: An Autobiography

This is Jane Eyre like you’ve never seen her before. Rebecca Vaughan (Austen’s Women, Dalloway) brings Charlotte Bronte’s creation to life. Vaughan is an actor and playwright taking you on a ninety-minute ride through time.

Special Event: not valid for Concession Passes

Where: Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre 50 Mayoral Drive, Auckland CBD

When: Tuesday 16th May 2pm; Wednesday 17th May at 2pm;  Friday 19th May at 10.30am; Saturday 20th May at 10.30am and 2.30pm

Women And Power

The battle for equality, whether it be in sports or society continues today. Writers and advocates Michele A’Court, Roxane Gay and Mpho Tutu van Furth bring ideas of what needs to change. Chairing the event is co-presenter of RNZ National’s Morning Report, Susie Ferguson.

Where: ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre

When: Friday 19th May, 5:30pm – 6:30pm

An Evening With Ian Rankin

Ian Rankin is the winner of four Crime Writers’ Association Dagger Awards. He is known for bringing you all the thrills, such as Inspector Rebus and Detective Malcom Fox. Mark Sainsbury will be joining him for an hour of discussion you won’t want to miss.

Special Event: not valid for Concession Passes

Where: ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre

When: Friday 19th May, 7:00pm – 8:15pm

Best Of The Best: Spoken Word Showcase

Five of the best local spoken word artists will perform at this event in the Auckland Writers Festival. Marina Alefosio (South Auckland Poets Collective), Mohamed Hassan (New Zealand National Slam Champion 2015), Tim Heath (Poetry Idol Winner), Jennifer Rockwell (finalist of Tearfund Justice Slame) and Reway Worley (founder of the Waxed Poetic Revival) lead the show.  It include performances from Zane Scarborough, Paul Beatty, Ivan Coyote and Rupi Kaur.

Where: Great Hall, Auckland Town Hall

When: Saturday 20th May, 7:30pm – 9:30pm

Harry Potter Hijinks

If you’re a lover of all things Harry Potter then look no further than Harry Potter Hijinks! Nadio Sunde brings you Professor Frankie, “Harry Potter Enthusiast”— there will be spells, Quidditch demos and Harry Potter trivia. Go the extra mile and dress up as your favourite character and living all your Harry Potter dreams. Even better, the event is free for ages 12 and under.

Where: ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre

When: Sunday 21st May, 9:00am – 10:00am

Milk And Honey: Rupi Kaur

You've seen her poems floating around on Twitter and Instagram, and now is your chance to see Rupi Kaur in real life. Kaur became a New York Times bestselling author with her poetry collection Milk and Honey and her work explores themes of feminism, love and loss.

Where: Heartland Festival Room, Aotea Square

When: Sunday 21st May, 3:00pm – 4:00pm

Plus, a special pop up event:  

Where: Lower NZI Room, Aotea Centre

50 Mayoral Drive, Auckland CBD

When: Friday 19th May, 7:00pm – 8:00pm

Our Shakespeare: James Shapiro

Does Shakespeare still matter? Columbia University professor James Shapiro, says yes, indeed he does! Author of 1606: William Shakespeare and the Year of Lear, Shapiro raises discussion on why Shakespeare is still relevant today. Michael Neill (Shakespearean scholar) joins him for this conversation.

Where: ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre

When: Saturday 20th May, 1:30pm – 2:30pm

Pop Poetry: Love Letters In The Square

It’s time to get all heart eyes with the Love Letter’s-themed Pop Poetry hut. Anonymous writers will write poems, letters, lyrics—anything that their heart desires! Plus, you’ll only know their identity when they sign off. You’ll see love spreading across Aotea Square with projections of the text. Nawwww.

Where: Aotea Square

When: Tuesday 16 May to Sunday May 2, 6:00pm to 9:00pm.

The Deets: 

What: Auckland Writers Festival

When: 16th – 21st May

Where: Aotea Centre

Further Info: On the Auckland Writers Festival website

Love books? Check out our directory of great independent booksellers.

Image credit: Auckland Writer's Festival 

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