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Alan Duff, Elizabeth Knox and Don McGlashan headline Going West Writers Festival

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

New Zealand’s leading authors, poets, playwrights and musicians take to West Auckland’s theatres, halls and beaches at the 24th Going West Writers Festival 6-15 September, offering audiences ten days of inspiring words and ideas that cut through the clutter.

The Festival’s Artistic Director Mark Easterbrook says he’s thrilled to welcome writers from all over Aotearoa, handpicked for their reputations as wordsmiths that can encourage us to imagine new possibilities.

"This year’s writers will take us to new places, make us laugh and help us make sense of the issues we’re grappling with. I invite you all to enjoy the legendary warmth of Going West, rub shoulders with other word-lovers and immerse yourself in a world of stories and ideas."

Always a sell-out, this year’s Festival Opening Night, features live music from The Bellbirds: Don McGlashan, Sean James Donnelly (SJD), Victoria Kelly and Sandy Mill, powerful poetry from Apirana Taylor (Ngāti Porou, Te Whānau ā Apanui, Ngāti Ruanui,Ngāti Pākehā) and a key note address from internationally acclaimed, best-selling novelist Elizabeth Knox.

The Festival features renowned author Witi Ihimaera talking about his second memoir Native Son; Alan Duff discusses his views on ‘where to from here’ for Māori; internationally acclaimed writer Elspeth Sandys reveals new information about her famous cousin Rewi Alley; Sir Bob Harvey talks about his relationship with the sea; hear powerful stories from Janet McAllister, Tulia Thompson, Craig Cliff and Rosetta Allan; two of our best emerging writers Kirsten Warner and Carl Shuker talk about their award-winning work; there’s poetry from Paula Green and Sue Wootton; proudly Auckland-centric writing from Owen Gill, Malcolm Paterson and Patrick Reynolds; the environment takes centre-stage in conversations including Robert Vennell, Neville Peat and Jeff Murray; curator of public programmes at Auckland Museum Dina Jezdic asks whose memories, identities and experiences are reflected in the collections of colonial museums; death and dying are discussed with David Slack and friends; Elizabeth Knox talks about her just-published novel The Absolute Book with Dylan Horrocks; Mark Easterbrook talks beer with head brewer at Garage Project and author of the new Art of Beer Peter Gillespie; and Michele A’Court brings the house down in the story of New Zealand comedy with Philip Matthews and Paul Horan.

The Festival has a Hub! Writers, readers and language lovers can head to the Titirangi Theatre and Lounge in the Lopdell Precinct for waiata, poetry, creative writing workshops, speed scrabble and more throughout the Festival period.

Going West wouldn’t be going anywhere without the legendary Going West Poetry Slam. It’s where the best stand-up poets lay it on the line. Come and see who has got the chops to rise to the top on Friday 13 September, live at The Hollywood Theatre! Entrants will be coached by none other than internationally renowned slammer and teacher Carrie Rudzinski. The final will be MC’d by Ken Arkind and there’s a high-octane judging panel comprising Ria Masae (last year’s winner), novelist and uber slammer Dominic ‘Tourettes’ Hoey and founding Voices on RNZ producer Lynda Chanwai-Earle.

The Festival is proud to present the premier season of Gary Stalker’s solo theatre work Ghost Trees 9-14 September at the Arataki Visitors’ Centre. Directed by Paul Gittins, Ghost Trees draws on science, imagination and the indefatigable love for things lost. An immersive experience that combines magical storytelling with a creative soundscape, Stalker reflects his struggle to cope with the loss of his partner to cancer and a search for answers. He finds the devastating effects of kauri dieback on the trees surrounding his house symptomatic of a deeper malaise - climate change, species extinction, increasing isolation, and loss of identity. Stalker takes you on his journey from the darkness of despair back into the light.

In association with Te Pou Theatre, award-winning playwright Renee Liang invites you to enjoy some magic in Sofija’s Garden 7,8 and 14 September at Shed 2, Corban Estate Arts’ Centre. Baba Sofija is waiting to tell her grandchildren a story - with their help, of course! Fiesty Kosjenka yearns to travel far away from her home, so she rides on the back of the wind and befriends the shy giant Reygoch. Inspired by the oral histories of Dalmatian settlers, this story-within-a-story pays tribute to the pioneering spirit and tenaciousness of these early families. Director Tainui Tukiwaho (Cradle Song, Astroman) makes magic with masks, music and puppetry, and invites the audience to participate.

Two plays in development feature in this year’s Festival - both are held in the Titirangi Theatre. Duel and Duality (12 September), a black comedy by Tracey Sharp: Robert has been charged with the brotherly protection of young Imogen, but Imogen is after his heart - and her mother, his wallet. Clean Me (13 September) by Ken Burns: Lillian takes a job cleaning Michael’s house. At first she finds him attractive, then she finds something deeply disturbing in his bedroom. He’s not who she thought he was. Neither is she...

Head out to Piha on Sunday 15 September for Waituhituhi - Lines in the Sand. Join artist Tracey Tawhiao, poet Karlo Mila, kaumatua Pita Turei and beach tagger David Walter Hilliam for an afternoon of creativity.

Rising stars of the spoken word take to the stage on Friday 6 September at the Corban Estate Arts’ Centre with the Word Up! Grand Finale. This spoken and lyrical word competition for 13-21 year olds offers audiences a unique opportunity to hear talented young people presenting their powerful, original work in rap, poetry, song or comedy form.

The Festival’s home-grown film season is back with Daffodils, a musical romance written by Rochelle Bright on Sunday 8 September; Gattaca a sci-fi classic by Andrew Niccol on Friday 13 September and Erewhon, Gavin Hipkins’ first feature-length film - an experimental adaptation of Samuel Butler’s eponymously named 1872 novel, described as a utopian satire on Sunday 8 September. Catch them at the Titirangi Theatre.

Kids can get in on the action, too with Whanau Day in association with Te Pou at the Corban Estate Arts’ Centre on Saturday 7 September.

The full Going West Writers Festival programme will be online at www.goingwestfest.co.nz from August 8. For tickets go to: www.iticket.co.nz or phone 09 361 1000.

The Festival is grateful for support from the Waitākere Ranges Local Board, Creative New Zealand, Metro, AUT, Avanda Group, Babich Wines, The Trusts Community Foundation, Foundation North and the Douglas Family Trust.

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