The Playmaker
Let's play
  • It's Tuesday
    What day is it?
  • Now
    What time is it?
  • Anywhere in Auckland
    Where are you?
  • What do you feel like?
    What do you feel like?
  • And what else?
    And what else?

Ten Picks for Auckland Writers Festival 2019

Sit down with a Pulitzer Prize winner, a BAFTA-winning rapper and our Prime Minister at this year's literary bonanza.
By Laetitia Laubscher
May 06, 2019

Ten Picks for Auckland Writers Festival 2019

Sit down with a Pulitzer Prize winner, a BAFTA-winning rapper and our Prime Minister at this year's literary bonanza.
By Laetitia Laubscher
May 06, 2019


Sit down with a Pulitzer Prize winner, a BAFTA-winning rapper and our Prime Minister at this year's literary bonanza.

This year's Auckland Writers Festival sees this year's Pulitzer Prize winner, a BAFTA-winning rapper and our Prime Minister all sharing the same stage to talk about books as well as giving a behind-the-covers look at the life experiences that informed their writing.

Other highlights include a takedown of corrupt journalism in the United States from the ex-Executive Editor of The New York Times, a one-on-one review of your writing by an ex-Penguin Random House editor, a theatrical adaptation of Virginia Woolf's Orlando and an economist working to reframe the way people think about economics in order to save the environment.

While the quality of these talks is guaranteed, the availability of tickets isn't, so do throw your money at seats asap to avoid missing out on gaining nuggets of wisdom from some of the best thinkers in the world.

  • 10
    Number 15: Marilyn Waring

    Marilyn Waring has been an MP in Parliament; a development consultant and United Nations expert; a human rights activist; was the principle founder of feminist economics; and is an academic and author to boot. Impressive is just one word to describe her.

    In 1975, at age 23, Marilyn Waring was elected to the New Zealand Parliament as the MP for Raglan. At the time, she was the youngest MP to enter Parliament as well as only the fifteenth woman to do so. She later ended up playing a key role in supporting nuclear-free legislation getting passed.

    Waring talks to Jennifer Curtin about her books The Political Years, If Women Counted and Still Counting which explore her time in the male-dominated public life and her vision for political equality.

  • 9
    Natives: Akala

    BAFTA award-winning rapper, journalist, novelist, poet, political activist and founder of the Hip Hop Shakespeare Company, Akala, will be in conversation with New Zealand Poet Laureate Selina Tusitala Marsh about his new book Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire.

    His highly personal book carefully deconstructs what The Guardian calls the “two pervasive and inter-connected myths; the delusion that we live in a meritocracy and the fantasy that the exceptional achievements of some black people are proof that the obstacles of poverty and race can be overcome by all”.

  • 8
    Doughnut Economics: Kate Raworth

    In her new book Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st Century Economist, British economist Kate Raworth explores how to take on ecological and humanitarian concerns through a new approach to economics.

    Longlisted for the 2017 Financial Times McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award, Raworth seeks to creatively alter the current economic approach in order to “meeting the needs of all within the means of the planet”.

  • 7

    Virginia Woolf’s iconic, gender fluid satire from 1928 is getting a theatrical adaptation from the acclaimed British theatre company Dyad Productions as part of the Auckland Writers Festival.

    The original Orlando was one of Woolf’s most popular novels, fitting a satiric history of English literature in just one book. The novel follows the adventures of a poet who changes their sex from man to woman and lives for centuries, meeting key figures of English literary history along the way.

    Dyad Productions’ interpretation of Orlando: A Biography – performer Rebecca Vaughan and writer/director Elton Townend Jones – explores “what it means to find our place in the world whilst remaining utterly true to who we are”.

  • 6
    Bridge of Clay: Markus Zusak

    Australia’s best selling novelist, known for international hit The Book Thief, took 13 years to get over a serious case of writer’s block that followed its release. Bridge of Clay is his first foray back into the literary world since his astronomical success.

    Zusak’s The Book Thief was met with the kind of success most writers can only aspire to — it spent ten years on the New York Times bestseller list, has been translated into 40 languages, has sold 16 million copies and has had a major motion picture starring Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson made out of it.

    Putting that immense success aside in order to get vulnerable enough again to write a new novel was a difficult process which took him over a decade to do. In his conversation with Catriona Ferguson, he talks about the lessons he learnt about writing, discipline and inspiration during this time.

  • 5
    Appointment with the Editor: Jacquelin Cangro

    US Editor Jacquelin Cangro, who has worked as an editor for Penguin Random House and other publishers for more than twenty years, is taking appointments with eight lucky writers to give them some thoughtful and constructive feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of a piece of their writing.

    Writers of all genres and of all abilities (beginners especially welcome) will be given the opportunity to submit up to 5000 words of a first chapter or completed short story for review.

    Those who weren’t able to book to have their fledgling book reviewed are still free to stop into the space and hear Jacquelin’s feedback on others’ work for free.

  • 4
    Stardust and Substance: Jacinda Ardern

    Jacinda Ardern’s sudden rise to power in 2017 was one of the most memorable moments in recent New Zealand political history.

    Jacinda sits down with Toby Manhire to talk about Stephen Levine’s book Stardust & Substance (to which she contributed, alongside her coalition partners, Winston Peters and James Shaw and former prime minister Bill English).

    Ardern will give an insider’s perspective on the campaign as well as what it’s been like living up to (and trying to live up to) the promises made during the campaign.

  • 3
    Merchants of Truth: Jill Abramson

    After less than three years on the job, the first female executive editor of The New York Times, Jil Abramson, was fired in 2014. After taking her leave from the newspaper, Abramson set about to investigate reporting at four news organisations – established media giants The New York Times and The Washington Post as well as relatively new media organisations BuzzFeed and Vice — in her new book Merchants of TruthThe Business of News and the Fight for Facts. 

    The book has been described by The Guardian as an “unsparing look at US journalism’s moral decline”, the publication calling Abramson “someone who knows where most of the bodies are buried and is prepared to draw the reader a detailed map. Names are named, mistakes are exposed, and the writing is unforgiving and unadorned”.

    Abramson joins Toby Manhire to discuss the controversy, the Fourth Estate, and whether an internet strewn with memes and adorable cat videos are all we can expect from the future of digital content.

  • 2
    Generation X: Douglas Coupland

    Canadian author Douglas Coupland is best known for his 1991 international bestselling novel Generation X, a novel which made the namesake term so famous it has been used to categorise the youths in articles written by anyone older than Generation X ever since.

    But Douglas Coupland is more than just a man who popularised a catchphrase, he’s also a respected pop culture artist (he has been an artist in residence at the Google Cultural Institute in Paris), a Financial Times columnist and a writer of thirteen novels, two short stories collections and seven works of non-fiction.

    Douglas sits down with Vincent Heeringa to discuss his ideas about modernity, his relationship to work and the current state of Generation X.

  • 1
    Less is More: Andrew Sean Greer

    The 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction winner Andrew Sean Greer sits down to talk to Noelle McCarthy about his latest, award-winning novel Less, his past work and the “the wisdom to be found in the fabric of a life”.

    Greer’s most recent novel follows a 50-something year old gay writer travelling around the world and looking for meaning. The Pulitzer judges called the book “a generous book, musical in its prose and expansive in its structure and range, about growing older and the essential nature of love.”

    Greer’s work generally focuses on the ideas of time, loss, love and family, and has been praised by the likes of fellow Pulitzer Prize winner John Updike, The Washington Post and the New York Times.

  •   shares
Tap and select Add to Home Screen to access Concrete Playground easily next time. x