Photo: Supplied

Star literary line-up at the 24th Going West Festival


Books beach and bush: The ten-day long Going West Festival is back for another year.

The 24th annual Going West Festival is back, with literary events featuring some of New Zealand’s best-known and emerging writers speaking in west Auckland’s theatres, halls and beaches.

Proudly championing exclusively New Zealand writers, the festival is a staple in Auckland’s literary scene, opening this Friday September 6 at the Titirangi War Memorial Hall with poetry from Apirana Taylor (Ngāti Porou, Te Whānau ā Apanui, Ngāti Ruanui,Ngāti Pākehā), and a keynote address from legendary novelist Elizabeth Knox.

The night will be livened up with music from The Bellbirds: Don McGlashan, Sean James Donnelly (SJD), Victoria Kelly and Sandy Mill.

The festival’s ten days seek to cut through the clutter and facilitate honest conversations about issues facing New Zealand and the world right now - from climate change to kauri dieback right in the heart of west Auckland (an issue to be explored by Gary Stalker in a solo performance called Ghost Trees).

The festival line-up includes renowned established authors including Witi Ihimaera, who will speak about his second memoir, Native Son, Alan Duff discussing his views on ‘where to from here’ for Māori, Sir Bob Harvey, Janet McAllister, Tulia Thompson, Craig cliff and Rosetta Allen among others, as well as the poet Paula Green and columnist David Slack.

Emerging authors Kirsten Warner (The Sound of breaking Glass) and Carl Shuker (A Mistake) will talk about their award-winning work and Michele A’Court will discuss the history of Kiwi comedy with Funny As authors Philip Matthews and Paul Horan.

Going West’s 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.”

The Festival has a hub at the Titirangi Theatre and Lounge in the Lopdell Precinct is the go-to spot for language-lovers throughout the festival, for waiata, poetry, creative writing workshops, speed scrabble and more throughout the Festival period.

The Word Up! annual slam poetry competition is back again, with the final opening the festival this Friday. The festival will close on September 15 with a creative afternoon of art and poetry on Piha beach, with artist Tracey Tawhiao, poet Karlo Mila, kaumatua Pita Turei and beach tagger David Walter Hilliam.

The full Going West Writers Festival programme can be found at the Going West website. For tickets head here or phone 09 361 1000.

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