Monday, June 11, 2012
AUCKLAND WRITERS AND READERS FESTIVAL - Report from Ponsonby News
Deirdre Roelants report -
This annual Festival celebrating books and ideas has a growing national audience. This year’s programme showcased twenty three international writers alongside more than ninety New Zealanders in sessions covering everything from serious fiction to popular reads, poetry and spoken word performances, science, history, religion, biography, food and wine, film, art, music and fashion.
The highly successful ‘True Stories Told Live’ format, developed by the NZ Book Council, returned to launch this year’s Festival at the New Zealand Listener Gala Night on Thursday 10 May. A number of this year’s stellar guests delivered an hour and half of live and true storytelling that was MC’d by Carol Hirschfeld who is no stranger to New Zealand’s television audience.
Carole Beu’s life is immersed in the world of books and reading. She is the owner of The Women’s Bookshop on Ponsonby Road, a member of the board of Booksellers New Zealand and a trustee of the Auckland Writers & Readers Festival. Carol also regularly reviews books on the radio and for Triangle Television’s Let’s Talk programme.
Ian Wedde has published dozens of works including collections of poetry, novels, art catalogues, and a monograph on the artist Bill Culbert. As New Zealand’s current Poet Laureate he promotes the reading and writing of poetry to both children and adults. He contributed to the Festival’s schools programme and participated in the Hone Tuwhare tribute.
Albert Wendt, novelist, poet, short story writer, playwright and painter, is Emeritus Professor of English at The University of Auckland and he also joined other poets in the tribute to Hone Tuwhare, our best loved poet ever.
Finlay Macdonald is a widely respected contributor to various newspapers and publications around the country. He is the former editor of the Listener and commissioning editor for Penguin Books, and now writes columns, and social commentary. Greg McGee talked with him about his genre-wide writing for the screen, stage and page. Finlay also spoke with Jesmyn Ward who the ‘Publishers Weekly’ has labelled “a refreshing new voice in American
Brian Edwards is one of New Zealand’s most respected broadcasters and writers. His career spans every branch of the media - columnist, author, radio and television interviewer, media commentator and consultant. ‘An evening with Roddy Doyle‘ would have had to be the highlight of the Festival when Brian joined the famous Irish writer for readings and conversation.
No book festival would be complete without book blogger supremo, Graham Beattie’s input. Graham is a full-time book blogger and reviewer following a highly successful career as a publisher. His blog is one of the country’s most read, receiving in excess of 10,000 visitors a week. He talked to award-winning crime writer, Peter James about the author’s successful career whose books have sold more than eleven million copies worldwide.
Stephanie Johnson is the author of two collections of poetry, three collections of short stories and nine novels. She is a founding trustee of the Auckland Writers & Readers Festival, and its acting artistic director. Her latest book, The Open World was published in April 2012. Stephanie chaired a session with Charlotte Wood, a rising star of Australian fiction. Charlotte also writes a popular food blog and has just published a book of food writing, ‘Love and Hunger’.
For the Sunday Gallery Series, award winning journalist, Josie McNaught introduced, Dick Frizzell and Doris De Pont. Dick guided the audience through a selection of paintings from his book ‘It’s all about the Image’ and explained why they have resonated with him. Doris provided an illustrated romp through the history of iconic black outfits throughout New Zealand fashion from the pioneering women of The Piano era, to sports teams, the Fred Dagg singlet and leading contemporary designers.
Jenny Carlyon has worked as an independent historian on a variety of projects. She is the co-author with Diana Morrow of ‘Urban Village: A History of Ponsonby, Freemans Bay and St Mary’s Bay’. Jenny presented a session on their more recent book ‘A Fine Prospect: A History of Remuera, Meadowbank and St Johns’.
So there we have it, a run-down on eleven local residents from Ponsonby’s wider area who contributed to one of New Zealand’s major cultural events. (DEIRDRE ROELANTS)
P O Box 47-282, Ponsonby, Auckland, NZ.
67,000 readers each month (Nielsen Media)
Have you read PONSONBY NEWS online? We publish the issue on our website - before the issue hits Ponsonby Road!
PN DEADLINE - always 20th of the month.