Auckland Writers & Readers Festival - a bluffer's guide

by Guy Somerset / 08 May, 2012
It's homework time.
There's nothing worse than standing in the queue for the Aotea Centre bar and ... actually, there's nothing worse than standing in the queue for the Aotea Centre bar period. But it won't help matters if someone starts engaging you in conversation about Caroline Moorehead and all you can do is look back blankly, thinking "Caroline who?" It certainly won't help if Caroline Moorehead herself starts engaging you in conversation - a not-unheard-of phenomenon with authors at the Auckland Writers & Readers Festival, which gets fully into the swing of things on Thursday.

Here, then, is a handy last-minute crammer to help you avoid embarrassing yourself - all drawn from Listener reviews and interviews.

Caroline Moorehead? Easy.

Witi Ihimaera you will know - and if you don't then you probably shouldn't be at the festival in the first place. However, it won't hurt brushing up with this, this and - sorry - this.

Martin Edmond will be talking about Dark Night: Walking with McCahon, while Gregory O'Brien talks about A Micronaut in the Wide World: The Imaginative Life and Times of Graham Percy.

Greg McGee is there with his new novel, Love & Money (that review's by Iain Sharp, by the way). He'll be talking about his crime-writing alter-ego, Alix Bosco, too.

Don't miss Man Booker Prize-nominated Irish writer Sebastian Barry.

Irishmen abound. Along with Barry, there's: Eoin Colfer (or if you're short of time) and Roddy Doyle.

Dame Anne Salmond (or if you prefer) will be talking about Bligh: William Bligh in the South Seas.

Emily Perkins ... need I say more? If you must. And if you really must. (Here's a novel extract, too - and not from The Forrests. Whatever happened to this one, Emily?)

Listener editor Pamela Stirling will be introducing Stella Rimington.

Listener contributor David Larsen will probably be avoiding Geoff Dyer. (And not just because we seem to have called him Geo.) Jane Westaway should be all right, though, on the basis of this and this.

There will be Man Booker Prize-shortlisted AD Miller.

Peter Wells will be talking about The Hungry Heart: Journeys with William Colenso and Nicky Hager about Other People's Wars.

Oliver Jeffers and Jeffrey Eugenides are there.

So, too, are Paul Moon (or you could chew over this), Mal Peet and Jesmyn Ward.

Anthony McCarten (an interview erroneously bylined as being by David Larsen when it should be Michael Larsen) has not one, but two novels: In the Absence of Heroes and his reworked Brilliance (reviewed in this coming weekend's Listener).

Historians Jenny Carlyon and Diana Morrow will be talking about Remuera and environs.

Dame Fiona Kidman brings her latest short-story collection, The Trouble with Fire, but will doubtless touch on much more besides, given parts one and two of her memoirs.

It's not all the written word: there's The Orator director Tusi Tamasese and jazz musician Nathan Haines (with brother Joel).

Dick Frizzell is a painter, but one not averse to words, and author of All About the Image.

Various poets will be paying tribute to Hone Tuwhare via the contents of last year's Small Holes in the Silence: Collected Poems.

Good to see the locally undersung Brian Boyd there.

Listener sports columnist Paul Thomas will be wearing his crime-writing hat (a trilby?).

Joan Druett will be talking about Tupaia: The Remarkable Story of Captain Cook's Polynesian Navigator.

Doris De Pont will be painting everything Black.

Paula Morris talks about Rangatira and Stephanie Johnson about The Open World (you'll have to buy a copy of the current issue of the Listener for that one) - historical novels about ancestors, the both of them.

Blue Smoke author Chris Bourke (and here) is our guide to Auckland After Hours.

And then there is ... Maurice Gee. A rare sighting these days, and last encountered in the Listener here.

In the Listener this coming weekend, you'll find Barbara Arrowsmith-Young talking about her autobiography, The Woman Who Changed Her Brain.

But this should give you enough preparatory reading to be going on with.

Obviously, we haven't covered everyone (such slackers), and if you encounter, say, Lawrence Krauss or Chandran Nair in the queue for the bar you're on your own. If you encounter Kathy Lette, I shouldn't worry: you're unlikely to get a word in edgewise.

MostReadArticlesCollectionWidget - Most Read - Used in articles
AdvertModule - Advert - M-Rec / Halfpage


How empathy can make the world a worse place
71431 2017-04-24 00:00:00Z Social issues

How empathy can make the world a worse place

by Catherine Woulfe

Many of us think that high empathy makes you a good person, but giving in to this “gut wrench” can make the world worse, says a Yale psychologist.

Read more
For the Fallen: Remembering those lost to war
71473 2017-04-24 00:00:00Z History

For the Fallen: Remembering those lost to war

by Fiona Terry

Every day before sundown, a Last Post ceremony is held at the National War Memorial in Wellington, to remember those lost in World War I.

Read more
Film review: Ghost in the Shell
71490 2017-04-24 00:00:00Z Movies

Film review: Ghost in the Shell

by Russell Baillie

Nothing dates faster than a past idea of the future.

Read more
The rate of technological change is now exceeding our ability to adapt
71303 2017-04-24 00:00:00Z Technology

The rate of technological change is now exceeding …

by Peter Griffin

A decade on from the revolution of 2007, the pace and rate of change are exceeding our capacity to adapt to new technologies.

Read more
Government tests electric limo for Crown fleet
71520 2017-04-24 00:00:00Z Technology

Government tests electric limo for Crown fleet

by Benedict Collins

An electric-hybrid limousine is being put through its paces to see whether it's up to the job of transporting politicians and VIPs around the country.

Read more
What growing antibiotic resistance means for livestock and the environment
71360 2017-04-23 00:00:00Z Social issues

What growing antibiotic resistance means for lives…

by Sally Blundell

Animals kept in close proximity, like battery chickens, are at risk of infectious disease outbreaks that require antibiotic use.

Read more
The little-known story of Ernest Rutherford's secret anti-submarine work in WWI
71418 2017-04-23 00:00:00Z History

The little-known story of Ernest Rutherford's secr…

by Frank Duffield

Famous for his work splitting the atom, Ernest Rutherford also distinguished himself in secret anti-submarine research that helped the Allies win WWI.

Read more
Book review: Larchfield by Polly Clark
71160 2017-04-23 00:00:00Z Books

Book review: Larchfield by Polly Clark

by Nicholas Reid

Poet WH Auden stars in time-hurdling novel – as a life coach to a lonely mum.

Read more