Literary rock star Karl Ove Knausgård to headline the Auckland Writers Festival

by The Listener / 14 March, 2018
Karl Ove Knausgård.

Karl Ove Knausgård.

This year’s return of the Auckland Writers Festival brings the first-ever visit of Norwegian literary luminary Karl Ove Knausgård to our shores.

His six-part autobiography, audaciously titled My Struggle (Min Kamp, in Norwegian), proved a worldwide sensation and sent the author on speaking tours around the globe and on writing stints for the New York Times. A profile of Knausgård appears in next week’s Listener.

Joining Knausgård among the international guests are actor, writer and one half of That Mitchell and Webb Look Robert Webb, best-selling author of The Jane Austen Diaries Karen Joy Fowler, Cambodian refugee and poet Lang Leav, philosopher AC Grayling, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Amy Goldstein, former UN under-secretary Shashi Tharoor, prolific sci-fi writer Neal Stephenson, Bulgarian-New Zealander writer Kapka Kassabova and Diary of a Wimpy author Jeff Kinney.

Local talent includes Listener writer and memoirist Diana Wichtel, former staffer and cartoonist Tom Scott, anthropologist Dame Anne Salmond, comedian and author Michele A’Court, writer and critic C.K. Stead, poet laureate Selina Tusitala Marsh, the internationally renowned Lloyd Jones and many more.

The guest list – overseas writers coming to this year’s festival:

  • Jesse Blackadder: Australian novelist (Sixty Seconds, Chasing the Light).
  • Durga Chew-Bose: Canadian debut novelist (Too Much and Not the Mood).
  • David Christian: Australian-based, American-born historian (Big History: Between Nothing and Everything).
  • Lorin Clarke: Australian children’s writer and broadcaster, daughter of the late John Clarke.
  • Lisa Dwan: US-based Irish Beckett actress and lecturer.
  • David Eagleman: Stanford University neuroscientist and writer (The Runaway Species: How Human Creativity Remakes the World, The Brain: The Story of You).
  • Karen Joy Fowler: American writer of sci-fi, fantasy and literary fiction (The Jane Austen Book Club, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves).
  • Carlos Franz: Chilean writer (The Desert, Vampires' Lunch, If You Saw My Eyes).
  • Amy Goldstein: Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post journalist (Janesville: An American Story).
  • Jeff Goodell: Contributing editor to US Rolling Stone on energy and environmental issues. (How to Cool the Planet: Geoengineering and the Audacious Quest to Fix Earth’s Climate, The Water Will Come).
  • Rosemary Goring: Scottish journalist, historian and novelist (Scotland: The Autobiography: 2000 Years of Scottish History by Those Who Saw it Happen, After Flodden, Dacre’s War).
  • AC Grayling: British philosopher and prolific author. (The God Argument, The Age of Genius: The Seventeenth Century and the Birth of the Modern Mind, Democracy and its Crises).
  • Emma Mary Hall: Australian actress performing solo show We May Have to Choose.
  • Choman Hardi: contemporary Kurdish poet, translator and painter (Life for Us, Considering the Women).
  • Jane Harper: Australian thriller writer (The Dry, Force of Nature).
  • Peter Helliar: Australian television comedian turned children’s author (Frankie Fish).
  • Bonnie Sue Hitchcock: Alaskan-born Hokianga-based novelist (The Smell of Other Peoples’ Houses).
  • Hope Jahren: American geochemist-geobiologist and science writer (Lab Girl).
  • Kapka Kassabova: Bulgarian-born, onetime NZ-resident novelist, historian, travel writer and poet (Border).
  • AS King: American YA author (Still Life with Tornado, I Crawl Through It, Glory O'Brien's History of the Future, Reality Boy).
  • Jeff Kinney: American cartoonist and children’s book author (Diary of a Wimpy Kid series).
  • Karl Ove Knausgaard: High-profile Norwegian autobiographical novelist (My Struggle series, Seasons series).
  • Lang Leav: Former Cambodian refugee turned author and social media star (Lullabies, Sad Girls).
  • Alex Miller: Veteran Australian novelist (The Ancestor Game, Journey to the Stone Country, Conditions of Faith, Lovesong, Autumn Laing).
  • Eileen Myles: American punk poet and novelist whose work has appeared in Transparent, the show created by girlfriend Jill Soloway (Afterglow [a dog memoir], Cool for You, Chelsea Girls).
  • Madeleine O’Dea: Australian journalist with long experience in China (The Phoenix Years).
  • Chris Riddell: Former British Children’s Laureate and cartoonist for The Observer (Goth Girl, Ghost of a Mouse, Ottoline series).
  • Alex Ross: Classical music critic for The New Yorker (The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century, Listen to This).
  • Neal Stephenson: American sci-fi author, game designer and futurist (The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O, README).
  • Terese Svoboda: American poet and novelist (Bohemian Girl, Anything That Burns You).
  • Alan Taylor: Scottish journalist and founding editor of Scottish Review of Books. Also a judge in this year’s Ockham New Zealand Book Awards Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize (The Assassin’s Cloak: An Anthology of the World’s Best Diarists, Glasgow: An Autobiography and Appointment in Arezzo: A Friendship with Muriel Spark).
  • Sharlene Teo: British-based Singaporean debut novelist (Ponti).
  • Shashi Tharoor: Indian politician and former diplomat who has written many works on his country’s history and culture (Inglorious Empire, Why I am a Hindu).
  • Ngugi wa Thiong’o: Kenya’s best known writer and former political prisoner whose debut novel, Weep Not Child was published in 1964 (Wresting with the Devil, Devil on the Cross).
  • Francis Wade: British journalist whose latest examines the origins of Buddhist nationalism and anti-Muslim sentiment in Myanmar (Myanmar’s Enemy Within).
  • Robert Webb: English comedian turned author (How not to be a Boy).
  • Alex Wheatle: British-Jamaican author who based his early books on his troubled teenage years in Brixton and was awarded an MBE for services to literature (Straight Outta Crongton, Liccle Bit, Crongton Knights).
  • Yiwei Xue: Montreal-based Chinese author and academic (Dr Bethune’s Children).
  • Jenny Zhang: Chinese-American writer, poet, and essayist whose 2017 debut short story collection was the first acquisition by Lena Dunham's imprint, Lenny Books (Sour Heart).


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