Friday, May 25, 2018




The 2018 Programme was our most ambitious yet: hosting over 230 novelists, playwrights, song writers, scientists, historians, children’s writers, illustrators, journalists and poets from all over the world.
With a record attendance of 74,000 this Festival was the most diverse yet, spanning continents and cultures and reflecting the interests of people across all age groups. Audiences came from all over New Zealand and across the world, and left inspired by stories of change and hope, and a deeper understanding of the role they, as individuals, can play in the world.

And now, straight into the planning for next year...

We hope to make next year’s event even better and you can help us do that by giving us your feedback. We would be very grateful if you would take a few minutes to complete a short survey about your 2018 Festival experience, which will help to inform our planning for 2019. 

The demographic information we collect also helps us to secure grants and funding for future Festivals, so we are extremely grateful for your help.

To thank you for your support and feedback, everyone who completes the survey below will go into a draw to win 10 free tickets* to the next Auckland Writers Festival, 14-19 May 2019. 

*10 General Event tickets. These can be used by one person or shared among friends and can be redeemed for one event, or multiple events. 
If you would like to talk in more detail, to discuss this year's event or to make suggestions for the future, please don't hesitate to contact us by phone on (09) 376 8074 or by email at

Best wishes,
Auckland Writers Festival team 

An important grief story

The Gift Horse
by Sophie Siers
Illustrated by Katharine White

The Gift Horse, written by Sophie Siers and illustrated by Katharine White, is the rural tale of a girl named Olivia and her family, following the loss of her mother. It is an important grief story, with lovely, relatable descriptions of sadness such as - her bed where she can pull the duvet over her head and make the world silent around her.
and expressive metaphors like -
    She feels like there's a balloon in her chest which is blown up so tight that there's no room for anything else. It squishes right up into her throat; sometimes she feels like she can't breathe.
    The portrayals of feelings as they change - questioning why, being angry and feeling numb - will be so recognizable and validating to children experiencing loss or sorrow. All the grief stages, and the importance of one's unique walk through them, are thoughtfully referenced through Olivia's emotions.
    People just don't understand. She would cry, but there aren't any tears. The big
balloon has pushed everything away and her heart feels empty inside.

    In this backdrop, the arrival of a young horse, himself traumatized – a parallel to Olivia's character – is an uplifting, hopeful storyline. It's a special connection to Olivia's mother, who also had a way with horses, and a path towards feeling close with her again.  It's also a chance for Olivia to find some catharsis and to help herself through this journey, in her own time and her own way.

    The overall themes of grief and the healing of time and love are well handled in The Gift Horse. The illustrations really support the feelings, with dark pastel scribbles isolating bleak moments and whirls of moving, colourful pastel giving movement and life to turnaround scenes. They're appropriate for children in their style, as is the simple text, so there is a wide range in age appeal.
​    The ideas are universal, helpful and, of course, we all love a happy, hopeful ending.

Review by Jenny Palmer
​Title: The Gift Horse
Author: Sophie Seirs.    Illustrator: Katharine White
Publisher: Millwood Press
ISBN: 9780473408558
RRP: $19.99
Available: bookshops

Are Friends Electric - Book launch invitation

You are warmly invited to the launch of

Are Friends Electric?
by Helen Heath

on Thursday 14 June, 5.30pm for 6pm start,
at Te Auaha, 65 Dixon St, Te Aro.
Level 1 - volunteers will show you the way!
All welcome.

Helen will be in conversation with poet Maria McMillan.
Books will be available for purchase courtesy of Unity Books.
Are Friends Electric? p/b, $25

Hellholes of the World

Hellholes of the World
A Love Story
David G. Brown

  Publication date: May 2018,
  978 047341 782 6, paperback, 344 pp
  maps, rrp: $35

In an age of mass tourism, aspirations to make voyages of discovery increasingly degenerate into tramping in the footsteps of the masses, with interaction reduced to incessant facebook posts. How different the experience of inveterate traveller David G. Brown, who set out on the backpacking trail in the early 1980s and in his heart never really left.

Hellholes of the World compiles writings over three decades of travel until his untimely death – some published in magazines, others now finally landing on the printed page. Part memoir, part travelogue, part reportage, it voyages from Singapore in the 1980s to Tanzania and Kilimanjaro in 2014, taking in the familiar (Hamilton, Phoenix, Rotterdam) and the still exotic (Amazonas, Belarus, Rwanda).

Short ‘postcards’ from some choice hellholes intersperse chapters that detail and dissect the unglamorous realities of long-term travel, and include unvarnished reflections on his New Zealand homeland and his adopted homeland of Finland.

David G Brown was born in Tuakau, New Zealand, in 1962.He lived in New Zealand, Israel, Denmark and Finland, where he worked in publishing, English language teaching, and as a writer and journalist. His articles have been widely published in New Zealand and internationally. He died in Helsinki in 2015.
Hellholes of the World is published by David’s brother Neil through Archetype and distributed by Upstart.

How ro communicate with someone who has dementia


How to Communicate with Someone Who Has Dementia


by Angela Caughey

with a foreword by Dr Chris Perkins, FRANZP

Published by Calico Publishing, RRP $35.00, 11 May 2018

It shows carers how to express their message effectively and helps them interpret more easily what the person with dementia is trying to convey, so that frustrations and stress are minimised, and the challenges of dementia are managed in a positive and respectful way.

·         Practical strategies given throughout

·         What works and what doesn’t, and why

·         Main types of dementia and effect on communication

·         Effective use of language

·         Critical listening skills

·         Interpreting body language

·         Tips and strategies that are easy to implement

·         Benefits for the carer and the person with dementia

·         Endorsed by the Neurological Foundation of New Zealand.

     Following on the international success of Dealing Daily with Dementia, the author here turns her focus to one of the most challenging aspects of this illness – How to Communicate with Someone Who Has Dementia.  

Dealing Daily with Dementia has helped thousands of people in New Zealand. It has been a great international success, too. The German edition received the best possible commendation by the Stiftung Gesundheit (Public Health Foundation), an independent German medical body that assesses publications on health-related issues. This is the first time in the German publisher’s 60+ years of medical publishing that this has happened! 

Angela lives in Auckland.

Victoria University Press warmly invites you to a poetry reading

Victoria University Press warmly invites you to a poetry reading
to celebrate the release of
Winter Eyes
by Harry Ricketts

on Thursday 31 May, 5.30pm for a 6pm start
at Vic Books, Kelburn Parade, Victoria University of Wellington.

Come along and hear Harry read from his brand new poetry collection alongside Anna Jackson, Hannah Mettner,
James Brown and Therese Lloyd.

Refreshments will be served.
All welcome.

Winter Eyes, p/b, $25

Change to escape! programme

Organisers of Escape! in Tauranga advise that, due to unforeseen circumstances, Paula Morris is not able to appear at the June 1-4 festival.

Her place on the Stroppy Women panel on Saturday, June 2 will be taken by Tracey Slaughter, a creative writing teacher at Waikato University and author of the 2016 short story collection ‘deleted scenes for lovers’.
The book, longlisted for last year’s Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize, includes ‘Consent’, a story written as a response to the outcome of the Louise Nicholas rape trial and the notion of consent being discussed at the time.

“I don’t know that I’m all that stroppy in real life,” Slaughter says, “but in my writing I’m confrontational and unafraid of tough subjects.”
Living in Cambridge with her family, she plays drums in a covers band in smalltown pub venues.

Other Stroppy Women panellists are longtime activist and former Green MP Sue Bradford and former longtime Tauranga City Councillor turned community activist Mary Dillon. The session, which takes place at the X Space in Baycourt Theatre, will be chaired by Michele A’Court.
For full details of this and the rest of the Escape! programme go to

The Bookseller

Doug Young
Publishing director Doug Young is leaving Transworld at the end of May, after more than 17 years with the company, following a restructure.
World of David Walliams
HarperCollins Children's Books is to bring out its first brand extension publishing for kids' favourite David Walliams, with The World of David Walliams: Book of Stuff, illustrated by Tony Ross.
Hay Vote 100
Books by J K Rowling, Virginia Woolf and Yaa Gyasi have been nominated by the public to feature in Hay Festival and The Pool's campaign to celebrate 100 books by women from the last 100 years.
Vahni Capildeo
The shortlist for the 2018 Forward Prize for Best Collection (£10,000) includes US poet laureate Tracy K Smith and Vahni Capildeo, who won the same prize in 2016.
Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama is sharing never-before-seen photos of herself growing up to promote her forthcoming memoir Becoming (Penguin). 
Harry & Meghan: The Royal Wedding Book
Pavilion Books imprint Pitkin is claiming a publishing first with Harry & Meghan: The Royal Wedding Book, to be in stores less than three weeks after the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Alicia Keyes
A star-studded cast including singer Alicia Keys, actress Ashley Judd and "Hamilton" star Phillipa Soo are lined up to narrate the Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls audiobook.
Tangleweed and Brine
Author Deirdre Sullivan and illustrator Karen Vaughan have won the 28th Children’s Books Ireland Book of the Year Award for their "remarkable" book Tangleweed and Brine (Little Island Books).
Liz Jolly
Liz Jolly has been named as the new chief librarian at The British Library, succeeding Caroline Brazier who is stepping down after 15 years in the role.
Stephanie Butland
Bonnier Zaffre has struck a deal to publish two more novels by Stephanie Butland.
Igloo Books
Igloo Books, a division of Bonnier Publishing, is partnering with Ameet on a series of Lego Star Wars titles.