Auckland Writers Festival announces new Artistic Director

Auckland Writers Festival Announces New Artistic Director

Published: Friday 2 June, 2023


Auckland Writers Festival | Waituhi O Tāmaki is thrilled to announce one of the UK’s leading literary industry talents as its new Artistic Director – ushering in a bold and exciting new era for New Zealand’s largest and most anticipated annual festival of books and ideas.

Lyndsey Fineran, Deputy Head of Programming, international programme and partnerships lead for one of the UK’s most prolific and prestigious arts events, The Times and Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival, will join the Auckland Writers Festival as its new Artistic Director, effective 1 August 2023.

Fineran has been recognised as an outstanding industry talent. She is the youngest board member of the British Arts Festivals Association, a judge for the 2022 Desmond Elliot Prize, and is an alumnus of The Bookseller’s influential ‘Rising Stars’ programme which identifies and promotes the publishing world’s dynamic figures and future industry leaders. She has a track record for securing some of the most distinguished and high-profile names on Cheltenham’s stage such as Stephen King, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Isabel Allende, and has spearheaded initiatives to highlight youth talent and diversity on stage, including ’Lit Crawl Cheltenham’ and ‘Off the Page’.

Within her commitment to international programming, Fineran has been a key champion of New Zealand writing and has worked in partnership with Creative NZ and local literary festivals to showcase writers such as Catherine Chidgey, Chris Tse and Ruby Solly on Cheltenham’s platforms.

Fineran’s appointment follows on from Anne O’Brien, who held the role for over eleven years until 2022 - and Bridget van der Zijjp, who was the Festival’s 2023 Artistic Curator, bringing together this year’s successful programme.

Kathleen Drumm, Chief Executive of the Auckland Writers Festival says “Lyndsey brings a passion for literature, a global outlook, and a strong network of industry relationships to the position. She is brimming with ideas and experience and will lead a diverse team of creative programmers across a range of initiatives.

Lyndsey Fineran says “After 10 happy and fruitful years at Cheltenham, I am delighted to be taking up the role of Artistic Director at Auckland Writers Festival. Ambitious, internationally-minded programming that has an inclusive and representative approach, along with a commitment to opening up literary festivals to a wider range of writers and audiences, have been central principles of my work. I am looking forward to applying this approach to my new role in Auckland as part of an excellent team. I will be sad to say goodbye to the Cheltenham family and colleagues in the UK - but I leave feeling immensely proud of my time there, and ready to deliver an exciting new phase for Auckland Writers Festival.

The next Auckland Writers Festival will take place from 14 – 19 May 2024 at the Aotea Centre and select venues in Auckland.

Auckland Writers Festival 2024

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