A triumphant return to the Aotea stage for this most-loved Festival event, which signifies the start of three full days of public programming. Surprise and delight will ensue as eight terrific writers take the stage to tell a true, no script- no- prop, personal story using ‘stranger than fiction’ as a prompt.
This year’s champions include poet and comms queen Kate Camp, current Poet Laureate David Eggleton, Iranian-NZ filmmaker and essayist Ghazaleh Golbakhsh, literary legend Witi Ihimaera, Australian literary prize-winner Laura Jean McKay, comedian and author Tom Sainsbury and poet Aigagalefili Fepulea’i Tapua’i.
French-style photographer and influencer Garance Doré will be making an appearance via a pre-recorded segment.
Supported by Craigs Investment Partners.
Poet, essayist, and literary commentator Kate Camp is the winner of an NZ Post Book Awards Poetry Award and has been the recipient of both the CNZ Berlin Writers’ Residency and the Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship. Her latest book is How to Be Happy Though Human: New and Selected Poems.
Garance Doré is a photographer, illustrator, writer and founder of style blog Doré. The winner of a CFDA Eugenia Sheppard Media Award, her debut book Love X Style X Life was a New York Times bestseller. Her most recent project is the weekly subscription newsletter L’Île.
Current NZ Poet Laureate David Eggleton is a poet, writer, and critic. He is the recipient of a Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement and won an Ockham NZ Poetry Award for Conch Trumpet. The Wilder Years is his new poetry collection.
Ghazaleh Golbakhsh is a writer, filmmaker, and Fulbright Scholar, and is currently completing her PhD in Creative Practice. The essay collection The Girl from Revolution Road details her childhood experiences in war-torn Iran as well as growing up as an immigrant in New Zealand.
Witi Ihimaera is the author of award-winning fiction, short stories, scripts, essays, memoirs, and libretto including The Whale Rider and The Matriarch. His latest book is Navigating the Stars: Māori Creation Myths, and he has collaborated on the play Witi’s Wa-hine, celebrating the wāhine of his stories.
Laura Jean McKay
Laura Jean McKay’s debut novel The Animals in That Country won the Victorian Prize for Literature in 2021. She is a lecturer in creative writing at Massey University, with a Ph.D. from the University of Melbourne focusing on literary animal studies.
Playwright, screenwriter, comedian, and actor Tom Sainsbury is co-creator of the TVNZ series Sextortion and also starred in Shortland Street, Wellington Paranormal, and The Educators. He is the face behind viral impersonations of NZ politicians, and the author of New Zealanders: The Field Guide.
Aigagalefili Fepulea’i Tapua’i.
Aigagalefili Fepulea’i Tapua’i is an award-winning published poet, orator and indigenous activist from South Auckland. Her work has appeared in the 2019 Poetry Yearbook New Zealand. In 2020 she was a guest speaker at the UN General Assembly.