Feminist Gloria Steinem will talk at Auckland Writers Festival

Writer and activist Gloria Steinem is headlining the Auckland Writers Festival.
FRED PROUSER

Writer and activist Gloria Steinem is headlining the Auckland Writers Festival.

Gender politics is firmly on the agenda of this year's Auckland Writers Festival, with leading feminist activists and writers Gloria Steinem, Jeanette Winterson and Susie Orbach topping the bill.

Other notables in the 2016 lineup announced on Wednesday night include Sir David Hare, Jane Smiley, Paula Hawkins, Marlon James and Herman Koch.

Festival director Anne O'Brien said she was optimistic that the "exciting" programme would draw the same large crowds as last year, when a record 62,000 people attended events throughout the week.

Marlon James, winner of the 2015 Man Booker Prize for his novel A Brief History of Seven Killings.
Supplied

Marlon James, winner of the 2015 Man Booker Prize for his novel A Brief History of Seven Killings.

The biggest drawcard last year was Japanese writer Haruki Murakami's visit.

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Pulitzer prize winner Jane Smiley.
Michael Lionstar

Pulitzer prize winner Jane Smiley.

 

 

 

One of the more unusual offerings this year is Emergency Poet Deborah Alma and her partner James Sheard (Nurse Verse), who will dispense healing poems from an ambulance parked in Aotea Square.

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"Our brief is to engage with the broadest possible audience," said O'Brien. "There are iconic people from the landscape like Gloria Steinem, Jeanette Winterson, David Hare - obviously brilliant - but there are also real unknowns - Emma Sky, John Christophe Rufin - who are wonderful people."

Two of the attendees, Hanya Yanagibara and Pettina Gappah, have just been longlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction.

Singer and politician Peter Garrett and Bill Oddie of the The Goodies are also attending.

The Schools Programme benefits from the talents of young adult and children's writers Michael Grant, Liz Pichon, Edward Carey and John Boyne.

O'Brien said the festival had developed an international reputation for the warmth and engagement of audiences.

"It can absolutely stand its ground against the top festivals. [Past attendees] Alexander McCall Smith, Sandi Toksvig, Anthony Horowitz, Carol Ann Duffy say it's one of the two or three best festivals in the world."

The Auckland Writers Festival runs from May 10 to 15 at the Aotea Centre.

 

 - Stuff

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