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Kathleen Drumm appointed Chief Executive of Auckland Writers Festival | Waituhi o Tāmaki

Kathleen Drumm appointed Chief Executive of Auckland Writers Festival | Waituhi o Tāmaki

The Board of Auckland Writers Festival is delighted to announce the appointment of Kathleen Drumm as Auckland Writers Festival | Waituhi o Tāmaki's new Chief Executive.

Since 2019, Drumm has been Chief Executive at the Hundertwasser Art Centre and Whangārei Art Museum where she has successfully delivered this significant new cultural destination which opened in February this year. Drumm was instrumental in crucial fund-raising for the project.

Prior to that, Drumm worked as a Director of the Toronto International Film Festival, and at Screen Australia and NZ Film Commission.

Drumm is thrilled to be taking on the role.

"Fuelled by curatorial excellence and dedicated audiences, Auckland Writers Festival has risen to prominence as a vibrant international literary event. I'm honoured to be leading the Festival into its next phase and, on behalf of New Zealand book lovers, to be giving the stage to the world's finest authors and speakers,"says Drumm.

Kathleen is no stranger to the literary world, working in publishing at Random House and Hodder & Stoughton in sales and marketing roles early in her career.

Kathleen takes up her role in early November which will include finalising the appointment of a new Artistic Director.

Drumm’s appointment follows the resignation of Festival Director, Anne O’Brien after eleven years at the helm which was announced in June this year. O’Brien delivered her final festival in August this year to great acclaim from audiences.

Chair of Auckland Writers Festival Leigh Melville says O’Brien leaves behind a legacy of success and growth. “The board thanks Anne for her tremendous contribution” says Melville. The board is excited about the next chapter of the festival with Drumm stepping into the role of Chief Executive.

“It’s a mark of the very high regard the festival is held in both here and internationally, that we’ve been able to attract someone of Kathleen’s calibre to the role. The board looks forward to supporting her as we work towards launching and staging the festival in 2023,” says Melville.

The inaugural Auckland Writers Festival was held in 1999. Founded by award-winning Kiwi novelist, poet and playwright Stephanie Johnson and the late filmmaker and historian Peter Wells, it delivered a modest programme of 40 events to around 5,200 people. The festival has grown to become one of the most highly anticipated cultural events in the New Zealand landscape, and one of the best attended literary festivals, per capita, in the world.

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