News & Updates

2019 Schools Programme - dates and first authors announced!

2019 Schools Programme - dates and first authors announced!

Auckland Writers Festival is excited to announce the following inspirational writers for the 2019 Schools Programme 14-16 May, with more exceptional authors to be announced on 7 February.


BAFTA and MOBO award-winning hip-hop artist, writer, poet and historian Akala fuses unique rap/rock/electro-punk sound with fierce storytelling. As well as performing his own shows, Akala has toured with the likes of Jay-Z, M.I.A. and Damian Marley/Nas. In his upcoming YA book The Dark Lady, the first in a series, Akala brings Shakespeare and his characters to life in the visceral, violent and daring world of the Renaissance. He is well known for his compelling speaking and journalism, is the founder of The Hip-hop Shakespeare Company, a music theatre production company, and the author of non-fiction work Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire.


Multi-award-winning novelist and illustrator Sally Gardner has been translated into more than 22 languages and writes books for all ages. Her interest in fairy tales is evident in many of her books including new title Mr Tiger, Betsy and the Blue Moon. The critically acclaimed Tinder, illustrated by David Roberts, is a modern day telling of the Hans Christian Andersen classic, set in the Thirty Years War. Her latest YA novel My Side of the Diamond is an extraordinary tale about the search for love. Being dyslexic, Sally did not learn to read or write until she was 14 and is the founder of NUword, an organisation championing positive debate about dyslexia.


Parris Goebel’s PARRI$ Young Queen charts her journey to becoming an internationally acclaimed dancer and choreographer who has worked with some of the biggest stars in the music business including Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Justin Bieber and Janet Jackson. Exploring the realisation of a dream and all the frustrations, fears, obstacles and lessons learned along the way, it is a book to inspire. Parris is actively involved in Sisters United, the charity she founded with her family, dedicated to mentoring Polynesian and Māori teenage girls throughout New Zealand.


Writer Eileen Merriman works full-time as a consultant haematologist and is the author of the highly successful YA novels, Pieces of You and Catch Me When You Fall, both of which were shortlisted for the 2018 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. Lauded for her sensitive and graceful handling of teen issues, she will soon publish her third YA novel, Invisibly Breathing - a moving story about unconventional love, bullying and being true to yourself. Her writing has appeared in a number of national and international journals and anthologies and she has received numerous awards for her short fiction.


Markus Zusak is the author of six books, including the YA international bestsellers The Messenger and The Book Thief. Translated into more than 40 languages and first released in 2005, The Book Thief has sold over 16 million copies, spent a total of 375 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and was adapted into a major motion picture in 2013. Markus won the Margaret A. Edwards award in 2014 for his contribution to YA literature published in the United States. His adult novel Bridge of Clay has been eagerly anticipated and is out this month. Supported by Australian High Commission.

VENUE: Aotea Centre, Auckland City.

SCHEDULE: Each day runs from 9.30am to 2.30pm and includes four age-appropriate sessions.

Sessions: $12 per student per day (four sessions)
Writing workshops: $15 per student per workshop
Teachers attend free.

The full programme will be announced on 7 February 2019 when tickets go on sale. The Festival reserves the right to vary artists and programme.

For enquiries about the Schools Programme or Transport Subsidy please contact Auckland Writers Festival: 09 376 8074 or

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