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Auckland Writers Festival

Last weekend was a flurry of activity with the Writer’s Festival getting underway in Auckland. This is by far one of my favourite weekends in the city and this year was no exception. As soon as the programme comes out, I scour through it looking for exciting events that will inspire and cajole inspiration out of me and this year did not disappoint.

Usually I try and attend a workshop as well as other events, this year I signed up to go to Stella Duffy‘s workshop on Writing Queer. It was the first time I’d seen a workshop aimed at the LGBTQ+ community and as I’m launching into the world of Queer Writing this year I was keen to hear what I could learn. What I got though, was a morning of improv, laughs and some interesting writing exercises. I didn’t know what I was going to get from this workshop but I left inspired and being able to claim my own status as a writer.

That evening, I went to see Aime Kaufmann talk about sci-fi and Illuminae, I hadn’t read the book beforehand but I have heard good reviews about the audiobook and as she was one of the few Young Adult writers in the line up I was keen to see someone who dealt with genre. Safe to say, she was delightfully funny, insightful on writing sci-fi and made me happy that I’m writing within this genre.

On Saturday, I went to a panel on The Art of the Essay with Roxane Gay, Ashleigh Young and Teju Cole. What surprised me was this event ended up being standing room only for an hour. People crowded the back of the chairs keen to hear what these three voices had to hear about how to interpret life through essays. Teju Cole recited a funny excerpt from his work, Ashleigh Young showed wisdom beyond her years, but it was Roxane Gay who left me with a quote that will stay with me:

The way you narrate your life matters, and deserves to be heard – Roxane Gay

 

My last event of the weekend was in the ASB theatre again with Roxane Gay, she quickly became the highlight of the festival for me. Admittedly I have Bad Feminist  still on my TBR pile but now I want to delve into her work and see the world through her eyes. Her hour-long session ended in a standing ovation which was incredible to see. Roxane left the crowd with so many gems of wisdom that it was hard not to be inspired:

“If you’re reading to find friends, you’re in deep trouble. We read to find life, in all its possibilities.”

The festival was full of inspiration and joy as always and I can’t wait till we get to go again next year.

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