On 13 May, a group of 40 students accompanied by teachers, Carina Rumney and Laura McIntosh, and librarian Rosemary Middleton, travelled to the Auckland Writers Festival. Here is Year 11 student, Kell Crother’s account of the day.
The Auckland Writers Festival of 2021 was something to remember. I, along with my fellow students, arrived at TGC at 6:00am. I swore to myself then that this had better be worth it, making me wake up at 5:30am, and it was. The drive to Auckland was long, and not everyone had fully woken. The sunsets here are a thing of beauty, and if I hadn’t been so tired maybe I’d have better appreciated this one. Alas, I hadn’t had any sugar yet.
We got to Auckland, hopped off the bus, and almost got ourselves lost. But we had finally arrived. We saw four writers speak that day - Angie Thomas, Dan Salmon, Karlo Mila and Nathan Joe.
The general consensus was that Thomas was our favourite speaker, and for good reason. The author of The Hate U Give has a passion for writing, and she cares a lot about our generation - believes in us and our ability to do better than our predecessors. It shows in the way she talks, and in her books. I purchased a copy of The Hate U Give that day, read it on the bus back, and cried. Don’t judge me - it’s that good of a story.
The other authors brought interesting perspectives to the table as well. Salmon talked about his work with documentaries and how it melded with his writing. Mila told us her story as a Pasifika poet - how she never saw herself in poetry and how that made her determined to write her own. Joe spoke of his adventures into play-writing and spoken word - accompanied by humorous yet touching poetry.
With the sessions over, we started on the long journey home. It was dark when we got back - around 6:45pm - and I can say without a doubt that was the longest school day I’ve ever had.
The Auckland Writers Festival was an amazing experience. It is a space for celebrating authors, poets, playwrights - even people who open a blank google doc and stare at it for hours. The main lesson every single author pushed that day was to try. To write down the silly song lyrics you thought of, or the “cringey” poetry you crafted at 3:00am when you should have been sleeping. They talked about how it is never easy, but if you truly care about writing it will be worth it in the end.
So, next May (in spite of my hatred for early mornings) you will find me on that bus again. I hope to see you there!