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Writers Festival

Kairni Sperling —

On Thursday 25 August, a group of our literature-loving students from our kura visited the Auckland Readers and Writers Festival.

Hosted at the glamorous Aotea centre in Auckland CBD, pupils from all different schools in NZ witnessed four ted-talk-like workshops. Illuminating and motivating words from multiple authors of all different backgrounds and stories were presented throughout the talks, making the event both a diverse and influential one.

The first talk was one from the inspiring Femi Fudugba - a Togolese author and physicist. Calling all the way in from London, Femi shared an insightful and interesting discussion around quantum mechanics and how this mind-blowing subject tied into his time-travelling sci-fi thriller book named, “The Upper World”. Femi Fudugba’s novel is set to release on Netflix as an adapted movie.

Talk number two was hosted by the lovely Anne Kayes. Throughout her lecture, Anne shared her experiences of the 1981 Springbok Tour protests and her process of turning some of these experiences into the fictional book, “In Our Backyard”. Students also had the beautiful experience of hearing sections from the novel, read and elaborated by Anne herself.

Changing things up a bit, the third talk was hosted by three wonderful poets; Anna Jackson, Amy McDaid, and Victor Rodger. This short conference consisted of each poet essentially ‘advertising’ their chosen poetry style. Anna started with sonnets, Amy with freeform poetry, and lastly, Victor with amusing dialogue-type poetry. The talk finished with students cheering and clapping for their favourite; dialogue poetry coming out on top after receiving a full house acclamation!

Mohamed Hassan was the last writer of the day. This outstanding author and poet shared a deeply electrifying discussion about his culture and the societal struggles that he has encountered for being Muslim. Sharing groundbreaking poetry from his book, “National Anthem”, Mohamed received striking praise from the audience for his strong raw words of truth and encouragement.

Students who got the opportunity to attend this event are immensely grateful and opportunity to attend this event, and cannot wait to attend the next Readers and Writers Festival next year. Ava Smith shares her acclamation for the event stating, “There were so many amazing writers that each had their own individual stories that a lot of ākonga in the crowd could relate to. I think that’s what made the atmosphere of the festival so lively and empowering.”