Bernardine Evaristo and Anthony Joseph
Bernardine Evaristo and Anthony Joseph 

The British Council New Zealand and the Pacific is pleased to support the appearance of Bernardine Evaristo and Anthony Joseph at the festival. They will participate in a number of events, listed below.

Every year the Auckland Writers Festival Waituhi O Tāmaki sets the cultural agenda in Aotearoa, as the world’s best writers and thinkers arrive in Auckland for one week only, in a series of public events to inspire, entertain and challenge the status quo.

This year’s festival marks the first time in over three years that international authors will return in an all-live programme on-stage in central Auckland. The week-long celebration of books, authors and ideas will include ticketed and free events in the Aotea Centre and select venues across the city.

Festivalgoers will hear from outstanding fiction and non-fiction authors, musicians, scientists, artists, historians, innovators, and food and art critics from New Zealand and around the world. They’ll experience exclusive insights and debate on significant global issues – from climate change to gender identity, wild food foraging, Indigenous perspectives, the downsides of social media, breaking female sport stereotypes, and whether writers can be replaced by chatbots.

On Thursday, May 18, 2023, Auckland Girls Grammar School had the honor of hosting Bernadine Evaristo. Coincidentally, it was Pink Shirt Day, an anti-bullying initiative, which led to some students wearing mufti attire (prefects were in uniform), and the school even found a pink lei for Bernadine to wear during her talk. Her presence was met with immense enthusiasm from both students and teachers. The event was attended by 60 students, 8 teachers, and the librarian, creating a vibrant and engaged audience.

Festival Gala Night True Stories Told Live: In Real Life

THU, 18 May 2023
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre, Aotea Centre

Our much-loved Festival Gala returns for a surprising and delightful opening night adventure. Eight writers take to the stage to share a seven-minute true and personal tale, without prop or script, inspired by this year’s ‘prompt’. Celebrating being able to come together again in a changed world – our prompt this year is “In Real Life’. Taking to the stage will be – best selling author Hinemoa Elder (Ngāti Kurī, Te Rarawa, Te Aupōuri, Ngāpuhi), Booker Prize winner Bernardine Evaristo, TS Eliot prize-winning poet Anthony Joseph, Korean-Kiwi author Graci Kim, Vietnamese novelist Dr Que´ Mai Nguye˜n Phan, filmmaker Gaylene Preston, food writer William Sitwell and Oji-Cree author Joshua Whitehead.

Masterclass M3: Poetry Anthony Joseph

FRI, 19 May 2023
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Waihorotiu Room, Level 4, Aotea Centre

‘I am sonnets full of stardust within the meter of my skin.’ – Patricia Robin Woodruff.
Explore new approaches to the sonnet form and unlock new ways to hone your poetry with the 2023 TS Eliot Poetry Prize winner Anthony Joseph. In this poetry masterclass, Anthony explores the form’s accessibility and the way in which it conveys a universality of experience. You’ll be encouraged firstly to work within the sonnet’s traditional constraints, before finding ways in which your personal identity may shape and remake the form.

On Never Giving Up: Bernardine Evaristo

SAT, 20 May 2023
5:30 pm-6:30 pm
Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre, Aotea Centre

Bernardine Evaristo: 
After jointly winning the Booker Prize in 2019 for Girl, Woman, Other, Bernardine Evaristo joked that she was an ‘overnight success’ four decades in the making. Now the president of the UK’s Royal Society of Literature, and the recipient of an OBE in 2020, she is a champion of others’ creative work and rights, especially writers of colour. In her memoir Manifesto: On Never Giving Up she reveals her struggle to be recognised and offers advice for any creative who’s ever had a crisis of confidence. The author of ten books and numerous writings which span fiction, non-fiction, poetry, essays, literary criticism, journalism and drama, she discusses her personal story and her writing career with Paula Morris.

Sonnets for Albert: Anthony Joseph

SAT, 20 May 2023
8:30 pm- 9:30 pm
Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre, Aotea Centre

Anthony Joseph: 
The 2023 TS Eliot Prize award-winning Sonnets for Albert by Anthony Joseph was cited by the judges as ‘a luminous collection which celebrates humanity in all its contradictions and breathes new life into this enduring form’. Born in Trinidad, with calypso, surrealism, jazz and the spiritual Baptist church as early influences, Joseph’s poems wrestle with his father’s intermittent presence in his life. ‘While some remember him with fondness,’ he has said, ‘and try to transpose his spirit, others negotiate a space for disappointment while trying to clutch his outer garments.’ The author of four previous collections and three novels, Joseph has also released eight acclaimed albums. He now lives in London, is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at Kings College, and is celebrated for bringing a highly charismatic musicality to his work, alongside a deep honesty and a defining Caribbean worldview. Paired with former NZ Poet Laureate Selina Tusitala Marsh for a magical conversation, they explore life and loss, poetry, music, the art of composing and more.

Booker Ride: Eleanor Catton, Bernardine Evaristo, Shehan Karunatilaka

SUN, 21 May 2023
11:30 am - 12:30 pm
Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre, Aotea Centre

It’s the Oscars of the writing world – winning the Booker Prize supercharges a writer’s career, immediately lifts sales, multiplies overseas deals and opens up opportunities all around the world. But what does this kind of superstardom feel like for the writer on the inside? Three Booker Prize winners, Eleanor Catton, Bernardine Evaristo and Shehan Karunatilaka share their experience of being awarded the world’s most esteemed literary prize with broadcaster and author Karyn Hay.


Bernardine Evaristo Podcast

Natasha Beckman, Director British Council New Zealand and the Pacific talks to acclaimed author Bernardine Evaristo.

While in town for the Auckland Writers Festival, she talked about returning to New Zealand, winning the Booker Prize, and her advice for budding young writers. Click on the link below and listen to the podcast.

▶ Natasha's interview with Bernardine Evaristo

External links