Auckland Writers Festival 2022: highlights from this year’s packed programme


<em>Credit: Netflix</em>
Credit: Netflix
The Auckland Writers Festival returns to Tāmaki Makaurau for one week only this August.

Celebrating the rich diversity of words and ideas, the Auckland Writers Festival celebrates its 22nd year, taking place from 22 – 28 August.

This year’s festival programme is packed with talented writers, creatives and thought-leaders from all over the world, ranging from a two-time Oscar winner, Māori and Pasifika poetry stars, and Nobel prize-winning novelists.

Festival Director Anne O’Brien says after a short postponement, the festival is making a triumphant return. “Whilst the delay presented challenges, it also provided us with incredible opportunities to develop even further the quality, depth and breadth of this year’s offerings.

“This year’s line-up will give New Zealand audiences access to one of the year’s most entertaining, enlightening, and world-class cultural experiences, live in Tāmaki Makaurau.”

Top picks from the 2022 Auckland Writers Festival

Truly Like Lightning: David Duchovny

The X-Files and Californication star David Duchovny sits down with Sonya Wilson to discuss his writing life, delving into his past acclaimed works and exploring his latest novel Truly Like Lightning, described by the Washington Post as “funny, big picture, irreverent.”

Festival Gala Night

The Festival Gala Night returns for its 12th year, bringing together eight talented writers as they each share a personal tale around the theme of ‘Across The Divide’. The exciting lineup features Harold Hillman, Chris Long, Dr Himali McInnes, Abbas Nazari, Jenny Pattrick, Tayi Tibble, Laurie Winkless and Helen Zaltzman.

The Power of Film: Jane Campion 

Hot off the heels of her award season triumphs, New Zealand pioneering filmmaker Jane Campion returns home to discuss her storied career with Noelle McCarthy, tackling topics such as artistic inheritances, guiding principles and preoccupations.

Something Old, Something Niu: Leki Jackson-Bourke

Leki Jackson-Bourke brings to the 2022 Auckland Writers Festival a bespoke series of Talanoa panels, featuring some of the country’s most renowned Pacific writers, including Selina Tusitala Marsh, David Fane, Aigagalefili Fepulea’i Tapua’i and Oscar Kightley.

Artist Mutations: Lunch with David Trubridge

Join renowned lighting designer and author of The Other Way, David Trubridge for an intimate lunch at Gusto at the Grand, sharing his musings about art and evolution, arguing that artists are the “cultural equivalent of the random genetic mutation that drives evolution.”

After the Tampa: Abbas Nazari

In his moving memoir After the Tampa, Abbas Nazari shares his story of fleeing the Taliban at seven years old, embarking on a perilous journey aboard a sinking fishing boat that lead him to New Zealand. In this fascinating talk with Nikki Mandow, Nazari “reflects on questions of home and security, challenge and hope, opportunity and resilience.”

Nobel Enchantments: Abdulrazak Gurnah

2021 Nobel Prize-winning writer Abdulrazak Gurnah was born in Zanzibar and arrived in Britain as a refugee in 1967. His novels Paradise, By the Sea and Afterlives took the world by storm, making him the first black writer to receive the Nobel since Toni Morrison in 1993, heralded for his “uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents.” Joining Michelle Langstone, Gurnah reflects on his life’s work.

Apples Will Fall: Liane Moriarty

Global literary sensation Liane Moriarty has become a household name with novels such as Big Little Lies and Nine Perfect Strangers. Her latest book, Apples Never Fall, is a sharp study of family dynamics and in this Auckland Writers Festival talk, Moriarty sits down with Michèle A’Court to discuss her impressive career, what inspires her and her fascinations with human behaviour.

Power / Play

Join talented stage and screen writers Nahyeon Lee, author of new Silo Theatre play The First Prime-Time Asian Sitcom, comedian and Raised by Refugees creator Pax Assadi and Aroha Bridge writer Coco Solid as they discuss what its like writing for the stage and screen, exploring the “mistakes, compromises and wins along the way.”

To see the full programme and book tickets, visit



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