News & Updates

Announcing the First Writers for the 2017 Schools Programme

Lauren Child
Witi Ihimaera
Frances Hardinge
Ivan Coyote
with many more writers to be announced!

16-18 May 2017
The full programme will be available when bookings open 2 February 2017.


Lauren Child is a multi-award-winning, bestselling writer and artist, and the creator of much-loved characters including Clarice Bean, Ruby Redfort and Charlie and Lola. Her books continue to win awards and the animated BBC series of Charlie and Lola airs in more than 34 countries and has won four BAFTAs. Lauren is a passionate advocate for visual literacy and the importance of quality picture books for children.


Three-time winner of the Wattie/Montana Book of the Year award, Katherine Mansfield fellow and playwright Witi Ihimaera is one of New Zealand’s most prolific and accomplished writers. Witi’s first novel, Tangi, won the Wattie Book of the Year Award in 1974, a feat he repeated with The Matriarch in 1986. His celebrated novel Bulibasha, King of the Gypsies, now adapted as the film Mahana, won the Montana Book of the Year award in 1995. Witi’s other novels and short story collections include The Whale Rider (also adapted as an internationally successful film); Dream Swimmer (sequel to the award-winning The Matriarch); Pounamu, Pounamu and Nights in the Gardens of Spain. In 2015 he published the first volume of his memoir, Maori Boy, winner of the non-fiction category of the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards, 2016.


Frances Hardinge has written seven books for children and young adults. The most recent, The Lie Tree, won the Costa Book of the Year Award, the fiction category of the Boston Globe Horn Book Award and the UKLA 12-16 category. Frances was brought up in a sequence of small, sinister English villages, and spent some formative years living in a Gothic-looking, mouse-infested house in Kent. Studying English Language and Literature whilst surrounded by Oxford's crazed, archaic beauty also had lasting effects on her feverish imagination. She is seldom seen without her hat and is obsessed with volcanoes.


Ivan Coyote is the award-winning author of ten books, the creator of four short films, and has released three albums that combine storytelling with music. Ivan is a seasoned stage performer and long-time road dog, and over the last eighteen years has become an audience favourite at festivals from Anchorage to Amsterdam. The Ottawa Xpress once said that "Coyote is to Canadian literature what k.d. lang is to country music: a beautifully odd fixture." Ivan often grapples with the complex and intensely personal issues of gender identity in their work, as well as topics such as family, class, freedom and social justice, but always with a generous heart, a quick wit, and the nuanced and finely-honed timing of a gifted raconteur. Ivan's stories remind us of our own fallible and imperfect humanity while at the same time inspiring us to change the world. Ivan's 11th book,Tomboy Survival Guide, will be released in December.


Did you know that schools can apply to our Transport Fund for assistance with the cost of bringing students to central Auckland for the programme? We made 35 transport grants in 2016 and we will be continuing this funding in 2017.

We strongly encourage you to apply if this support would help you to attend.
For more information and to apply visit our website from 2 February 2017.



Aotea Centre, central Auckland.


16-18 May 2017

Four primary school sessions 16 May
Four intermediate/lower secondary sessions 16 May
Two full secondary days 17 & 18 May

Each day runs from 9.30am to 2.30pm and includes four age-appropriate sessions. Some secondary sessions will be repeated so schools can select to attend one or both.

Schools Programme attendance: $12 per student per day (four sessions)
Writing workshops: $15 per student per workshopTeachers: free

The full programme will be announced and tickets will go on sale on 2 February 2017. The Festival reserves the right to vary artists and programme.

Tickets are allocated on a first come, first served basis and we expect the programme will SELL OUT so we urge you to plan now and make your booking as soon as possible when tickets go on sale in February.

For further information about the Schools Programme please contact Roger Christensen at [email protected] or 09 376 8074 xtn 4.

The Auckland Writers Festival Schools Programme
is generously supported by

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