Past schools programmes
Our 2019 Featured Writers:
Writer, poet and hip-hop artist Akala (UK), Journalist Madeleine Chapman (NZ), Writer, singer/songwriter and actor Val Emmich (US), Author and illustrator Sally Gardner (UK), Narrative non-fiction author Joanna Grochowicz (NZ), Novelist, playwright and scriptwriter Whiti Hereaka (NZ), Children’s, YA and sci fi writer Bren MacDibble aka Cally Black (NZ/AUS), Copywriter, playwright and writer Steph Matuku (NZ), Poet, playwright and fiction writer Courtney Sina Meredith (NZ), Novelist, short story and flash fiction author Eileen Merriman (NZ), Historian and author Vincent O’Malley (NZ), Graphic artist, comic and book writer Craig Phillips (AUS/NZ), Teacher and writer Fraser Smith (NZ), Pasifika studies teacher and writer Pauline Vaeluaga Smith (NZ), Author, educator and activist Renée Watson (US), Journalist and editor Simon Wilson (NZ), Poet and performer Luke Wright (UK), YA and adult novelist Markus Zusak (AUS).
To assist schools to make the most of their Festival visit, and in partnership with the National Library, a set of guides around key titles featuring in the programme have been created. Check out our 2019 resources
Our 2018 Featured Writers:
Fiction writer and teacher Leonie Agnew (NZ), Singer, songwriter Lawrence Arabia (NZ), Illustrator and author Gavin Bishop (NZ), Journalist and editor Sasha Borissenko (NZ), Fiction writer Stacy Gregg (NZ), Non-fiction writer Joanna Grochowicz (NZ), The poetry of writer Rowley Habib presented by Hapai Productions (NZ), Alaskan novelist Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock (USA), Short story writer and novelist A.S. King (USA), Poet Laureate and teacher Selina Tusitala Marsh (NZ), Fantasy writer J L Pawley (NZ), Sports biography writer and teacher David Riley (NZ), Playwright Victor Rodger (NZ), Spoken word performer Te Kahu Rolleston (NZ), Writer, cartoonist and illustrator Chris Riddell (England), Writer and augmented reality app developer James Russell (NZ), Historian Anne Salmond (NZ), Fiction writer and former slam poet Alex Wheatle (England), Spoken word performer Rewa Worley (NZ)
Our 2017 Featured Writers:
Illustrator, writer and comic artist Donovan Bixley (NZ), blogger Alex Casey (NZ), author and illustrator Lauren Child (UK), songwriter and musician Anna Coddington (NZ), poet and doctor Glenn Colquhoun (NZ), performer and writer Ivan Coyote (Canada), creativity campaigner, writer and performer Stella Duffy (NZ/UK), novelist, short story, script and resource writer Mandy Hager (NZ), fantasy writer Frances Hardinge (UK), spoken word poet Mohamed Hassan (Egypt/NZ) reviewer, playwright and children’s writer David Hill (NZ), fairy tale writer Renata Hopkins (NZ), page and script writer Witi Ihimaera (NZ), sci-fi and fantasy writer Amie Kaufman (Australia), writer and graphic designer Sarah Laing (NZ), novelist, short story writer, essayist and teacher Paula Morris (NZ), teenage realism writer Jennifer Niven (US) Shakespeare expert James Shapiro (US), children’s fiction writer and community worker Tim Tipene (NZ), adventure-sports themed novelist Aaron Topp (NZ), animator and illustrator Zak Waipara (NZ).
Our 2016 Featured Writers:
Stellar writer and performance poet Tusiata Avia (NZ), big-thinking philosopher and writer Julian Baggini (UK), dynamic illustrator, writer and comic artist Donovan Bixley (NZ), renowned author of The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas John Boyne (Ireland), captivating Iremonger writer and artist of the surreal Edward Carey (UK/US), breakthrough writer and slam poet Maxine Beneba Clarke (Australia), beloved children’s book maven and author Kate De Goldi (NZ), internationally best-selling YA GONE series writer Michael Grant (US), energetic and insightful Shakespearean scholar Jonathan Gil Harris (NZ/India), prize-winning sci fi writer Jane Higgins (NZ), expressive author, painter and illustrator Bob Kerr (NZ), silver-tongued poet, rapper and novelist Omar Musa (Australia), multi-talented writer, illustrator and Tom Gates creator Liz Pichon (UK), extraordinary actor and storyteller Jacob Rajan from Indian Ink (NZ), inspirational teacher and sports biography writer for teenagers David Riley (NZ), imaginative Children’s Choice Award winning novelist Ella West (NZ), accomplished writer, director, actor and film reviewer Helene Wong (NZ), provocative YA thriller writer Denis Wright (NZ), chart-topping, smooth-voiced country and blues singer/ songwriter Tami Neilson (NZ).
Our 2015 Featured Writers:
Globally-celebrated British author of Alex Rider fame, Anthony Horowitz,award-winning US young adult novelist Laurie Halse Anderson, best-selling Australian writer and national treasure Morris Gleitzman; British stand-up comedian, classicist and novelist Natalie Haynes; multi-award winning NZ young adult author Bernard Beckett; NZ Post Book Awards finalist Philippa Werry; leading light of local spoken word poetry Grace Taylor; author of a stunning sci-fi debut Rachael Craw; internationally-acclaimed NZ singer/songwriter Hollie Fullbrook (TINY RUINS); award-winning designer and cult comics creator Ant Sang; teacher, animator and graphic artist Zak Waipara; playwright and novelist Whiti Hereaka.
Our 2014 Featured Writers:
Best-selling Australian YA writer, teacher, school principal and national treasure John Marsden, multiple award-winning German / US fantasy author Cornelia Funke, 2013 Booker Prize-winner Eleanor Catton, award-winning Mister Pip author Lloyd Jones, British comic writer/illustrator duo The Etherington Brothers; poet, children’s author and anthologist Paula Green, one-man performer extraordinaire Trygve Wakenshaw (aka Squidboy), NZ action-adventure story writer and teacher Des Hunt, critically acclaimed children’s and YA author Melinda Szymanik, spoken word / performance poet Grace Taylor, NZ singer/songwriter and The X Factor finalist Benny Tipene and award-winning authors Elizabeth Knox and Ted Dawe.
Our 2013 Featured Writers:
American YA novelist Libba Bray; NZ film and television scriptwriter and creative consultant Kathryn Burnett; NZ Post Children’s Book of the Year 2012 winners Matt Elliott & Chris Slane; award-winning New Zealand writer Kate De Goldi; best-selling UK science writer Dr. Ben Goldacre; award-winning YA urban fantasy novelist Karen Healey; Scottish-Nigerian poet and fiction writer for adults and children Jackie Kay; Commonwealth Short Story Competition prizewinner Emma Martin; Carnegie Medal-winning UK writer Patrick Ness; Australian writer, teacher and stand-up comedian Oliver Phommavanh; historian and journalist Jane Tolerton; singer/songwriter Tama Waipara; renowned poet, novelist and short story writer Albert Wendt; copywriter, scriptwriter and junior fiction writer Glenn Wood; Samoan fantasy trilogy writer Lani Wendt Young.
Our 2012 Featured Writers:
multi-talented Maori singer/songwriter Hinemoana Baker; award-winning New Zealand writer Fleur Beale; Irish author Eoin Colfer; expat creative non-fiction author Martin Edmond; Trans-Tasman graphic artist Chris Grosz; and Weekend Herald editor David Hastings; international writer/illustrator Oliver Jeffers; accomplished New Zealand writer Paula Morris; internationally-based NZ novelist, playwright and film director Anthony McCarten; UK writer, illustrator and award-winner Mal Peet; acclaimed Australian YA fantasy writer Emily Rodda; Samoan playwright and Shortland Street screenwriter Victor Rodger; New Zealand archaeology exponent David Veart; New Zealand Poet Laureate Ian Wedde.