Auckland Writers Festival

May 18, 2016 at 11:05 AM

With thanks to student reporters, Holly Simmons and Esther Schubert

Last week the top Year 9 boys’ and girls’ English classes at the College were privileged to attend the Auckland Writers Festival at the Town Hall. The festival is an annual event that brings writers from all over to talk about their work and craft. Writers such as Marlon James, David Hare, Gloria Steinem and John Boyne were speaking, many to sold-out audiences. The students were fortunate enough to hear two strong writing voices, young adult fiction author, Michael Grant and spoken word performer and poet, Maxine Beneba Clarke.

Michael Grant is the famous American author of the ‘Gone’ series, ‘The Messenger of Fear’ the ‘BZRK’ series and his new novel ‘Front Lines’, which reimagines World War II with girl soldiers. He spoke candidly about being a high school dropout and coming to writing much later in his life when he co-authored the acclaimed ‘Animorph’ series with his wife. Michael’s two main messages for aspiring writers were that ‘history is an incredible repository for stories’ and to ‘always tell the truth as you see it’.

Maxine Beneba Clarke is the author of three poetry collections and a short fiction collection. She performed some of her slam poetry for us and spoke about her upbringing and how it has influenced her poetry. A lot of Maxine’s poetry is about racial discrimination and her experiences growing up in white middle class Australia. Maxine also answered questions for us about her poems and short stories.

Students had the chance to meet both writers and have books signed. The Year 9 students came away eager with a new appreciation of poetry and an eagerness to read Michael Grant’s new novel, ‘Frontlines’.



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