14 Jul 2013
A four-day festival celebrating the best of literature, theatre, film and music from and about Australia and New Zealand (AusNZ) will be staged in London for the first time during May 2014.
With core funding secured from both the Australian and New Zealand Governments through their arts and advisory bodies, the Australia Council for the Arts and Creative New Zealand respectively, there is already strong support and interest for this new festival. In addition, the Australian and New Zealand High Commissions in London will take part by hosting festival events both during the festival itself and as part of the build-up.
With an estimated 500,000 AusNZ expats living in the UK, the festival aims to reach beyond this historic and thriving community by showcasing the countries’ proud roll call of writers and creative talent, and bringing to life the best stories from and about Australia and New Zealand as told by a global cast of participants.
Thomas Keneally lent his support to the festival with this brief missive: "Dear England. We're going to send you a big present: our Australian and New Zealand writers, film and music makers. It will all be like a series of loveable and brilliant personages emerging from the gift box and invigorating and charming you. It's about time we got round to startling you, and the moment approaches. May we both enjoy it!"
As part of the festival build-up a programme of events to celebrate AusNZ cultural influence has been planned.
The first of these – a Literary BBQ – will be hosted on the 29th of August at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith. Featuring great food, live literature, music and short film, this event will showcase the sharpest new writing from some of the rising stars of AusNZ literature. The line-up includes: Hannah Kent, Craig Silvey, Courtney Collins and Eleanor Catton. Book sales will be facilitated by our launch partner Foyles, London's leading independent bookshop. Tickets are on sale at www.AusNZfestival.com.
In addition to this activity an AusNZ digital community featuring AusNZ cultural news and views will be launched, with a vibrant social media and blogging network. This website will enable AusNZ writers and artists to feature work and list their events to a dedicated audience within the UK, Europe and beyond.
Key dates for the diary:
- Nov 25 2013: Artistic Patrons & Headline artists announced at the Australian High Commission
- March 2014: Full Festival programme revealed at New Zealand House. Festival tickets on sale
The Festival is produced and coordinated by Amphora Arts, the organisation behind the London-based South Asian Literature Festival. Key members of the AusNZ Literature and Arts festival team include project founder and Amphora Arts’ director Jon Slack, General Manager Trish Wadley, Creative Producer Megan Donnelly, Publicist Rina Gill and Festival Consultant Vivienne Wordley.
“It is a very exciting initiative which will increase the visibility of Australian books in international markets,” says Jill Eddington, Director of Literature, Australia Council for the Arts. “Australia has a vibrant literary culture with a strong international reputation for quality contemporary writing. The Australia Council provides financial support for many activities that benefit Australian writers both nationally and internationally. This festival will provide a great platform for our writers to connect with readers and reach new audiences around the globe.”
“Creative New Zealand is delighted to be supporting the inaugural Australian and New Zealand Festival of Literature and Arts with our Australian colleagues.” said Creative New Zealand Chief Executive Stephen Wainwright. “The festival will raise the profile of literature from our two countries, and give our expat communities and Londoners the opportunity to personally engage with Australasian writers, stories, food and wine. This festival also builds nicely on New Zealand’s Guest of Honour presence at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2012.”
Jon Slack said: “We’re delighted to have the backing of the lead arts funding bodies from both countries. There are fantastic artistic achievements from Australians and New Zealanders to build upon, and the potential for further collaboration between these artists and those in Britain is huge. London is the ideal location and we’re going to have a bit of fun with stereotypes while we’re at it. Our hope is that this initiative will unlock unexpected and affecting stories and reimagine the perception of Australia and New Zealand for everyone.”
The festival will span the historical and contemporary, exploring colonial links, migration, indigenous history and languages, the centenary of World War 1, food and culture, sport, media, poetry, literary adaptations and more.
For further information, please contact:
Rina Gill - firstname.lastname@example.org
50A Kingsway Place, Sans Walk, London EC1R 0LU
Tel: + 44 (0) 20 7490 2076
Programming queries for writer & artists:
Jon Slack – email@example.com
Tel: + 44 (0) 77 4773 2995
Website - www.AusNZfestival.com
Facebook – www.facebook.com/AusNZfestival
Twitter – www.twitter.com/AusNZfestival
THE LITERARY BBQ will run from 7.30pm until 10.30pm on Thursday 29th August at the Hammersmith Lyric Theatre in London on the Roof Garden. Doors from 6pm. Tickets are priced at £15 for standard, or £30 including BBQ food with dessert plus white wine on arrival, courtesy of Stanley Estates. Tickets can be purchased from www.AusNZfestival.com
BIOS OF THE CONFIRMED LITERARY BBQ SPEAKERS:
- COURTNEY COLLINS: Courtney's debut novel The Burial, an inspired reimagining of the life of female outlaw Jessie Hickman, has been shortlisted for several prizes and is being translated into several languages. (Allen & Unwin) Read more >
CRAIG SILVEY: Craig is the author of Rhubarb and Jasper Jones, recently voted number six in the ABC's '10 Aussie Books to Read Before You Die' poll. The small but perfectly formed Amber Amulet tells the story of the Masked Avenger and his trusty Power Beagle. (Allen & Unwin)
Read more >
ELEANOR CATTON: Eleanor received enormous global praise for her debut novel The Rehearsal. Her second novel The Luminaries is an epic Victorian mystery set in the opening years of New Zealand's gold rush, circa 1866. The book has been described by her publisher Granta as 'one of the most important works of fiction we have ever published.' (Granta)
Read more >
HANNAH KENT: Hannah's debut novel, Burial Rites, takes us to northern Iceland, 1829, where Agnes Magnúsdóttir is condemned to death for her part in the brutal murder of two men. Hannah's astonishing book has been the subject of an international bidding war, and will be translated in 15 languages. (Picador) Read more >