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Newsletter May 2018
May is always an exciting month for the literary community of Aotearoa with the Auckland Writers Festival on from the 15th-20th. The country's largest literary showcase, the Festival has 206 events bringing together local and international guest authors to share original ideas and stories. 

This year's programme contains readings, debates, stand-up poetry, literary theatre, children’s writers and free public and family events.

Several of our hard-working trustees are involved in presenting and co-coordinating sessions at the festival, as is Victor Rodger our current writer-in-residence. The Trust, along with the University of Auckland, is also proudly supporting the visit of Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o to the festival.

Tania Stewart                                            
Welcome to trustee Charlotte Gibbs
Fellow trustees are delighted to have recently welcomed Charlotte to share her skills and knowledge on the Trust.
Charlotte is the editor and publisher of Toitoi: A Journal for Young Writers and Artists. Toitoi is a quarterly journal that publishes the work of young New Zealanders aged 5-13. In 2016, Toitoi was named Best Primary Resource at the NZ Content Counts Education Awards and was a finalist in the Best Design Awards in 2017.
Charlotte graduated from the University of Auckland with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and a Bachelor of Commerce in Management Studies. She was a magazine editor in London for many years and also worked as a publications manager for PricewaterhouseCoopers and a project manager for Goldman Sachs. She lives in Devonport with her family.
Recollections of Michael King
As part of the keeping the legacy of Michael King alive we are keen to hear from people who knew or met him and would like to send us a note of their recollections of him. If you had any kind of association with Michael we would love for you to write a few paragraphs about that. Please email us

Thanks to publisher, poet, novelist, performer, and bookshop proprietor, Michael O'Leary for the following. .

The last time I saw Michael King was at the 2003 Prime Minister's Literary Awards, which he won for non-fiction that year. I had gone to support my old friend, Hone Tuwhare, who won the poetry section of the award. During the evening I got talking to Michael, who I had met several times before at literary events without getting to know him well. I had also met him though my sister, film-maker Clare O'Leary, who had filmed an interview with Michael a few years earlier, and which was subsequently shown at film festivals and on Maori Television. I was surprised and delighted when he told me he had read most of my work and that he really liked it and rated it highly. We talked for a while before he was whisked off into the award ceremony. I remember his last words to me were: 'Keep writing, Michael'.

NEWS – What has been happening?
Visiting African Writer
MKWC are proud to support the visit of Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, one of the world’s literary treasures to Aotearoa for the Auckland Writers Festival. Ngũgĩ is the recipient of a 2005 Honorary Doctorate from The University of Auckland. Often mentioned as a deserving Nobel Prize nominee, and described as the Kenyan Mandela, the African writer and human rights champion Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o has spent his life grappling with the post-colonial experience. Translated into over 30 languages, his novels and memoirs tell a compelling and challenging story of Africa.
Be sure to catch one of his sessions at the festival.

Recognition for Writers
As the National Writers’ Centre for Aotearoa we are extremely proud of the achievements of all writers from our country, and this week at the 2018 Ockham NZ Book awards we were thrilled to see two writers from our local community - Diana Wichtel and Anne Salmond, receive recognition for their work.
Listener journalist Diana Wichtel won the Royal Society Te Apārangi Award for General Non-Fiction for her memoir Driving to Treblinka: A long search for a lost father (Awa Press).
Renowned historian and anthropologist Dame Anne Salmond was also on the shortlist for this award for her book, Tears of Rangi: Experiments Across Worlds.
Diana was also awarded the E.H. McCormick Best First Book Award for General Non-Fiction. This award is named for the late Eric McCormick, the eminent historian and biographer of Frances Hodgkins.

We offer huge congratulations to all those shortlisted and the award winners - well done, keep up the great work!

Power Out
For 10 days last month the centre was without power after a storm brought down a high voltage wire near the house. It was fortunate that Victor (Rodger) had already planned to be away for a few days during this time but we appreciated his flexibility around this unforeseen event. Of course most of the torch batteries were low!

Alumni Catch-up  
Our hearty congratulations to the recipients of the Unity Books 50th Birthday Literary Awards, Peter Wells and Patricia Grace. Unity Books has marked its 50th Birthday by honouring the two New Zealand authors with awards worth $20,000 each for their extensive body of work and for their long-span social justice activism. We are so proud of their achievements.See here for more details

A special weekend of performances based on the life of Bill Direen’s  grandfather William Michael Direen, will take place at Audio Foundation, 4 Poynton Tce, Auckland, on Friday May 18th and Saturday May 19th, at 8:30pm.

The evening comprises twelve songs and six improvisations by accomplished musicians. It begins with a song cycle about the Depression years of the 1930s, before recoiling back to Bill’s grandfathers four years in Egypt and the Western Front. The last piece is a collective composition with text, simulating a match of rugby. Bill’s grandfather played representative rugby and refereed later in life. So the three aspects of his life are assembled as a microcosm of our history in the first part of the twentieth century. There are some multi-media elements.

Door sales are just $15, and tickets purchased beforehand are only $10.

For Tickets

The Michael King Writers’ Centre sincerely thanks its funders and partners, including Creative New Zealand, the Devonport Takapuna Local Board, Auckland Council, Foundation North, the Joyce Fisher Charitable Trust and the Chisholm Whitney Family Charitable Trust.

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Michael King Writers' Centre · PO Box 32 629 · Devonport · Auckland, 0744 · New Zealand

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