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Going West Books and Writers’ Festival celebrates 19 years at Titirangi

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Going WestThe Going West Books and Writers festival is back for its 19th year in late August to early September, with its unique and vibrant mix of books, authors, a theatre production, the Poetry Slam that turns poetry into a competitive event, and even a hint of sex, drugs and rock and roll.

The rock and roll comes in the reminiscences of Hello Sailor band members Graham Brazier and Harry Lyon, together with publisher Finlay McDonald recalling the life and times of the late Dave McCartney as told in his autobiography, Gutter Black.

This ramble through a golden age of kiwi rock is on the evening of Friday September 12, along with the Curnow poetry readings and the Sir Graeme Douglas Orator, Robert Sullivan. All of Saturday 13 September is to be spent discussing 10 different works and wraps up at 7pm with the Poetry Slam. Sunday 14th is to be spent exploring eight books, culminating with Sandra Coney’s On the Radar.

The main festival is being held at the Titirangi War Memorial Hall, while the Theatre Season on August 29, 30 and 31 is at The Playhouse, Glen Eden. This year’s play is “Goodbye My Feleni” (friend) and it traces the experiences of Pacific Islands soldiers who served with the Maori Battalion. Going West was conceived by Murray Gray (of Murray Gray’s Gone West bookshop in Titirangi) as Auckland’s first writers’ festival.

Going West originally included a steam train excursion from Auckland to Helensville with stops at various West Auckland stations for literary events. This was inspired by the train journey in Maurice Gee’s novel “Going West”. For many years it was an eagerly anticipated adventure but was forced into retirement with the advent of passenger rail services at weekends.