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Live blog: Auckland Writers Festival

Thursday 14th May 2015

Organisers are picking it to be the biggest yet, with more than 50,000 people expected to attend the Auckland Writers' Festival this weekend.

Writers from children’s author (and actor) David Walliams, to science fiction writer Emily St John Mandel, Shakespeare scholar Peter Holland, graphic poet Rachel Fenton,  novelist David Mitchell, to science writer Philip Ball will give talks and workshops.

Charlotte Graham and Ellen Falconer are attending the Festival, and will be updating our live blog all weekend. 


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“Fair point, Alice. I was asking about venue with less of a view to the common spaces (although definitely my feelings on the common spaces were skewed by my dislike of being in a very crowded space with a lot of people who are loud and moving very slowly - but that's my problem).

It was more about how many people the rooms seat. When you have the headliner, Murakami, who's only doing one session, selling out the day tickets go on sale, and when a week out from the event (when we got our tickets) it is actually difficult to find any ticketed events at the weekend that you want to attend because so much is sold out... And when queueing 30 minutes ahead of a free event is not necessarily enough to get a seat... I guess I was just wondering whether it's ideal for people to not actually be able to get IN to a lot of things.

I'm not saying it's necessarily a bad thing - or that it's the Festival's fault. They should rightly be overjoyed that there's that much interest! But going forward, I guess they have a few options...

1. It becomes accepted knowledge that you should not expect to get tickets to/seats in things. People get way more organised about buying tickets the second they go on sale, show up an hour early to free events, and it becomes accepted that if you don't get there early enough, you don't get to complain. This is exactly how the Edinburgh festivals work.
2. Get a bigger venue.
3. Better space use, as you rightly suggested.

And you're SO right that there's not an easy alternative. Thanks for the thoughtful comment!” — Charlotte Graham

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Ellen Falconer is a freelance journalist based in Auckland.
Charlotte Graham-McLay is a journalist who lives in Wellington. Her writing appears in the New York Times, New Zealand Geographic, and on Vice, The Spinoff, and, and she can sometimes be heard on RNZ.
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