The fourth annual Samesame But Different Writers Festival kicks off on the 8th February 2019.
This year’s festival is the biggest yet and has events at both the Auckland Art Gallery and the Basement Theatre, as well as its home nest at AUT University. The Festival encompasses a queer film screening and the only LGBTQI writing contest in Aotearoa (with increased prize money, thanks to the generosity of the Wallace Arts Foundation). One of the pleasing aspects of the festival is the number of younger writers coming through, as seen in the ‘Break-out new talent’ session.
Listen to an interview about the festival from two of its Board Members.
Here is a list of this year’s events (including two pre-festival events):
Monday – 4th February 2019
5:30pm – Pride Poetry Speakeasy at the Leys Institute, 20 St Mary’s Road, Ponsonby. Free Entry.
Share your poetry or come andlisten in a welcoming word nest.Speak your truth to an open- minded audience of fellow poetic scribes and daytime dreamers.
Thursday – 7th February 2019
7:00pm – Secret Lives in the auditorium, Auckland Art Gallery, Lorne Street, Auckland.
Secret Lives looks at the problems of biography in relation to New Zealand artists and writers with a possible LGBTQI identity. Three panellists choose a particular New Zealand artist or writer and talk about life at a time of subterfuge and prejudice: howto be real to yourself and speak your truth –yet survive financially. Esteemed AucklandArt Gallery curator Ron Brownson, maverickmodernist and prize-winning author Douglas Lloyd Jenkins are joined by funny and deeplyknowledgeable biographer Joanne Drayton, whose latest book, Hudson & Halls: The Food of Love, has been a huge success.
Chaired by an author renowned for notkeeping secrets: Peter Wells.
Friday – 8th February 2019
7:30pm – Opening Night Gala at the Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Avenue.
‘You’re not leaving the house dressed like that!’ We allremember and wince at hair styles we wore with pride,or a pair of shoes that kept us awake at nights. Yet style was how we messaged our difference, our protest, our personality. Various authors and LGBTQI personalities showand tell the styles that marked them out as outrageous, fabulous or dissident.
Featuring transgender legend Georgina Beyer, activist andparent Sandi Hall, superstar sensation Mika, wry comicartist and dead-serious activist Sam Orchard, budding genius Ruby Porter, excitingly explicit playwright Victor Rodger and flight-to-the-heavens poet Chris Tse.
Chaired by the man who made Auckland hum, Jeremy Hansen.
Saturday – 9th February 2019
This day has a number of events at AUT
9:30am – Natasha Dennerstein
Natasha Dennerstein is a New Zealander who lives in Los Angeles and pleads ‘Please don’tcall me a trans poet’ – she’s so much more than this. With a wide following in poetry andtaut energetic reflective language, she speaks across the platform. Here she talks to the quietly direct, incisive thinker and speaker for Silver Rainbow, Julie Watson.
11:00am – Masculinites – What is it and what does it look like in prose?
Authors and a performer discuss masculinity in terms of their work. Nicholas Sheppard’s novel Broken Play explores the tensions of being a gay All Black: can a queer be masculine? Mika’s sensational life crossing boundaries has been chronicled in I have loved me a man; Brendaniel Weir’s first novel Tane’s War describes a gay wartime romance and its aftermath, while Robert Tennent, aged 19, has self-published Come Back to Bed, a bookof photographs documenting his tentative rediscovery of sex after the trauma of rape.What is it to be male?
Chaired by queer poet and the most closely followed arts journalist in Aotearoa David Herkt.
1:00pm – Break-out new talent
At the moment there is a break-out of new young LGBTQI talent reflecting the surge of confidence in the LGBTQI world. In this panel we talk to some of our own: high-profilewriter Ruby Porter, winner of the highly competitive Michael Gifkins prize; Chris Tse,award-winning poet and sought-after guest at international festivals; Sam Orchard, comicgenius whose digital Out Loud Aotearoa project has championed those without a voice;Katie O’Neill, a successful and award-winning graphic novelist (her first book, PrincessPrincess Ever After, received a starred review from Kirkus, was featured on the 2017 ALA Rainbow Book List Top Ten and nominated for a Sakura Medal in 2018); and Chelsey Ferudi, an animator best known for the startlingly good Rock and Riot, a queer 1950s storyabout teenage rebels. These authors talk about who they admire as writers or graphic novelists, what makes them get up in the morning, what they dream about – and whetherwriting and words will survive in the new slippery, image-obsessed, digital environment.
Chaired by wide awake and woke author Joanne Drayton.
2:30pm – Cracking It
More than ever, self-publishing is an option for all writers. This is a practical, how-to- do-it session in which seasoned authors talk the nuts and bolts of self-publishing. Jared Gulian successfully self-published his novel The End of Billy Knight, which became agay best-seller. Interestingly he took back the rights to his nonfiction book Moon overMartinborough from titan Penguin Random House (where it was only just surviving) and self-published it so that it took off and reached No. 4 globally as the best rural humourmemoir on Amazon. Author Peter Wells, after a lifetime with established publishers, decided to self-publish Hello Darkness and he talks about what he’s learned. This is a panel about empowering LGBTQI authors so they can sidestep the overwhelminglyhetero-identified major publishing companies. How to do it. What not to do.
Chaired by Douglas Lloyd Jenkins who, after a lifetime as an award-winning nonfiction writer, has decided to step out into self-publishing with his first gay novel.
4:00pm – Hounoured Writer: Peter Wells
Each year we honour a writer who has contributed to the lives of the LGBTQI community in Aotearoa New Zealand. Following in the footsteps of Witi Ihimaera, Ngahuia Te Awekotuku and Renée, this year we honour our festival founder, Peter Wells.
Peter Wells’ work shows a commitment to change in Aotearoa New Zealand society, from writing one of the earliest pieces of fiction a gay New Zealander has published under his own name (Dangerous Desires), to writing and co-directingtelevision dramas like A Death in the Family, which wasproduced at the height of the HIV-Aids crisis. He directedthe television drama Jewel’s Darl, which broke new ground
with its sympathetic transgender characters as early as 1986. In 1993 he co-wrote and co-directed the feature film Desperate Remedies, which screened at the Cannes FilmFestival. In 1998, with Stephanie Johnson, he founded the celebrated Auckland Writers Festival. He founded our own samesame but different Festival in 2016 to advance the interests of LGBTQI writers. In 2018 he wrote Dear Oliver, a bracingly honest memoir.
This event will feature the launch of Peter’s new book, Hello Darkness, which will beexclusively available to festival attendees in advance of its March release.
Chaired by literary man-about-town, Jeremy Hansen.
5:30pm – Founder’s Lecture: Georgina Beyer
Georgina Beyer is a person who literally needs no introduction, so it hardly seems necessary to add that she has been variously a prostitute, an entertainer, a mayor and the first trans MP in the world. For many years she has influenced our lives just by being there. She is also an inspiring speaker, so we have invited her to deliver our first annual Founder’s Lecture, generously supported by the Rule Foundation. Fresh from speaking to both the Oxford and Cambridge University Unions, Georgina Beyer talks about five key decisions that – for better or for worse – have shaped her extraordinary life.
Introduced by samesame but different chairman Andrew Rumbles.
7:30pm – Hudson and Halls: tragedy and triumph
On stage, in front of a camera, in life and in death, the inseparable Hudson and Halls rewrote our recipes for life and love. Long before homosexuality was decriminalised, they introduced New Zealand television audiences to high-camp cooking, yet theynever said a public word about the great issues ofthe time: HIV and Homosexual Law Reform. Award- winning and best-selling author Joanne Drayton unpeels the enigma and looks at the enduring charm of these effervescent yet damaged gay men who caught the heart of middle New Zealand.
Chaired by the witty and charming Jeremy Hansen. Sample the cooking too: Sweet Avocado Pies will be on offer.
NOTE: This event is at the Basement Theatre, LowerGreys Avenue (by Civic Carpark). Bar open from 5pm.
For more information and ticketing visit the samesame but different website