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Event: Samesame But Different Literary Festival 2021

Aotearoa’s only LGBTQIA+ literary festival, samesame but different returns for its sixth year as part of the Auckland Pride Festival, with an entirely free programme for the first time ever! In 2021, the festival will be a year of firsts. Thanks to Proud Centres, the main festival programme will have a new residence, running at Tāmaki’s Ellen Melville Centre. Now covering five days instead of the customary two, the most important change in light of this last year of upheaval, is that samesame but different are making all events free. 

Encompassing two Gala evenings on the Friday and Saturday nights, a series of panel talks, workshops, lectures, readings, and a poetry speakeasy and an online event, the 2021 programme is built on the theme of ‘Home’. Offering a programme that speaks to where home is found and what it means, as a place of comfort and belonging or a place to escape, the festival will explore the myriad of meanings that home has for rainbow communities. With a proven track record of bold events, strong attendance, and stimulating conversations, each year the programme gets more ambitious as a highlight of the Auckland Pride Festival, showcasing the literary talent of our rainbow writers. 2021 will be no different, diving into the subjects such as crime and punishment, queer bodies, and being far from home. 

Over 20 writers from around Aotearoa are involved in the festival for 2021, including celebrated thespians Ahi Karunaharan and Aroha Awarau, owner of The Women’s Bookshop Carole Beu, award-winning science communicator Jesse Bering, disability rights advocate Henrietta Bollinger, historian and poet Brent CouttsNew York Times bestselling author Joanne Drayton, novelists Lois Cox and Hilary Lapsley who publish under the pseudonym Jennifer Palgrave, 2020 Arts Laureate and producer Elyssia Wilson-Heti, Sir Julius Vogel Award-winning author M. Darusha Wehm, and decorated Professor of Gender Studies at Otago University Chris Brickell.

samesame but different was launched in 2016 by founder Peter Wells. An award-winning author and film-maker, and co-creator of the Auckland Writers Festival, Peter created the event to allow space for people to think about sexuality, difference, and community. Celebrated for his boundary-breaking work in literature and film, as the author of one of the first gay-themed books to be published in New Zealand, Peter possessed a strong sense of social justice and carried this through his decorated career and into the kaupapa of samesame but different. The 2021 programme has again been created by Sam Orchard, who took over the Director mantle following Peter’s death in 2019, and curated both the 2020 Auckland Pride Festival programme and the digital Two to the Power of Five winter series. 

With the generous support of Foundation North, samesame but different is again running The Peter Wells Short Fiction Contest in 2021, this year with the theme ‘Freedom’. In this year of lockdowns, travel restrictions, and enforced separations, freedom has attained a new meaning for many people – although the contest does not require submissions to be related to Covid-19. The competition gives New Zealand LGBTQIA+ writers the opportunity to prove their creative skills and to promote their work to a wider audience in a safe and supportive environment, with the winners to be published in Pantograph Punch.
Wednesday 10th Feb
Poetry Speakeasy, 5pm-7pm
Venue: Grey Lynn Library
Star Poet: Courtney Sina Meredith
 Ellen Melville Centre programme:
Part of Proud Centres, an Auckland Council Initiative for the Auckland Pride Festival
2 Freyberg Place, Auckland CBD

Thursday 11th Feb
Hello Darkness, 7pm-8pm
Hello Darkness Reading: Directed by Victor Rodger, performed by Roy Ward
Based on Peter Wells’ final work: Hello Darkness

Friday 12th Feb 
Gala Event: At Home with samesame7.30pm-9pm
Some of Aotearoa’s most exciting writers tell intimate stories of home and explore its many meanings for them. Poignant observations mingle with laugh-out-loud anecdotes as the sun sets across Freyberg Square.
Chair: Rhion Munro
Ahi Karunaharan
Aroha Awarau
Lil O’Brien
Cole Meyers
Jen Shieff

Saturday 13th Feb
Crime and Punishment, 10.30am-11.30am
LGBTQIA people have often been subject to systemic violence in the justice system, the victims of crime, our unique experiences as perpetrators and victims of crime (fiction and nonfiction). These writers share their experiences of writing about crime within LGBTQIA communities.
Chair: Jen Shieff
Aroha Awarau
Jennifer Palgrave (aka Hilary Lapsley and Lois Cox)
M. Darusha Wehm
Queer Bodies, 12pm-1pm
Experiences of queerness reside in our bodies, whether it be the pain we carry, the joy we share, or our experiences of our own identity as situated in our bodies. These writers discuss how queer bodies influence their writing
Chair: George Parker
Ria Hiroki and Elyssia R’anee Wilson-Heti
Jesse Bering
Henrietta Bollinger
Jackson Nieuwland

Far from Home, 2pm-3pm 
Home becomes even more poignant and important when you’re far from home. This panel of writers share their reflections as migrants, and travellers, exploring concepts of identity when you are far from your home land, and making new homes in
far off lands.
Chair: Chris Brickell
Brent Coutts
Marolyn Krasner
Ahi Karunaharan

Honoured Writer: Ngaio Marsh Crime Queen:
Secrets and Red Herrings, 
Jo Drayton will be giving a lecture about the life and times of Ngaio Marsh
celebrating her contribution to NZ literature and rainbow communities.

Peter Wells Lecture:  Kassie Hartendorp, 5pm-6pm 
Kassie Hartendorp (Ngāti Raukawa) is a renowned community activist and organiser working in the areas of youth, takatāpui, anti-racism, workers rights and housing.  Kassie has written essays for The Spinoff, Pantograph Punch and Vice on gender diversity, whakamā, and being queer and Māori. This year she edited/organised The Aunties Magazine, a one-off magazine about political organising in Aotearoa.

Saturday Night Special: Objects from Home, 7pm-8.30pm
Treasured trinkets and secret notes – LGBTQI stories are often wrapped up in objects that conceal or reveal our stories. Five fantastic writers share some of their precious objects from home.
Chair: Carole Beu
Chris Brickell
Ian Watt
Ramon Te Wake
Courtney Sina Meredith

Sunday 14th Feb
Writing Workshop: How to get Published, 1pm-4pm 
Experienced publishing professional Elizabeth Heritage will use her insider knowledge to guide you through the different avenues to publication.
 Online event: Gary Lonesborough
Gary Lonesborough presents his debut book, The Boy from the Mish, for the online component of the festival. Released 2 Feb 2021, he is the definition of hot off the press! 


NOTE – copy for this story provided by Elephant Publicity


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