This is our first year without our beloved Peter Wells, and it is with him in mind that we crafted this programme. He created this festival five short years ago to celebrate the voices of existing and emerging LGBTQIA+ writers in Aotearoa, and to create a space with a little bit of magic. His passion, his vision, and his warmth is missed by us all.
Gala Opening Night: "Out of This World"
7:30pm Friday February 14th
LGBTQI+ writers are constantly exploring new territory and expanding our universes. From bravely exploring and examining the world we live in to creating fantastical new realities this year’s authors celebrate who we are and push the boundaries on who we can be.
Featuring: Victor Rodger, essa may ranapiri, Kelly Gardiner, Jem Yoshioka, Nathan Joe
Chaired by award winning author: Joanne Drayton.
We will also be announcing the winners of the Peter Wells Short Fiction Contest.
Kids and Young Adult Books: "If you can see it, you can be it."
10:30am Saturday February 15th
Seeing yourself reflected in literature can help you find your place in the world. These writers create books for children and young people, although there is plenty in their books for adults too! These books enable our communities to see themselves, see who they could be and encourage acceptance in the wider community. Caitlin Spice is the co-author of Raven Wild, a transgender fairy tale in the ‘Promised Land’ series. Kyle Mewburn is one of New Zealand’s finest, and most eclectic, picture book writers with over 20 titles to her name. Her titles have been translated into over a dozen languages and won numerous awards including Children’s Book of the Year. We are delighted to host two international guests - Kelly Gardiner and Michael Earp who are joining us from across the ditch. Kelly is an award-winning author of The Firewatcher Chronicles, and will share her experiences of writing for young adults. Michael Earp is a children’s literature specialist and editor the editor of Kindred: 12 Queer #LoveOzYA Stories.
Chaired by librarian and recent NZ Children’s Book Award judge – Simie Simpson
Playwrights: Setting new scenes
12:00pm Noon Saturday February 15th
Join award-winning playwright Victor Rodger as he hosts a conversation with young playwrights who are challenging, surprising, and reflecting our diverse communities. These writers are creating high-octane, high calibre plays that explore themes of belonging, power, race and sexuality. Joni Nelson’s disobedient black comedy ‘8 Reasonable Demands’ was showcased in Auckland Theatre Company’s HERE & NOW festival and challenges us to think about power and activism within queer communities. Joshua Iosefo sprung into the spotlight when his graduation speech in 2012 went viral, he has since emerged as a new voice in the theatre - his play ‘Odd Daphne’, which challenges traditional Pacific attitudes towards mental wellness. Nathan Joe is well-known across the theatre community winning multiple awards including the Playmarket b425 award two years in a row. With six plays under his belt he is someone to keep an eye on!
Science Fiction/Fantasy: Boldly Going Where No Queer Has Gone Before
2:00pm Saturday February 15th
Pushing boundaries comes naturally to Queer writers and creating new worlds allows us to explore new possibilities and shine a light on our own. It can allow us to imagine a future that can be a little better, more compassionate and inclusive or even a little sexier. Join us as we chat to these writers who have deftly moonwalked into fantasy, science fiction and erotica. Caitlin Spice uses dark fantasy and horror in her stories, Samuel Te Kani explores sexuality and erotica in his writing, which has been described by Toi Māori as “some of the dopest short stories in the whole dry country” and Jem Yoshioka looks at robots, romance and resilience in her comic series ‘Circuits and Veins’.
Chaired by award-winning author: Gina Cole
Honoured Writer: Victor Rodger
3:30pm Saturday February 15th
Courageous, boisterous and cutting Victor Rodger has changed the landscape of theatre in Aotearoa over his long career. He has paved the way to explore and examine those challenging conversations about who we are. We are delighted to present Victor Rodger as our honoured writer for this year’s festival. Over his career Victor Rodger has worked in the press, performed on stage and screen, and written several award-winning plays. His work often deals with issues of sexuality, race and identity, and has been praised for its boldness, candour and freshness. Since his first award-winning play, Sons, was produced in 1995, he has written eight plays, including Black Faggot, My Name is Gary Newman and Club Paradiso. A collection of his work was published by Victoria University Press in 2017, while his personal essay, ‘Voyage Round My Father’, was published in The Best of E-Tangata the same year. Victor has also written extensively for television, as well as children’s stories for Radio New Zealand. Join us as we celebrate this iconic figure.
Peter Wells Lecture - ‘Learning: our Living’ a conversation with Charmaine Pountney
5:00pm Saturday February 15th
Charmaine Pountney is a writer, educator, lesbian and learner. Since the 1970s, Charmaine has spoken and written extensively on social justice issues. A secondary school teacher by training, Charmaine she has worked in many areas of the education system, with students, teachers and parents. In addition to speaking engagements, radio and TV activities, she's written a book, rescued a dying school, and from 1997-99 produced a weekly column for the NZ Herald. Join us with Charmaine, in conversation with Julie Watson about this remarkable woman, and her journey of learning.
Saturday Night Special: Let’s Talk about Sex
7:00 pm Saturday February 15th
Whether you’re doing it, wanting to do it, or not doing it, sex is everywhere. So how do we talk about it? Join us as we chat to some experts on writing about sex within (and out of) rainbow communities. Rainbow communities often break down rules and taboos when it comes to sex, but what taboos and rules do we still perpetuate within our own communities? Samuel Te Kani's Vice series Sex with Sam, explores the far fringes, practicalities, great myths and socio-political struggles of sex in New Zealand. Melody Thomas’ award winning RNZ podcast BANG! Offers a frank exploration of this topic using real stories told by real people, but also follows her own journey coming out as bisexual during the series and finding her place in the queer community. Mark Henrickson’s is truly an expert, his academic career has seen him studying sexual minorities, HIV prevention, consent and sexuality within residential aged-care. Moe Laga has been described as a femme fatale sex bomb one moment and humble Samoan daughter the next. An original member of the ground-breaking FAFSWAG art collective, Moe has been using movement and performance to celebrate and explore gender and sexuality, including her solo show Neon Bootleg which debuted in 2017. Joanne Drayton is a celebrated author and winner of the 2019 Ockham New Zealand Book Award for non-fiction. Her work explores the constructions of sex and sexlessness in women's lives through her biographies of women, including Ngaio Marsh, Frances Hodgkins and Anne Perry.
Chair: Sam Orchard