University announced as Headline Partner of NZ Festival of the Arts Writers programme

14 November 2019

The University of Waikato has been announced as a headline University Partner of the 2020 Writers programme, and will be investing in the New Zealand Festival of the Arts’ Writers programme for the next three festivals.

University of Waikato Pro Vice-Chancellor for the Division of Arts, Law, Psychology and Social Sciences, Allison Kirkman, says, “The Writers programme is an iconic feature of New Zealand’s literary and intellectual life. It makes an outstanding contribution to public engagement with creative writing, the humanities and social sciences and applied sciences.”

“This contribution mirrors areas of strength and focus at the University of Waikato. Partnership of the Writers programme is an opportunity for the university to support and ensure the ongoing success and growth of this nationally important event.”

For 2020, the Writers programme has been expanded from one to three full weeks, giving writers the same artistic platform as other performers.

Most events will be held in a bespoke literary salon space in the Renouf Foyer of the Michael Fowler Centre. The line-up includes Booker Prize-shortlisted writer Chigozie Obioma, Booker International Prize winner Jokha Alharthi, and Joy Harjo, the first Native American to be appointed as the US Poet Laureate.

The Writers Festival is one facet of the wider New Zealand Festival of the Arts, which has launched a new-look programme designed to show how New Zealand is leading the way in innovative arts festival experiences.

The Festival runs from 21 February to 15 March 2020, and the wider Arts Festival has three guest curators: contemporary artist and radical theatre-maker Lemi Ponifasio, Grammy Award-winning musician and multimedia artist Laurie Anderson and Academy Award-winning composer, musician, actor and comedian Bret McKenzie. To find out more visit

Image credit: 2018 Writers Programme, New Zealand Festival © Matt Grace.

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