Ticket Sales Up In Director’s Last Year At Helm
Response to the 2009 Auckland Writers & Readers Festival guest speakers and theme – ‘”find out what on Earth is going on” – has been enthusiastic since the full programme was launched on 30 March. “A lunch event with New Yorker writer writer Judith Thurman has already sold out (Thurman can still be seen in New Yorker Night and An Hour with Judith Thurman), and overall ticket sales are 30% up on 2008. Bookings for the inaugural Schools Programme have exceeded all expectations, and we’ve had an unprecedented number of requests for programmes from outside Auckland this year which is also very encouraging” says Auckland Writers & Readers Festival Director Jill Rawnsley.
Jill has led the development of the event since 2001, and has decided that this year’s Festival will be her last. “This is my sixth festival in eight years, and I’m very proud of what has been achieved in that time. I’m especially proud of the 2009 programme,, which has been challenging and rewarding to put together. I’m eager to see it all come to life in a couple of weeks.” The festival takes place in the Aotea Centre from 13 to 17 May.
Sarah Sandley, Chair of the Auckland Writers & Readers Festival Charitable Trust, says: “Jill is known for her insight, diplomacy and attention to detail, and has led the festival to new heights during her tenure. She has sharpened every aspect of the operation, developed the event significantly, and in so doing has created a must-attend event with growing patronage. She will continue in the role until August, and assist the Board in planning a smooth transition for the new incumbent. On behalf of the Board I want to thank Jill sincerely for her contribution to the Festival, and to wish her every success with her future plans.”
“I’m going to make the most of my last festival,” says Rawnsley, “although it won’t really be my last. I will be an avid audience member from now on.”