Media & Press

Whanganui Literary Festival books influential Māori writer Witi Ihimaera

Eminent New Zealand author Witi Ihimaera has confirmed his participation in the 2023 Whanganui Literary Festival, which runs from September 29 to October 1.

“We are delighted,” says Whanganui Literary Festival Trust chairwoman Joan Rosier-Jones. “It is the 10th biennial festival, and Witi Ihimaera was a speaker in 2013. He is back by public demand.”

As well as his part in the festival, Witi will also be holding an event to celebrate the publication of a double-volume anthology of non-fiction, fiction, poetry and short stories by Māori writers. This landmark publication was edited by Witi Ihimaera, and poets Kiri Piahana Wong and Vaughan Rapatahana, who will also be in attendance at this event. The anthology is a massive undertaking and the editors are all perfectly suited to the task.

Kiri Piahana Wong’s poetry has been widely published. She co-edited Ora Nui, New Zealand’s only Māori literary journal, with Anton Blank. She has edited several poetry magazines, including JAAM and Flash Frontier and has judged several eminent literary competitions.

Vaughan Rapatahana is a poet who also writes fiction, academic articles and philosophy and language critiques. Until 2011, he edited the Māori and Indigenous Review Journal. He spent many years teaching in Nauru, Brunei, China and Hong Kong. He now lives in Mangakino and writes regular book reviews for Landfall and Scoop.

Whanganui’s own highly respected Danny Keenan is featured in the second volume of the anthology, and it is hoped he will be able to attend. Danny is a researcher and writer, and was a founding member of Te Pouhere Korero-Māori Historians Network.

The trust chairwoman said the Whanganui Literary Trustees welcomed the opportunity to support the prestigious publication during this year’s festival.

The event will take place on Thursday, September 28, at 5.30pm at Davis Lecture Theatre, Whanganui Regional Museum.

(Source – Whanganui Midweek)

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