Literacy Excellence from Aotearoa’s Queer Writers Showcased at Pride Festival

Press release: Auckland Pride Festival, 21 January 2021

Do you love everything panel talks, workshops, lectures, readings, and poetry speakeasys? Well this is the event for you! Support local artists this pride festival at the 6th annual samesame but different LGBTQIA+ Literary Festival February 10-14, 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 Coutts, New 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.


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