The Going West Books & Writers Festival happens every September in Auckland. Launched in 1996, 2018 will be the 23rd Going West Festival. In Maurice Gee’s novel 'Going West' (1992) he describes travelling by steam train from Loomis (Henderson) to the central City. In Murray Gray’s Parnell bookshop 'Under Silkwood', a customer remarked on this evocative writing, and a random remark fuelled a passion to see the establishment of a literary festival complete with a train journey in West Auckland.
A friend in advertising, Bob Harvey, thought it was a great idea. He was planning to run for the Mayoralty in Waitakere City, and if he got in he’d make it happen. True to his word and with the support of the City’s Arts Coordinator Naomi McCleary, and the City’s first Library Manager Adrian Birkbeck, in 1996 the Going West Festival began. It was Auckland’s first literary festival.
The centrepiece of the Festival is the annual Literary Weekend, which runs from Friday evening until Sunday afternoon. The daytime programme features New Zealand writers in conversation, lively panel discussions, readings and participatory activities.
Friday evening's gala opening includes the Curnow Reader, a noted New Zealand poet performing their work; and the Douglas Orator, a respected writer speaking to the theme of the year's festival.
The Festival also includes a poetry slam, a theatre season, film screenings, and other satellite events. For further information please see the website: www.goingwestfest.co.nz