New festival showcases culture from down under

Australian and New Zealand literature, theatre, film and music will be showcased in London next year as part of a new festival.

In May 2014 British audiences will be able to see a range of performances and events, celebrating Antipodean culture and creativity.

Funded by the Australia Council for the Arts and Creative New Zealand, the inaugural Australia New Zealand Festival of Literature & Arts will take place over four days.

The festival will feature some of the nations’ most celebrated writers, including Hannah Kent, Courtney Collins, Eleanor Catton and Craig Silvey.

This summer a ‘Literary BBQ’ event will be staged to drum up interest around next year’s festival. Organisers have also launched an Australian-New Zealand digital community to highlight cultural news and views through a social media and blogging network.

The much-loved Australian novelist and playwright Thomas Keneally has vocalised his support for the event, saying: ‘Dear England. We’re going to send you a big present: our Australian and New Zealand writers, film and music makers. It will all be like a series of loveable and brilliant personages emerging from the gift box and invigorating and charming you. It’s about time we got round to startling you, and the moment approaches. May we both enjoy it!’

Amphora Arts, which also organises the London-based South Asian Literature Festival, will produce and coordinate the new festival.

Amphora Arts’ director Jon Slack said: ‘There are fantastic artistic achievements from Australians and New Zealanders to build upon, and the potential for further collaboration between these artists and those in Britain is huge. London is the ideal location and we’re going to have a bit of fun with stereotypes while we’re at it. Our hope is that this initiative will unlock unexpected and affecting stories and re-imagine the perception of Australia and New Zealand for everyone.’