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New Zealand’s First Openly Gay Novelist Launches Inaugural LGBTIQ Literary Festival

By December 3, 2015No Comments

Media release – embargoed until 12.01am, Thursday 3 December 2015
Samesame but different logoTwenty-five years ago, renowned novelist, historian playwright and film-maker Peter Wells launched his short story collection, Dangerous Desires, the country’s first gay themed work published with the author’s actual name; today he launches the country’s inaugural LGBTIQ Writers Festival –  samesame but different.

Mr Wells, who co-founded The Auckland Writers Festival, says samesame but different is a celebration of difference and a statement of confidence in how far we have come as LGBTIQ New Zealanders.

Peter Wells

Peter Wells

Samesame but different will be broad in scope, featuring some of Aotearoa New Zealand’s top writers and will also focus on new LGBTIQ voices, introducing emerging talent.

“Audiences can expect interviews, panels and discussions on a broad number of issues affecting our lives.

“Intelligent, funny, smart and controversial, samesame but different seeks to broaden the audience beyond core LGBTIQ to include friends, family and those interested in celebrating difference.”

Samesame but different features: broadcaster Alison Mau, actor and playwright Victor Rodger, Whaitiri Mikaere aka Deisel Dyke Poet, novelist Witi Ihimaera, Labour party politician Grant Robertson, Metro magazine editor Susannah Walker, Home magazine editor Jeremy Hansen, YA novelist Paula Boock,  novelist Stevan Eldred Grigg, biographer Joanne Drayton, memoirist, dancer and choreographer Douglas Wright and playwright Aroha Awarau.

Samesame but different runs 12-14 February 2016 at AUT in central Auckland and is part of the Auckland Pride Festival. Go to for the full programme.  For tickets go to

Auckland Pride Festival curator Ta’i Paitai acknowledges Peter Wells for organising the inaugural samesame but different Literary Festival.

“Featuring some of New Zealand’s esteemed writers, this event brings together artists and audiences for what will be one of the ‘not to be missed’ highlights of Auckland Pride Festival 2016,” says Mr Paitai.

Mr Wells says written and spoken language became useful weapons, honed during his secondary school years.

“I was always a very timid boy after I was bullied at Mt Albert Grammar. But I have to thank them, because I became a writer, as I could say on paper what I couldn’t say out loud.

“But when I am faced with an audience at festivals, I always have an involuntary reaction. For one moment the audience turns into the boys at MAGS and I close down. I learnt to get past this moment of primal fear and in fact I began to feel the enormous freedom of being able to say exactly what I wanted. I developed what is called ‘a sharp tongue’.

“This is one of the motivations behind me putting together, with a group of people, the country’s first LGBTIQ Writers’ Festival.

A sharp tongue has its uses,” says Peter Wells.

Dangerous Desires by Peter Wells was published in 1991 and won the Reed New Zealand Book Award. It became a bestseller and was published in New York and London. Niki Caro made her first feature film Memory & Desire from one of its stories.

Samesame but different LGBTIQ Writers’ Festival is enormously grateful to funding and support from Creative New Zealand, The Wallace Foundation, AUT and GABA.


For interview enquiries or further information please contact: Penny Hartill, director hPR, 09 445 7525, 021 721 424,