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Aus, NZ festival of literature and arts director steps down

The founder and director of the Australian and New Zealand Festival of Literature and the Arts, Jon Slack, has stepped down from his position.

Slack told Books+Publishing that executive director Vivienne Wordley, a former program director of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature and commercial director of Foyles, will take over his responsibilities ‘for the remainder of the year’ and that he will ‘continue to advise, advocate and be helpful in any way that I can to support the Festival’s future work’.

Slack said he is currently involved in several ‘ongoing projects in the book industry’.

The Australian reports that the festival failed to meet its sponsorship and audience goals in its second year. Festival chairman Ken Smith said the week-long event, which was held in London in May, ‘did not reach our targets with corporate sponsorship, audience numbers or ticket sales’, and that a new deal had been struck with creditors.

‘The failure to achieve sustainable audience levels throughout the 2015 festival and to secure sufficient corporate sponsorship left us with a financial position which is of great concern to the festival’s trustees and board,’ said Smith.  

No date has yet been set for the 2016 festival.

As previously reported by Books+Publishing, the Australian and New Zealand Festival of Literature and the Arts was first held in 2014 with core funding from the Australia Council for the Arts and Creative New Zealand. The Australia Council’s funding dropped from ‘more than $90,000’ in the festival’s first year to $48,000 in 2015.


Category: Local news