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And Off To... Australia & New Zealand Festival of Literature & Arts – Opening Night

29 May 2015


Last night saw the official opening of the second annual Australia & New Zealand Festival of Literature & Arts and, as an active supporter of the arts and culture for over 25 years now, Grange Hotels is delighted to partner with the festival once again and provide a ‘home away from home’ for some of this year’s performers. The line-up welcomed acts from across the 2015 programme. From comedians to writers, musicians to poets, each performer had at least one thing in common; their love of Australasia.


The show opened with the deep bellowing sound of musician Tony White and his didgeridoo. Set against the backdrop of an Australian dirt road, White sat barefoot on the floor with his legs stretched out, his feet cradling the end of this impressive instrument before he raised it to us in the audience.


After a peaceful and inspiring introduction to the show, Kiwi comedian Jarred Christmas burst onto the stage to announce himself as our compère for the evening. We began with a sort of ‘applause-o-meter’, which revealed that roughly 80% of the audience hailed from the Antipodes, and were introduced to the next act; Man Booker Prize shortlisted author, Steve Toltz, who read a gripping excerpt from his new book Quicksand whilst Munch’s The Scream stared at us from behind him. 


In stark contrast to the evening’s other performers, Javier Jarquin, aka the 'Card Ninja', treated the crowd to some extreme card manipulation; a performance which involved throwing, juggling and even boomeranging cards. This act, accompanied by Jarquin’s comedic routine, certainly livened up the audience and had us roaring with laughter as we ducked and dodged the flying cards.


The show closed with writer Duncan Sarkies performing part of his new novel Demolition of the Century; a provocative piece in which he personified machinery and sexualised the act of demolishing buildings.

Despite only being in its second year, the festival will see an impressive 56 events taking place at Kings College London between today and Sunday, and that’s after we’ve already been treated to a host of lead-up events across London and Brighton earlier this month. And if the opening night is anything to go by, we suggest you go and see as much as you can!

As the festival’s Official London Hotel Partner, Grange Hotels is offering festivalgoers 15% off best available rates* during the week of the festival at their flagship hotel, Grange St Paul’s. To book, simply quote ‘Australia’ and enjoy a touch of luxury amongst the literary! 

Reservations via 020 72337888 or book online. Grange Holborn Hotel’s Koto restaurant have an ANZ Festival dinner deal, no booking required.

*Rates include English breakfast, flexible cancellation terms, health club and spa facilities. Subject to availability.