September 2023

Queer Practice

6pm, Saturday 16th September

Good Books, 2/16 Jessie Street, Te Aro, Wellington

Queer Practice is a panel discussion celebrating the writing practice of local queer writers. Chaired by comic artist, author and archivist Sam Orchard, authors Mia Farlane, Rose Lu and Chanelle Moriah will explore what, how and why they write. Free to attend, no reservations required.

February 2023

About the February 2023 Festival

The very first Samesame But Different festival in 2016 saw Peter Wells provide a space for LGBTQIA+ writers and readers to come together in a unique way. 2020 was our first festival without Peter, however his legacy continues.

The 2023 theme of QUEEREVOLUTION is a call to celebrate our own evolution, and revolution. We haven’t always managed to create, and recreate ourselves, to write and speak ourselves into existence without some struggle so we wanted to stand in this space that we have created and loudly announce ‘we are here’, in person, IRL, and we aren’t going anywhere!

This year’s festival has been a collaborative effort, put together by a volunteer board that comprises the following talented and passionate people: Simie Simpson, Joanne Drayton, Michael Giacon, Hiraani Himona, Izzy Robinson, Rhi Munro, Nathan Joe and Sam Orchard.


6pm, Tuesday 21st February

Old Government House, 22 Princes Street, Auckland CBD

We opened our 2023 festival with the launch of Joanne Drayton’s book The Queen’s Wife (Penguin, 2023).

A modern love story: whakapapa, archeology, art and heartbreak. In 1989, two married women met by chance. They instantly connect, but little do they know that their new relationship will turn their lives upside-down.

MC’d by David Steemson.


PRIDE Poetry Speakeasy and Open Mic

5 – 7pm, Wednesday 22nd February

Grey Lynn Library, 474 Great North Road, Grey Lynn

2023 was the eight PRIDE Poetry Speakeasy and Open Mic, held in collaboration with Auckland Libraries. Hosted by Michael Giacon, the event featured readings from guest poet Tate Fountain, author of Short Films (We Are Babies Press 2022).


A staged play reading of Nathan Joe’s Losing Face.

7 – 8pm, Thursday 23rd February

Ellen Melville Centre, 2 Freyberg Place

We gave audiences a peek behind the scenes with the development of a new queer play in this staged reading.

It’s Christmas Eve and an older white male and his younger Chinese male lover are waiting for the older white male’s half-Chinese daughter to show up. What could go wrong?


6:30 – 9pm, Friday 24th February

Ellen Melville Centre, 2 Freyberg Place

Each year we hold an opening night event for the festival. There’s food and drinks, books to buy and people to chat with.

As part of the gala, we’ll also be announcing the winners of the Peter Wells Short Fiction Contest, and an author’s discussion ‘Speaking the Unspoken’


A line-up reading event featuring the work of six LGBTQIA+ authors.

7:30 – 9pm, Friday 24th February

Ellen Melville Centre, 2 Freyberg Place

Speaking the Unspoken: Words I Should Have Said is a panel discussion where authors get the opportunity to finally get the conversation they have never had off their chests!

We invited Paul Diamond, Courtney Sina Meredith, Ray Shipley, Vanessa Crofskey, Rebecca Hawkes and Anthony Lapwood to read and discuss the words they wish they’d said.


A panel discussion between different generations of LGBTQIA+ authors.

10 – 11:30am, Saturday 25th February

Ellen Melville Centre, 2 Freyberg Place

Our first session on Saturday 25th was Tuākana / Teina – a panel exploring the experiences of different generations of LGBTQIA+ authors.

Together our authors discussed the evolution and revolution of Aotearoa’s queer writing and creative community.

The panel was chaired by Aroha Awarau and featured Gina Cole, Laura Vincent and Josiah Morgan.


A panel discussion on biographical writing.

12 – 1pm, Saturday 25th February

Ellen Melville Centre, 2 Freyberg Place

A kōrero between authors who’ve told their own stories and those of others. This panel was chaired by Joanne Drayton and featured Oscar Upperton, Paul Diamond and essa may ranapiri.

Together they explored biography writing and how, and why, we tell one another’s stories.


A panel discussion on the practice of writing.

2:30 – 3:30 pm, Saturday 25th February

Ellen Melville Centre, 2 Freyberg Place

Poet, teacher and Overcom Magazine editor Grace Shelley chaired this panel discussion with comedian Ray Shipley, author Anthony Lapwood and writer and performer Freya Daly Sadgrove. Together they shared their writing journey, from finding their voice, to shaping their story, to sharing it with the world.


A kōrero on Chris’s life and work.

4 – 5pm, Saturday 25th February

Ellen Melville Centre, 2 Freyberg Place

Samesame But Different have selected an author each year to celebrate in our honoured writer session. In 2023, we selected Chris Tse, New Zealand’s thirteenth Poet Laureate.

He is the first queer, Asian writer in the role, which he describes as an incredible and life-changing opportunity. Chris was joined by Michael Giacon for a conversation exploring his life and work as an LGBTQIA+ writer.


A lecture on queer literature delivered by essa may ranapiri.

5.15 – 6.15pm, Saturday 25th February

Ellen Melville Centre, 2 Freyberg Place

Each year, we invite an author to deliver a lecture and provocation. In 2023, the lecture was delivered by poet essa may ranapiri.

Essa’s lecture explored creative expressions of the atua Hinemoana by takataapui Maaori writers – including their own work, but also that of Elizabeth Kerekere, Sinead Overbye, Michelle Rahurahu, Stacey Teague and others.


A staged theatrical poetry reading performance.

7pm and 9pm, Saturday 25th February

Basement Theatre

We worked with Auckland Pride to host performance poetry team Show Ponies, who made their long-awaited debut in Tāmaki Makaurau!

MC’d by Hugo Grrl, Show Ponies featured performances from Freya Daly Sadgrove, Rebecca Hawkes, Sam Duckor-Jones, Chris Tse, essa may ranapiri, Ruby Solly, Emma Barnes, Vanessa Mei Crofskey and Dan Goodwin.