The ''sassy little festival with the big ideas'' returns on Queen's Birthday weekend.
Escape 2018 is the ultimate readers and writers festival and is due to kick off June 1-4.

This is the third festival, falling on Queen's Birthday weekend, offering a mix of the up-and-coming as well as established names in fields as diverse as politics and food.

"It all came together fairly easily," Tauranga Arts Festival director Jo Bond said, "which is, I think, a reflection of the reputation our sassy little festival with the big ideas is gaining as a thought-provoking and fun weekend."

Escape! features Max Harris, Monique Fiso, Emma Espiner, Tom Scott, Sue Bradford, Michele A'Court, Allyson Gofton, Laurence Fearnley and Paula Morris, Glenn Colquhoun, Geoff Chapple, Bernard Hickey and Dr David Galler.

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Locals include MP Todd Muller, Mary Dillon, Harold Jones, Marion Arts and Dr SimonTaylor.

Schools don't miss out either — Escape! offers lowcost or free visits by storyteller Tanya Batt or writing workshops with Angie Belcher starting May 28. To book contact the festival office, 928 6213 or info@taurangafestival.co.nz

Recommendations of Escape programmer Sandra Simpson ...
"You're asking me to choose between my children," she says, "but just quietly I'm looking forward to hearing Max Harris on Friday, June 1 – the motivations behind his book The New Zealand Project and the next day's panel discussion on how we can solve some of this nation's problems.

"Sue Bradford on Saturday, June 2 – she's experienced both huge traumas and great success in her life, and the discussion with Laurence Fearnley and Harold Jones on Sunday, June 3 about the scents of our landscape and how to capture them. Enhancing the experience is the opportunity to try Queenstown Natural Perfumiers' gorgeous products."

"Can I squeak in one more? My Best Dead Friend is a dark comedy about a group of teens who one night decide to start a poetry revolution in Dunedin. It won Best of at the Wellington Fringe Festival this year, and rightly so."

TECT cardholders have until May 25 to take advantage of savings on ticket purchases for next month's Escape! festival. The first two tickets purchased to most shows are each eligible for a $4 saving on the $20 face value. The TECT cardholder offer is available only at the Baycourt box office.