Aardvarks + Aussies + BUST, oh my!

In a fortnight I’ll be in Christchurch for WORD Christchurch Writers & Readers Festival 2016 (24–28 August). There’s a hashtag, of course; trust @kebabette to wear it with style.

The last #WORDCHCH, in 2014, was fabulous (I wrote about it here and here, and here‘s the PechaKucha talk I gave there), and this year the festival promises (less scary than lions and tigers and bears) Aardvarks and Aussies and BUST. Oh my!



There’ll be a cluster (a flock, a herd, a Bureau) of Aardvarks at #WORDCHCH. Fresh new UK publisher Aardvark Bureau has three New Zealand authors (of a total of eight) on its list, and all three of us will be appearing at #WORDCHCH.

Sadly for me, I can’t make it to Fiona Kidman’s session (in conversation with Owen Marshall) on Friday morning (it’s on at the same time as my fiction workshop), but I’ll try to catch her at the all-star power of poetry session on Friday evening. Damien Wilkins is taking part in two sessions on Sunday, and both look great.

For me, the Aardvarkian icing on the #WORDCHCH cake (appropriately, for he’s a keen baker) is Scott Pack. I’m delighted that I’ll finally get to meet the chap who gathered all three of us – Damien, Fiona and me – into the Aardvark Bureau list. Scott’s doing two sessions: a workshop on Friday on how to perfect your submission, and a free session on Saturday morning, adventures in publishing (where I get to introduce Scott). Heads up: Scott’s also a guest at the National Writers Forum in Auckland in September.

WORD Christchurch 2016



Alternating my “I’m a Kiwi” hat with my “I’m an Aussie” one, it’s wonderful to see a bunch of writers heading to #WORDCHCH from Australia. There are those – like me – with a foot in each country: Stephen Daisley, Nic Low and Barnaby Bennett are New Zealanders living in Australia. Other guests from Australia include Tim Flannery (of The Weather Makers fame) on climate and hope; Tara Moss on Speaking Out; Kate Holden on memoir (I read her wonderful memoir In My Skin from the shelves of the library at Varuna when I was there last year); poet Ali Cobby Eckermann. Andy Griffiths’ books featured heavily in my child’s reading back in the day (oh how we sniggered together while reading The Day My Bum Went Psycho) (because bums are always funny). Find links to all their sessions via the bios page on the festival website.



And then there’s BUST. I might not be their target audience, but I’m a long-time fan of BUST magazine, and looking forward to seeing Debbie Stoller (BUST co-founder, editor-in-chief). I blame her Stitch ‘n Bitch books for getting me back into knitting, a decade ago. At #WORDCHCH, she’s talking about feminism, magazines and crafts (all the good things). I shall be in the front row, probably knitting a sock.



Find the #WORDCHCH programme online

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