WORD Christchurch Writers & Readers Festival 2014

I’m really excited to be heading to Christchurch this week for the WORD Christchurch Writers & Readers Festival, 27–31 August 2014.

I’ve spent very little time in Christchurch over the years, and nothing other than the odd day of meetings here and there since the earthquakes. I’m looking forward to getting to know the place a little over the four days I’m there for the festival.

Festival literary director Rachael King has put together a brilliant programme. I’m particularly keen to see Meg Wolitzer (I read The Interestings last month; loved it) and NoViolet Bulawayo.

At Writers Week in Wellington this year, the session featuring Eleanor Catton and her UK editor, Max Porter, was a standout for me, and I expect the WORD Christchurch session on the writer-editor relationship (4pm Friday) should be just as, umm, illuminating (sorry).  I love the idea of Anna Rogers removing her editorial cloak of invisibility to be on the panel with Owen Marshall and Laurence Fearnley, both of whom she’s edited. Anna has just abridged and adapted my novel for Radio New Zealand, so the session’ll be particularly interesting for me from that perspective — and I’ll be keen to meet her and chat about how that process was for her!

There’s a great thread of music running through this festival. I’m particularly a-quiver about two of the musicians who’ll be appearing to play music, and to talk about writing music memoir: Dave Graney and Kristin Hersh. I’ve just re-read Graney’s excellent 1001 Australian Nights, and I’m now reading Hersh’s music memoir, Paradoxical Undressing; it’s beautiful and fascinating.


I’m appearing at two events in the festival. The PechaKucha Night (tickets sold out!) on Thursday is at the Transitional Cathedral (aka the Cardboard Cathedral). Then I’m first up on Sunday morning in the Sunday Fringe programme being held at The Physics Room. Pretty damned excited that the session on Sunday sees me paired with John Chrisstoffels, who will be playing theremin, and talking knowledgeably about it (as opposed to me, talking fictitiously — or do I mean fictively? — about it).

I had a chat to Morrin Rout on Christchurch’s Plains FM Bookenz programme the other week, ahead of the festival. Listen here (listen online or download mp3).

Christchurch City Library blog is running a great series of posts on all things WORD, including asking festival guests three questions. Here are my answers.

And, so I know where to find it, here’s their post on things to do in Christchurch.

Here are my session details:

PECHAKUCHA NIGHT | Thursday 28 August, 8.20pm, Transitional Cathedral | SOLD OUT
PKN CHCH 20 features some of the festival’s top local and international writers presenting an eclectic range of PechaKuchas (each speaker has 20 images, each shown for 20 seconds; images advance automatically while the presenter speaks) that encompass their passions and expertise. More details

THE NOVEL AND THE THEREMIN | Sunday 31 August, 10am, The Physics Room | Tickets $12/$10
Tracy Farr talks to Radio New Zealand’s Lynn Freeman about her book, which was longlisted for the 2014 Miles Franklin Literary Award, and John Chrisstoffels gives a mesmerising demonstration, and tells the history, of the most mysterious of instruments, the theremin. More details

You can browse the programme online.

See you there!

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