WORD Christchurch Writers and Readers Festival kicks off on 27 August. We’ve asked three quick questions of festival guests:

Doc Drumheller

Cover of The life and loves of Lena GauntWhat (or who) are you most looking forward to at WORD Christchurch?

I am involved in several shows that I am looking forward to: Survivor Poetry, The Catalyst Road Show, and Poetry for Lunch. I am very excited by the amount of poetry in this festival and a highlight for me will be: Anis Mojgani, a two time US slam champion. There are many other events like the Rising Voices poetry slam, and the Sunday Fringe that I look forward to as well. This festival has so many interesting events that will appeal to many people with different tastes and interests, from food writing, to comic books, and many free events for young people.

What do you think about libraries?

I love libraries and librarians, and spend a most of time in libraries either running poetry workshops or researching for writing projects. I have recently been involved in the free workshops for young writers, organised by All Right?, and the School for Young Writers. I worked with writers in the South Library, the Upper Riccarton Library, and the Aranui Library, to produce work for a chapbook to be launched in the festival. Each of these libraries are very modern and have great facilities for learning opportunities.

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

I am a very keen gardener, and enjoy pickling, and preserving food. One of my hobbies is self sufficiency.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder, anally retentive, neat freak – the terms are out there.

Book Cover: The art of clean up

I’ve always been a little obsessive about order. When in stores, often red and large, my husband comes up to me and whispers “You’re doing it again”, and I realise I’m organising the bins of DVDs, making sure they are all up the right way, putting the ones that go together, well, together. If I am eating out and they bring cutlery, I will make sure they are straight and perfectly lined up, along with the salt and pepper and I’ll put things in order of colour, length, size – aahhh that’s better!

I actually feel agitated when I see disorder but can’t do anything about it.

At the library, I like to tidy, I like lining things up, straightening, and I get a real sense of calm when I have tidied and made things ‘right’. My brain relaxes. Libraries are perfect places to work if you have the ordered (compulsive) gene and I’m not the only one drawn to the order of a library shelf. So when a book arrived as a reserve for me, I did wonder about it, not sure I’d put it on hold, but it really appealed to me. I then found out a fellow librarian had put the book on hold for me, knowing I would love it. And I do.

Book cover: Unstuff your life

The Art of the Clean Up by Ursus Wehrli is a gem of a book. Well, it spoke to me. A book that on one page has an innocent bowl of alphabet soup photographed, then on the facing page has the soup sorted, so that the letters are lined up a-z and the carrot chunks are in a nice line underneath, perfectly spaced, you understand. On another page, the left page has a car park full of cars, on the facing page, the cars have all been parked in colour matching chunks. The photographs are lush and ordered and are  funny and quirky or weird and disturbing, depending on the way your mind works – I did a little survey among my workmates to see their reactions.

There are heaps of books out there to help you organise your life if you feel it is out of control. There are people who will come into your house and sort it all out for you, I have wondered if this is my dream job.

But I do wonder if it is healthy to fight your natural inclinations. I don’t fight my need for order, don’t get embarrassed by it or feel I have to curb it  and I think if you are a naturally messy person, just go with it. I guess as long as the health department doesn’t need to be informed, and it makes you happy, all is well.

Are you a lover of order or chaos? What makes your brain go aahhh?









WORD Christchurch Writers and Readers Festival kicks off on 27 August. We’ve asked three quick questions of festival guests:

Brannavan Gnanalingam – writer

What (or who) are you most looking forward to at WORD Christchurch?

I’m most looking forward to seeing a bit of Christchurch. It’s a city I’m sorry to say, I haven’t spent much time in, but many of my favourite Kiwi musicians, writers, and artists have come from it. That and being able to see all of the writers.

What do you think about libraries?

My life would have been completely different if it wasn’t for my local library. I pillaged (though always returned my books on time) the Hutt City Library growing up. Mum would take me whenever I asked (which was usually weekly) and would wait patiently while I took my time. I wouldn’t be such a voracious reader, and therefore a writer, without the existence of libraries (and Mum’s patience). Libraries are crucial in modern societies, in ensuring literature doesn’t become, once again, the sole domain of those who can afford it.

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

The first thing I ever published was an acrostic poem about Richard Hadlee at the age of six in one of the Sunday newspapers. I assigned an adjective to each letter making up Hadlee’s name. In hindsight, it was probably an elegy as he had just retired. I suppose it’s a start?

WORD Christchurch Writers and Readers Festival kicks off on 27 August. We’ve asked three quick questions of festival guests:

Tania Roxborogh – writer

Cover of BirthrightWhat (or who) are you most looking forward to at WORD Christchurch?

 Fan-girling some of my favourite writers and getting to discuss my writing ups and downs with other writers in my genre.

What do you think about libraries?

They are my resting place. I have turned my daughter’s old bedroom into a library and I love spending time in it, looking around at all my books – MY books – one’s that I’ve read and I remember what I was doing, thinking, being, feeling when I read that particular book. I also love going to the Otago Uni library because it’s a place of action too – as it is for many school libraries. Libraries are my safe place.

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

I have my motorbike license. I rode a motorbike during my second and third year at uni. I still have my awesome helmet (but not the bike)

WORD Christchurch Writers and Readers Festival kicks off on 27 August. We’ve asked three quick questions of festival guests:

Wallace Chapman – tv and radio host, and writer

Cover of The InterestingsWhat (or who) are you most looking forward to at WORD Christchurch?

Meg Wolitzer, because I read her book The Interestings, and it was fabulous. What happens when your teen group of friends grow up together and form relationships.

What do you think about libraries?

Possibly one of the greatest gifts to Civic Life were Libraries. For a 1 year stretch when doing my own book, my Library card got a bigger workout than my EFTPOS card. They’re essential and ever changing.

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

I can put a needle into myself ( long story, but I can self infuse )

You can go through the Lyttelon Road Tunnel on foot, by bike, or skateboard on Sunday 31 August, from 9.30am to 12.30pm. At the other end of the tunnel, there will be a market day in Lyttelton hosted by the Lyttelton Harbour Business Association. The library mobile van will be outside the Lyttelton Library, with storytelling for children.This occasion celebrates 50 years of the Tunnel, the opening of the new tunnel control building and national recognition for its engineering heritage. Read more: Triple celebration for Lyttelton Tunnel. NZ Transport Agency: Southern Region

On Monday 1 September at 7 pm Jack Smith, who was involved in the tunnel construction, will speak in the Lyttelton Library about his experiences and promote the book he has written as part of the Fletcher Construction history series, No job too hard.

The Lyttelton Road Tunnel opened 27 February 1964 creating a vital link between the city of Christchurch, New Zealand and its port Lyttelton. The tunnel complemented the long established Lyttelton Rail Tunnel. It is the longest road tunnel in New Zealand.

Opening of Lyttelton Road Tunnel

27 Feb 1964. People were invited to walk through the tunnel on opening day. Flickr: HW08-IMG-FE062

The Lyttelton Road Tunnel Administration Building at the Heathcote (Christchurch) end of the tunnel was designed by Christchurch architect Peter Beaven. The distinctive building was demolished in the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquakes.

NZTA reports the new $1.5 million tunnel control building, designed by Wellington-based Architecture Lab and built by local company Higgs Construction to 160 percent of the Building Code, signals a new era for the operation of the tunnel.

Ceiling panels being lifted into place during the construction of the Christchurch-Lyttelton Road Tunnel

Ceiling panels being lifted into place during the construction of the Christchurch-Lyttelton Road Tunnel. ca. 1963. Flickr: CCL-KPCD-11-035

Go to Britannica SmartmathsI struggle to love maths. Distant memories of being made to stand in front of class and recite my times tables as a child still haunt me. Of course my maths learning took place in the dark old days when the most fun you could have was putting in certain numbers on your calculator and turning it upside down so it would spell  “BOOB”. We have moved on from there so  let me introduce you to something much more fun. Britannica SmartMaths Practice  aims to improve confidence in all areas of maths using a game like interface with six different levels depending on age and skill.  It covers topics such as:

  • Numbers: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions and percentages;
  • Shape and Space: curves, angles, quadrilaterals, triangles, circles and symmetry;
  • Algebra: elementary and complex equations;
  • Measures: length and distance, time, money, perimeter, area, volume and speed;
  • Data Handling: pictograms, block graphs, charts, statistics, probability, coordinate geometry.

It is aimed at those aged 6-14 years of age with activities and quizzes, but I can tell you as a grown up of a certain age it was a revelation to me too!  You can even earn badges and points that can be used to choose a different character to cheer you on. I don’t think maths would have been half as traumatic if I could have worked my way through a bright happy place such as this! Get those kids learning with this – and have a look yourself. You would be amazed at what you have forgotten!


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