Quick Questions with Vanda Symon – WORD Christchurch

CoverWe are asking quick questions of writers and thinkers coming to the WORD Christchurch Festival 2018 (Wednesday 29 August to Sunday 2 September).

Vanda Symon is the author of the Detective Sam Shephard series, and the standalone thriller, The Faceless. She is a three-time Ngaio Marsh Award finalist, and is a judge of the Ngaio Marsh Award for best first crime novel.

Vanda Symon, Image supplied.
Vanda Symon, Image supplied.

What are you looking forward to doing in Christchurch?

Catching up with my writer cronies.

What do you think about libraries?

They are my happy place.

CoverWhat would be your desert island book?

Diana Gabaldon’s Cross Stitch.

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

I attack people with swords for relaxation.

Vanda Symon’s sessions at WORD Christchurch Festival 2018

Paul Cleave: Crimechurch Friday 31 August 11.30am

Murder in the Chamber: Ngaio Marsh finalists Saturday 1 September 5.30pm

The 2018 Ngaio Marsh Awards Saturday 1 September 7pm

2018 Hugo Award Winners: A great year for women in science fiction and fantasy

Hugo Award logoThe World Science Fiction Convention* that was hosting the Hugo Award ceremony has finished, the results are in and this year’s Hugo Award winners have been announced.

Women dominated this year’s Hugo Awards in what has turned out to be a great year

for women in science fiction and fantasy; a genre, that it is fair to say, has been dominated historically by men.

So without further ado, here are the winners of this year’s Hugo Awards.

Cover of The stone skyBest Novel: The Stone Sky, by N.K. Jemisin

This year’s Hugo Award for best novel goes to Book three of The Broken Earth Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin. Books one and two, The Fifth Season and The Obelisk Gate respectively, are both previous winners of the award. This also makes N.K. Jemisin the first author to win three Hugo Awards for best novel in a row as well as making The Broken Earth the only trilogy in which all three novels are best novel winners (the closest to doing so previously was Kim Stanley Robinson‘s Mars Trilogy with two wins and a finalist position).

Cover of No time to spareBest Related Work: No Time to Spare, By Ursula Le Guin.

Essentially, this is the reward for best piece of non-fiction related to the world of science fiction and fantasy and understandably, recently deceased Ursula Le Guin, now six time winner of the Hugo Award and Science Fiction royalty, is the winner of this category. ‘No Time to Spare’ is a collection of Le Guin’s musings on various subjects from the mundane to the philosophical.

Cover of Monstress vol. 2Best Graphic Story: Monstress, by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda

The best graphic novel of the year is the sequel to 2017’s winner: ‘Monstress Vol. 2’. Monstress is an apocalyptic steampunk fable notable for its exceptional artwork (with artist Sana Takeda also winning this year’s award for Best Professional Artist) and interesting world building.

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form: Wonder Woman, screenplay by Allan Heinberg, story by Zack Snyder & Allan Heinberg and Jason Fuchs, directed by Patty Jenkins (DC Films / Warner Brothers).

What essentially amounts to the award for best film, Wonder Woman takes the cake for its adaptation of the DC Comic hero in a film that captures the essence of this year’s Hugo Awards winners.

Winners of all categories are as follows:

Best Novella: All Systems Red, by Martha Wells

Best Novelette: The Secret Life of Bots, by Suzanne Palmer

Best Short Story: Welcome to your Authentic Indian Experience™, by Rebecca Roanhorse

Best Series: World of the Five Gods, by Lois McMaster Bujold

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form: The Good Place: “The Trolley Problem,” written by Josh Siegal and Dylan Morgan, directed by Dean Holland

Best Editor, Short Form: Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas

Best Editor, Long Form: Sheila E. Gilbert

Best Professional Artist: Sana Takeda

Best Semiprozine: Uncanny Magazine, edited by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas, Michi Trota, and Julia Rios; podcast produced by Erika Ensign & Steven Schapansky

Best Fanzine: File 770, edited by Mike Glyer

Best Fancast: Ditch Diggers, presented by Mur Lafferty and Matt Wallace

Best Fan Writer: Sarah Gailey

Best Fan Artist: Geneva Benton

Don’t forget to check out previous year’s winners for best novel, best related work, graphic story, novella, and short story.

*Worldcon comes to New Zealand in 2020, with Wellington having hosting duties.

Quick Questions with Lloyd Jones – WORD Christchurch

CoverWe are asking quick questions of writers and thinkers coming to the WORD Christchurch Festival 2018 (Wednesday 29 August to Sunday 2 September).

Lloyd Jones is one of New Zealand’s most internationally successful contemporary writers. He has published essays and children’s books as well as adult fiction but his best-known work is the phenomenally successful novel, Mister Pip. The Cage is his most recent novel.

Lloyd Jones. Image supplied.
Lloyd Jones. Image supplied.

What are you looking forward to doing in Christchurch?

I’ll be at the writers festival, but if I have a chance I will go for a wander in lovely Hagley Park.

What do you think about libraries?

The question betrays a concern about the place of libraries – and books – and their decline in our community.  Less than a decade ago, few would have questioned the place of libraries. The sad and unavoidable fact is book-reading has lost its centrality to our culture. In NZ, few people read. Literature is marginalised in the school curriculum. Few teachers read. Fewer still are able to argue for the place of literature in the lives of anyone let alone young people. But to answer the question, I love libraries – at least those ones still with books on their shelves.  I’ve always thought that, collectively, all the libraries in the world offer a repository for Human kind’s thinking aloud.

What would be your desert island book?

One with blank pages or the collected works of Shakespeare.

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

I used to have hair.

Lloyd Jones’ sessions at WORD Christchurch Festival 2018

Lloyd Jones in conversation with John Campbell Friday 31 August 1pm

The Freedom Papers Sunday 2 September 1pm

Quick Questions with Rajorshi Chakraborti – WORD Christchurch

CoverWe are asking quick questions of writers and thinkers coming to the WORD Christchurch Festival 2018 (Wednesday 29 August to Sunday 2 is an Indian-born novelist, essayist and short story writer. He has lived in India, Canada, England and Scotland, where he lectured in English literature and creative writing at the University of Edinburgh. He now lives in Wellington.

Rajorshi Chakraborti. Image supplied.
Rajorshi Chakraborti. Image supplied.

What are you looking forward to doing in Christchurch?

Meeting visitors to the festival and exploring as much of the city centre on foot as I can in between the fantastic line-up of events at WORD. Oh, and also visiting Christchurch Art Gallery.

What do you think about libraries?

My gratitude for them is boundless. Life would truly be unimaginable without libraries for our family. But also increasingly, I value so much the wider ethos of a society that maintains public libraries as well-funded, free-to-use, open, welcoming spaces.

What would be your desert island book?

An unabridged edition of the Indian epic, The Mahabharata, simply because it is an ocean of stories, containing within it endless human, and divine (!), complexity and variability. It is said of the Mahabharata “What is here is elsewhere. What is not here is nowhere else.”

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

That the house we live in in Wellington is the roof under which I have spent the longest time of any in my life. I have lived in this house, and indeed in NZ, for 8 years now. The previous record was 5 years and 4 months, held by my first childhood home in Calcutta, India. In between, I kept on moving.

Rajorshi Chakraborti‘s sessions at WORD Christchurch Festival 2018

Starry, starry night Friday 31 August 8pm

The Politics of Fiction Saturday 1 September 4pm

Quick Questions with Diana Wichtel – WORD Christchurch

CoverWe are asking quick questions of writers and thinkers coming to the WORD Christchurch Festival 2018 (Wednesday 29 August to Sunday 2 September).

Diana Wichtel is a multi-award-winning journalist and a feature writer and television critic at the New Zealand Listener. She has been a New Zealand Herald columnist, a television reviewer for Radio Live and a writer of dialogue for television.

Diana Wichtel. Image supplied.
Diana Wichtel. Image supplied.

What are you looking forward to doing in Christchurch?

Taking in again the indomitable spirit of the place and, as it happens, taking a look at the soon to be opened new library.

What do you think about libraries?

They should be the heart of a community. Seeing all the kids lounging about reading at our new library in Devonport gives me hope.

CoverWhat would be your desert island book?

Maus by Art Spiegelman, a two volume account in comic form of the Spiegelman family’s Holocaust history and its legacy. Devastating, quite often funny, audacious, inexhaustible.

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

I’ve been in the same relationship for 37 years, lived in the same house for 36 years, worked at the NZ Listener for 34 years. Surprisingly resistant to change.

Diana Wichtel’s session at WORD Christchurch Festival 2018

Diana Wichtel: Driving to Treblinka Sunday 2 September 11.30am

Quick Questions with Barbara Else – WORD Christchurch

CoverWe are asking quick questions of writers and thinkers coming to the WORD Christchurch Festival 2018 (Wednesday 29 August to Sunday 2 September).

Barbara Else MNZM is an award-winning author who also works as a manuscript assessor. She has held university fellowships and was awarded the Margaret Mahy Medal for services to children’s literature. Her latest book is Go Girl – A Storybook of Epic NZ Women.

Barbara Else. Photo credit: Caroline Davies
Barbara Else. Photo credit: Caroline Davies

What are you looking forward to doing in Christchurch?

I’m longing to see the Art Gallery

What do you think about libraries?

Libraries are treasure houses, and school librarians in particular are guardian angels.

What would be your desert island book?

My desert island book – can I just take a library?

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

A surprising fact about me? When I was little I used to borrow a particular library book again and again even though I had my own copy at home. (The Five Chinese Brothers)

Barbara Else’s sessions at WORD Christchurch Festival 2018

Margaret Mahy Lecture – Barbara Else: Go Girl Saturday 1 September 10am

Quick Questions with Megan Dunn – WORD Christchurch

CoverWe are asking quick questions of writers and thinkers coming to the WORD Christchurch Festival 2018 (Wednesday 29 August to Sunday 2 September).

Megan Dunn writes about mermaids and contemporary New Zealand art. Her first book, Tinderbox, is about the end of Borders bookstores, Ray Bradbury and Julie Christie’s hair. But not necessarily in that order.

Megan Dunn. Image supplied.
Megan Dunn. Image supplied.

What are you looking forward to doing in Christchurch?

Whale watching with author of Leviathan, Philip Hoare. I’ll have what’s he having. Lately, I’ve been speaking to so many mermaids whose lives have been transformed by swimming with whales. But I am no mermaid, more of a big chicken. However, this is an unmissable opportunity to see whales with an expert and to try and move physically and psychologically closer to the power of the sea and our place within it.

What do you think about libraries?

I think what Ray Bradbury thinks: ‘Without libraries what have we? We have no past and no future.’

What would be your desert island book?

Tough call. It’s gotta be the one I’d write in the sand with a stick. I hope Wilson will like it.

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

I don’t eat fish.

Megan Dunn’s sessions at WORD Christchurch Festival 2018

You write funny! Friday 31 August 5.30pm FREE

Mortification Saturday 1 September 5.30pm

WORD Christchurch Festival and Book Towns

My tickets are booked for the WORD Christchurch Festival and I am happily attending an eclectic bunch of sessions, starting with Alt-America and ending with The Sex and Death Salon.  What I enjoyed about the last festival was the feeling of being surrounded by people who love books. The buzz and the talk is booky and fun. There are groups of people chatting away about the last session, or the books they might have bought – and the awe and excitement of meeting their favourite author.

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With this in mind I was delighted to see my reserve for Book Towns: Forty-five paradises of the printed word arrive on my desk this morning. This small book contains anecdotes of Books towns around the world, many being part of the International Organisation of Book Towns. Many towns have numerous bookshops, but these towns have embraced books as a way of driving tourism and regenerating communities faced with economic collapse and unemployment.

Featherston in the Wairarapa is featured.

CoverWigtown also warrants a chapter. Shaun Bythell, owner of The Bookshop – and writer of the uber-popular Diary of a Bookseller will be here for WORD Christchurch.

Shaun Bythell. Image supplied.
Shaun Bythell. Image supplied.

The effect of becoming a Book Town can be far-reaching with many organising Book Festivals, accommodation and craft outlets to support the whole book experience. Pop up book towns are now becoming a feature – unused empty spaces are taken over by booksellers, often alongside a festival and featuring local artisans, music and food, as well as all the wonderful books of course.

Perhaps an idea for Christchurch?

Quick Questions with Catherine Chidgey – WORD Christchurch

CoverWe are asking quick questions of writers and thinkers coming to the WORD Christchurch Festival 2018 (Wednesday 29 August to Sunday 2 September).

Catherine Chidgey’s novels have been published to international acclaim. The Wish Child won the 2016 Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize and Golden Deeds was a  Los Angeles Times book of the year. Chidgey was awarded the 2017 Janet Frame Fiction Prize.

Catherine Chidgey. Photo credit: Helen Mayall
Catherine Chidgey. Photo credit: Helen Mayall

What are you looking forward to doing in Christchurch?

Catching up with the Chidgey cousins.

What do you think about libraries?

They are adventure playgrounds, churches, sweet shops, universities, cruise ships, refuges, time machines…

CoverWhat would be your desert island book?

Wuthering Heights.

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

My second and third toes are ever-so-slightly webbed.

Catherine Chidgey’s sessions at WORD Christchurch Festival 2018

Catherine Chidgey: Transformations Friday 31 August 10am

Catherine Chidgey: Through the senses workshop Friday 31 August 12.30pm

Parachutist free-falling from a Gipsy Moth over Christchurch: Picturing Canterbury

Parachutist free-falling from a Gipsy Moth over Christchurch [196-?]. File Reference CCL PhotoCD 11, IMG0034.
The ZK-AAW was a Gypsy Moth which belonged to the Canterbury Aero Club and was used to train pilots. In 1933 it was used as a support plane for a parachute drop performed by “Scotty” Frazer. In 1935, while being flown by J.J. Busch on a return flight from Rangiora to the Wigram aerodrome, it was damaged when it crashed in Ohoka. While being repaired it was repainted with the colours of the aero club, red for the fuselage and black for the undercarriage and engine cowling. The ZK-AAW suffered further damage in 1936 when it crash landed in a paddock at Eveline and collided with a gorse hedge.

Do you have any photographs of the Canterbury Aero Club? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch and Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

Parachutist Free-falling From A Gipsy Moth Over Christchurch