Bring on the heritage!

How do you plan to participate in Heritage Week (21 – 31 October)? Christchurch City Libraries is celebrating with  a whole month of free heritage-inspired activites, including ancestry and family history workshops. But the question remains: have you ever taken the plunge into genealogical research?

For her recent novel, Past Perfect, New Zealand writer Karen Zelas has done just that, travelling as far afield as Rochforte, France and as close-to-home as the Christchurch Central Library. Like the heroine in her book, Zelas ended up in the Aotearoa New Zealand Centre here at Central — a specialty family history area with genealogical research facilities.

Past Perfect weaves together two Canterbury stories — one set in 1840s Akaroa and the other in modern-day Christchurch. In my recent interview with Zelas, she discusses the “very enjoyable, even compelling” research process. Without having undertaken genealogical research before, Zelas took the plunge in an effort to make her character’s process as authentic as possible, unearthing all the relevant historical information she needed for her novel.

Zelas was scheduled to attend the “Hot off the Press” session at this year’s Press Christchurch Writers Festival. Disappointment was rampant when the festival was cancelled. So here’s a bit of a post-festival fix. Read my full interview with Karen Zelas and bring on the heritage for CCL’s Family History Month!

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