There is more, but don’t wait – buy a ticket now!

LogoYes, two proposed festivals were cancelled, but The Press Christchurch Writers’  Festival isn’t going to let a few earthquakes stop local audiences hearing the words of some of our best writers.

In July, August and September the festival is bringing some entertaining, challenging and thrilling literary events to Christchurch.

On Wednesday 27 of  July Rachael King and Lloyd Jones will be in conversation about The Silence Beyond: Selected Writings of Michael King. In this new book,  Rachael has assembled a collection of her father’s wide-ranging, often personal essays, talks and eulogies, some previously unpublished,  highlighting the full scope of talents of one of New Zealand’s greatest modern thinkers.

coverOn Sunday 7  August  Owen Marshall will be talking talking to broadcaster Ruth Todd about his subtle and compelling new novel, The Larnachs. This  tale of intrigue, morality, judgement and scandal draws on the family history  of James Ludie Lanarch – the politician and self-made man who built the famous ‘castle’ on the Otago peninsula. It is a memorable piece of fiction from one of our most talented authors.

I’ve already blogged about Tess Gerritsen and John Hart Setting the Stage for Murder as part of the Christchurch Arts Festival on Sunday 21 August. I’m so excited about Gerritsen I had to be restrained from telling  a woman on the street in Cheviot  with a copy of Girl missing about this event – apparently sharing such useful information with strangers is beyond tragic.  After Gerritsen and Hart discuss their latest novels there will be the presentation of the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel by a New Zealandwriter in 2010, with the finalists all reading excerpts from their thrilling tales.

What’s For Pudding?  is the question Kate Fraser, food editor of The Press, will be posing to Alexa Johnston on Wednesday 31 August. Following on from the success of Johnston’s best-selling Ladies a Plate, her new collection of  tried and true recipes will be a selection of sweet treats that have graced New Zealand tables for generations. Apparently the choice of hot and cold puddings reflects the changing social habits in a century of cooking in New Zealand. Social habits have changed so much in my household that the question is what is pudding, not what is for pudding, so some tips might be timely.

I’m also really looking forward to Putting Words to the Feelings on Sunday 18 September, when five writers with strong Canterbury links – Fiona Farrell, Joanna Preston, Tusiata Avia, Carl Nixon and Charlotte Randall – reflect on their experiences of the Christchurch earthquake and how the reimagined landscape of the city and its surroundings will emerge within their writing.  This will be presented as part of Christchurch Arts Festival.

Which is your must-see session?

Clint: “I’m just a guy who makes movies.”

It made my day to see ClintSearch BiblioCommons for Clint arrive on the shelves. And I think people of all ages will find much to enjoy. Clint’s movie career spans six decades so even the youngest moviegoer is likely to have seen one of his movies.

The book is written by his friend Richard Schickel, a writer and documentary filmmaker, so you won’t find a particularly objective view of Clint the person, in fact much of the commentary is downright obsequious.  But for die hard fans it is a long enjoyable walk down memory lane, as each movie is discussed in turn with lots of fascinating details about the origin of each screenplay, the varied reactions of the critics, the audience vote and the dirt on the money won and lost each time.

There’s something particularly satisfying in reading about an underdog who rises from being sneered at for his spaghetti westerns to become a movie show pony and geriatric success story at the Oscars. And at 81 years of age it isn’t likely we will see that many more creations from the man who brought us Dirty Harry Callaghan, so make the most of this reading trip. Or put a hold on one of his films – we have twenty to choose from.