Twitter is “a direct line to people doing interesting things”: The Press Christchurch Writers Festival

In so many words is a panel discussion on social media and books at The Press Christchurch Writers Festival. It’s on Thursday 30 August 4.30pm at the Literary PleasureDome aka the Geo Dome in Hagley Park.

On the panel are bloggers (and tweeters) Lara Strongman, Moata Tamaira, Will Harvie and me. It’ll be chaired by Graham “Bookman” Beattie and promises to be informative, banterrific and hey it’s FREE! Come along and listen, and ask questions and share your opinions.

I’ve chatted with my fellow panellistas to get their thoughts on the upcoming festival and the wonder of Twitter:

Lara Strongman is a writer, art historian and formerly senior curator/deputy director at City Gallery Wellington. You can find her on twitter as @cherylbernstein:

1. What is the allure of Twitter for you?

Twitter’s a conversation. Sometimes it’s a conversation you’re having with yourself; sometimes it’s a conversation with others. And sometimes it’s a place to park the cognitive surplus; the kind of visual jokes or quotes or observations and asides I used to write in a notebook, and occasionally still do. Twitter’s a digital commonplace book that I share with others. It’s fun, of course, when a tweeted observation starts a new and broader conversation.

I enjoy the literary form of the tweet, if that doesn’t sound too ridiculous. I’ve got better at tweeting as I’ve come to understand the nature of the medium; the style that comes from the form; its reach, its possibilities, its limitations, its readership.

I also hugely value the way in which Twitter provides access to a community of public intellectuals; a direct line to people doing interesting things and breaking new cultural ground both inside and outside the academy. It encourages collaboration, connection, and exchange.

2. Who do you recommend following on Twitter (especially on the literary side)?

A few recommended literary tweeters:

  • @ballardian (Simon Sellars): for dystopian modernity and bleak landscapes
  • @KimKierkegaard (Kim Kierkegardashian): The philosophy of Søren Kierkegaard mashed with the tweets and observations of Kim Kardashian.
  • @notdelillo: sentences extracted from the novels and short stories of Don Delillo
  • @modernletters: Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University
  • @reelmolesworth: Nigel Molesworth, the goriller of 3b and intergallacktik space hero
  • @owenhatherley: writer, topographer, ‘Marxist of some sort’
  • @hinemoana: Hinemoana Baker, poet and musician
  • @PipAdam: Pip Adam, writer
  • @EmilyJPerkins: Emily Perkins, writer
  • @nzdodo: Jolisa Gracewood: editor and writer
  • @jeffnoon: Jeff Noon, science fiction writer
  • @tejucole: Teju Cole, novelist, writer of ‘small fates’ on Twitter

3. What are you looking forward to at the Festival?

I’m looking forward to the whole thing! One thing that the earthquakes have thrown into sharp relief for me is the power and necessity of culture in people’s lives at times of crisis. The humanities – literature, history, the arts — give you a way to think through your experiences. They provide both perspective and connection; a way of enriching one’s own life by entering into the experiences of others. What we need more than anything in Christchurch at the moment is this sort of opportunity for collaboration and exchange with writers and artists from other places. I’m very excited about the writer’s festival.

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