Soul Food (at last) – The Press Christchurch Writers Festival 2012

The Press Christchurch Writers Festival  has been a long time coming. I had tickets for the October 2010 festival and the May 2011 one but we all know what happened to disrupt those plans!

However, times have changed and it’s great to be able to celebrate the Christchurch festival in style. I have an interview with Joanne Harris and I’m very excited at the propect of meeting her. She is the author of  Chocolat in which chocolate maker extraordinaire, Vianne Rocher, meets her red headed gypsy, Roux. (Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp played the characters in the movie.)

I’m reading, or should I say indulging in, Peaches for Monsieur le Cure at present. It’s the third novel in the series and Joanne Harris explores issues of  faith, acceptance and love in the French village of Lansquenet-sous-Tannes. Her writing style is sensual and insightful. Armande’s peach tree is a central motif. Its fragrance is described as “a sleepy, end-of-summer scent that seemed to leave a glow in the air like a trace of sunset”. Wonderful stuff.

I shall also be speaking to Felicity Price, New Zealand’s own author of fast-paced, witty chick-lit with teeth. Felicity has written six novels and numerous nonfiction works, runs an award winning PR company and was awarded the ONZM in 2009 for her services to business and the arts. The three novels in her Penny Rushmore series reflect her own life to the extent that her character confronts the stresses and challenges faced by a modern day woman trying to juggle work, parenthood, marriage and friendship. The Dominion Post describes her work as “chick lit meets feminism”. Her writing style is fun and engaging, but there’s more than a grain of truth behind her words.

Only three more days until we can immerse ourselves in all-things-literary in Christchurch again. It’s great to see this cultural event back on the calendar and my heartfelt thanks goes out to the organisers and sponsors for making it happen. It’s going to make a big difference to me and many other book lovers and writers. It will lift our spirits and feed our souls. Bring it on!

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