Joe Bennett and Anna Rogers: WORD Christchurch Writers and Readers Festival

WORD Christchurch Writers and Readers Festival is a mere few weeks away – it kicks off on 27 August. We’ve asked three quick questions of festival guests, here’s what they have to say. Keep an eye out for more opinions from festival guests on the blog.

Joe Bennett

Cover of Fish like a drinkWhat (or who) are you most looking forward to at WORD Christchurch?

I’m attending Meg Wolitzer’s workshop. I’ve taught several writing workshops but have never attended one. Am hoping to find out how it ought to be done.

What do you think about libraries?

The free public library is the marker of civil society.

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

As a teenager I wanted only to be a professional cricketer.

Joe Bennett – popular columnist and author – appears in:
The Great New Zealand Crime Debate & Ngaio Marsh Award Saturday 30 August, 8pm

Cover of The Shaky IslesAnna Rogers

What (or who) are you most looking forward to at WORD Christchurch?

I’m most looking forward to the general buzz and excitement of having so many wonderful writers in Christchurch. If I had to single out a couple of people I’m especially keen to hear, they would be the American novelist Meg Wolitzer and the Zimbabwean writer, NoViolet Bulawayo, who was shortlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize.

What do you think about libraries?

I love libraries. They feel like home. I like to buy books when I can, but borrowing them is a big part of my life too. And librarians are the most extraordinarily knowledgeable and helpful people.

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

Even though I earn my living as a book editor and writer, I am a very inaccurate typist.

Fiction and non-fiction book editor Anna Rogers will be appearing in:
A Novel Relationship: Friday 29 August, 4pm
How We Remember: Recalling and Retelling the First World War: Saturday 30 August, 3.30pm

Search our catalogue for books by Anna.


At 3PM, 5 August 1914, New Zealand officially entered the First World War.

At 3pm on 5 August 1914, the New Zealand Governor, Lord Liverpool, read a telegram from His Majesty King George V to a crowd of 15,000 people gathered at Parliament in Wellington. The telegram expressed The King’s appreciation for the solidarity of his overseas dominions after Britain declared war with Germany. Lord Liverpool responded with New Zealand’s own commitment to make any sacrifice necessary. With that commitment, New Zealand officially entered the First World War, forever changing our society.

News was received in Christchurch by 3:45 PM. The evening paper The Star had a special edition out by 4 PM with a 5 PM edition containing the details of the New Zealand commitment. The next day The Press found space on page 6 to share the news of war.



Find news via Papers Past including the local papers Press, Star and Sun.



Trying to understand Gaza

The situation in Gaza is beyond belief, and unfortunately for a lot of us it is also beyond understanding. For as long as I can remember there has been news of conflict, as a child in the 60s I remember my parents talking about it, and sadly I probably have as much understanding now as I did then. Now that the results of the latest war are screened at dinner time and it is hard to avoid. My mantra of “oh this is all too difficult and complex to understand” needs to come to an end.

Our BiblioCommons catalogue thankfully has people willing to share their own reading and understanding. Using the List search and a keyword such as Gaza, Palestine, Israel etc will bring up any number of lists that customers and librarians have created. They generate interesting titles from a wide variety of views.

If you wish to read comment from all around the world then The Source is a good place to start.  Try looking at Gale Megasearch using the keyword Gaza for example.  Other options are newpapers for example Proquest Australia and New Zealand. Here are some recent titles that we have purchased:

Cover of The Dark Side of Zionism Cover of Meet me in Gaza Cover of The General's son Cover of The idea of Israel Cover of My promised land Cover of Goliath Cover of Dateline Jerusalem Cover of Gaza: a history Cover of Cursed victory