Coral Atkinson and Kate Fraser: 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.

Cover of Passing ThroughCoral Atkinson

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

The festival offers such a smorgasbord of literary delights it is very difficult to single any one out. However, having recently written my novel Passing Through, which deals with the impact of the First World War on a group of Christchurch people, I am particularly keen to go to How  We Remember: Recalling and Retelling the First World War with Harry Ricketts, Paul Diamond and Anna Rogers.

What do you think about libraries?

I love libraries and think it essential we do all we can to retain them — and keep them free for users. I so agree with Neil Gaiman’s saying, ‘Libraries are the thin red line between civilization and barbarism.’

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

I can’t bear the smell of banana and orange peelings. It reminds me of being on duty during wet lunch hours, in the years when I was a
secondary school teacher.

Novelist and short fiction writer Coral Atkinson will be appearing at the session Beyond the Veil: Historical Ghost Stories Sunday 31 August, 4pm

Search our catalogue for books by Coral.

Kate Fraser

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

I am looking forward to my morning tea session with Nicky Pellegrino and Ruth Reichl and my brunch session with Simon Gault. Away from food I hope to get to the sessions with Shigeru Ban and Noviolet Bulawayo.

What do I think about libraries?

My friends from the cares of the day since I was given the key to the Kurow library and came and went as I liked and read a great number of unsuitable books. I was 11.

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

As a student in Dunedin way back then I had a gig at a ‘nightclub’ The Dancing Lobster. It was above a pool parlour and was kind of theatre-restaurant. I was the floor show. A modern (for 1959) dance act. I have always forgotten to include nightclub dancer on my CV.

The Press’s food editor Kate Fraser will be appearing at Delicious with Ruth Reichl and Nicky Pellegrino, Friday, 29 August 10am and Brunch with Simon Gault: Sunday 31 August, 9.30am

 

Read more Festival guest picks and WORD Christchurch posts.

My five poets challenge

Logo of National Poetry DayIt is well known that my high school English teachers almost killed poetry for me. However, I never quite gave up on it and I am always very happy when I stumble upon a new poem. These serendipitous discoveries usually occur when I’m reading a book or watching a film.

But National Poetry Day is coming up and I have decided that 2014 will be the year of my five poets challenge. This year I am going to seek out five poets that I didn’t ‘do’ in high school English and read them for the sheer pleasure of reading poetry.

Cover of Sam Hunt's KnucklebonesWhere should I begin? I love hearing Sam Hunt reading poetry, but I have read very few of his poems. I think he should go on my list.

I always wanted to read  Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. I like the opening two lines: “In Xanadu did Kubla Khan / A stately pleasure dome decree”. I don’t think I read Coleridge in high school English. Maybe that should go on my list too.

Cover of The Darling NorthThey say you should never judge a book by its cover.  However I do like to cover of  The Darling North by Anne Kennedy. In 2013 she  won the New Zealand Post Book Poetry Award. I reserved a copy of her book and it has just arrived, so she is on my list.

When I was still living in Melbourne, I went through a Merlin and King Arthur fad. I read everything I could lay hand to and I bought a shabby second hand copy of Tennyson‘s Idylls of the King. Before I got around to reading it, my Arthurian fad passed and the book collected dust on the bookshelf. If I read Tennyson in school, I can’t have been paying much attention. There are 12 poems in The Idylls of the King, which is  based on Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur and the Mabinogion. I own both of these books. I could re-read these two books or I could read Tennyson. I think I’ll read Tennyson.

What about my fifth poet? One of my grandfathers liked the poem The Village Blacksmith by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I haven’t read that particular poem, but we did ‘do’ Longfellow at school, so I guess I’ll have to leave him for later.

Edgar Allan Poe wrote short stories which I read in form two and form three English, however I have never read his poetry.  Jasper Fforde often referred to The Raven in his Thursday Next books, but I’m not sure I want to read a book of his poems.

World War I started 100 years ago and amid the death and destruction, there was some very emotional poetry written.  Though we didn’t ‘do’ the war poets in English, we did read them in 20th century Australian History.  If I chose a war poet, you might think I was cheating, so I’ll leave them on the shelf for you.

T0 find my final poet I’ll:

  1. Check the catalogue.
  2. Look up Poetry & Short Story Reference Center in the Source.
  3. Ask you.

So, dear reader, which poet do you recommend?

 

 

 

Lauraine Jacobs and Rachel Morton: 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.

Cover of Everlasting FeastLauraine Jacobs

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

I am thrilled to see that The Stars Are  Out tonight is being held in the Transitional Cathedral and cannot wait to attend this event and see the new building. Such a line-up of stars and lovely John Campbell anchoring the evening promises to be a highlight of my year. And of course, I am truly excited to be hosting Ruth Reichl on stage as she is for me, the leading light in the food writing world.

What do you think about libraries?

I have fond memories of catching the bus by myself aged 9 years to the Grafton Library in Auckland as my mother was busy with my baby sister and I was constantly needing to change my books. Any voracious reader like me loves libraries as there is a world of opportunity on every shelf.

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

I think most people would be surprised to learn I play a respectable game of golf and also swim in the ocean from Labour weekend to Queens Birthday every year. I don’t think about food absolutely all the time!

Lauraine Jacobs food and wine writer extraordinaire appears in The Best Possible Taste: Saturday 30 August, 12.30pm
Search our catalogue for books by Lauraine

 Rachel Morton

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

Aunty and the Star People: Documenting Lives.

What do you think about libraries?

I was in the local library almost everyday as a kid and it was a complete sanctuary.  They are massively important to your early appreciation for literature and learning.

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

I won an award at Primary School for writing a poem about going to my Grandfather’s funeral.  It still is one of the things I am most proud of.

Rachel Morton RDU 98.5 FM Station Manager and music champion appears in Lyrical Writing: Sunday 31 August, 11.30am

Read more Festival guest picks and WORD Christchurch posts.

“A monument worthy of his memory”: The Godley Statue, unveiled 6 August 1867

Survivors of the first six ships grouped around the Godley statue, Cathedral Square, Christchurch [1925] Passengers who arrived by the Charlotte Jane, Randolph, Sir George Seymour, Cressy, Castle Eden and Isabella Hercus took a prominent part in the celebrations of Christchurch's 75th anniversary. They are shown at the foot of the statue of John Robert Godley, the founder of Canterbury
Survivors of the first six ships grouped around the Godley statue, Cathedral Square, Christchurch [1925] Passengers who arrived by the Charlotte Jane, Randolph, Sir George Seymour, Cressy, Castle Eden and Isabella Hercus took a prominent part in the celebrations of Christchurch’s 75th anniversary. They are shown at the foot of the statue of John Robert Godley, the founder of Canterbury CCL PhotoCD 5, IMG0075
The Godley statue was finally unveiled on the 6th of August 1867, after much delay.

It was inscribed:

John Robert Godley, Founder of Canterbury

The statue, the first public commemorative statue in New Zealand unveiled to a single person, was sculpted by the English Pre-Raphaelite sculptor Thomas Woolner. In 1907 the statue was hidden from public view by the tram shelter. Despite public deputations to the Council, the statue was not moved to a more prominent public position on the north side of the Cathedral until 1918. There it remained until 1933 when it was returned to its present and original site. The statue fell from its plinth during the 22 February 2011 earthquake and has become one of the most photographed symbols of the damage to Christchurch. It is currently on display in the Quake City exhibition in the Re:START Mall.

In The Press on 7 August 1867:

The Godley Statue inaugural address by C. C. Bowen, Esq., R.M.

In some future day, when this generation is dead and gone, to those who look up inquiringly at this statue it will be told how the fathers of the colony left their homes and tamed the wilderness under the leadership of a man of heroic type; how, when he died, the representatives of the people, appreciating his character, determined to erect a monument worthy of his memory, and how a great sculptor in executing the work impressed it with the stamp of his genius. “So shall some old man speak in the after time To all the people, winning reverence.” And now I may congratulate the city that this statue is about to be handed over to its care, worthy as it is of admiration, like King Arthur’s sword of old, not only for the memory of a great man, but on account of its own intrinsic beauty not like that sword, to disappear from the eyes of men, but to be preserved by us and our successors as a possession for ever.

Inauguration of the Godley Statue Press, Volume XII, Issue 1480, 7 August 1867, Page 2

John Robert Godley statue at the Quake City exhibition
John Robert Godley statue at the Quake City exhibition. Flickr: CCL-2013 -02-15-IMG_3592

Recent necrology, July 2014

Some well-known people who have died recently

  • Cover of The Garner FilesCarlo Bergonzi, 1924-2014
    Opera singer whose glorious style, phrasing and tone made him the epitome of Italian vocal art
  • James Garner, 1928-2014
    Actor who breathed new life into the Western genre and excelled as the hero of the Rockford Files
  • Nadine Gordimer, 1923-2014
    Masterly liberal South African novelist who chronicled her country’s journey from apartheid to troubled democracy
  • Cover of The ConservationistCharlie Haden, 1937-2014
    Double bass player who drew on his country music roots to master a bewildering range of jazz styles
  • Anthony Hobson, 1921-2014
    Bibliophile and scholar aesthete who won the admiration of Cyril Connolly
  • John Leach, 1931-2014
    Composer and cimbalom player who helped create the jarring ‘sound’ of the Cold War for The Ipcress File
  • Cover of What Is On Top?Ray Lonnen, 1940-2014
    Actor whose TV career spanned 50 years and who was best known for his role as an undercover agent in Ulster
  • Lorin Maazel, 1930-2014
    Conductor who ranged across the classical repertoire and became the first American and the first Jew in the postwar period to conduct at Bayreuth
  • Louis Zamperini, 1917-2014
    American Olympian and airman whose extraordinary tale of endurance after being shot down was the subject of the bestselling book Unbroken