Sarah Laing: WORD Christchurch Writers and Readers Festival

WORD Christchurch Writers and Readers Festival kicks off on 27 August. We’ve asked three quick questions of festival guests:

Sarah Laing – fiction writer, graphic designer and cartoonist

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

It’s such a great programme and I’m excited about a number of events. I can’t wait to hear Meg Wolitzer and Ruth Reichl talk, and I’m super excited about Kristin Hersh being in town. I am looking forward to meeting Tracy Farr, whose book The Lives and Loves of Lena Gaunt I thoroughly enjoyed. Oh, and you’ll probably find me hanging out at all the comics events.

Cover of The Interestings Cover of Delicious Cover of The Lives and loves of Lena Gaunt

What do you think about libraries?

I love libraries. I’ve spent many hours there reading with my children, and I’ve discovered brilliant graphic novels and novels on their shelves. I am still delighted by my ability to read a review on the New York Times or The Guardian and order the book online, only to pick it up a few days or weeks later at my local library.

Cover of The fall of lightShare a surprising fact about yourself.

Surprising facts: I think I do too much oversharing on my blog to surprise anybody, but a few things that might surprise are a. I never studied art at school, b. I always envisaged myself as a musician rather than a writer, c. The nearest I came to being in a band was playing the pan pipes in my Puerto Rican ex-boyfriend’s Latin American folk group, and d. I was scared of the dark well into adulthood and slept with the hall light on until I was 22.

Yrsa Sigurðardóttir: WORD Christchurch Writers and Readers Festival

WORD Christchurch Writers and Readers Festival kicks off on 27 August. We’ve asked three quick questions of festival guests:

Yrsa Sigurðardóttir

Cover of Philosophy in the gardenWhat (or who) are you most looking forward to at WORD Christchurch?

I would very much like to attend the event Philosophy in the Gardens with Damon Young which according to the programme will be about gardens and great thinkers who have been moved by them. I am presently trying to fix up my own garden, following a visit from a relative that mentioned that she liked my “f**k the system” approach to gardening – which was not the look I was shooting for at all. So I am hoping to pick up some hints from great thinkers, hopefully not anarchists.

What do you think about libraries?

I love libraries. Ever since I was a child I have been a passionate reader. I even attempted to read a book a day for one year (no picture books allowed) and managed up until August when I got “Gone with the Wind” as a present for my 12th birthday. It was so thick, over 900 pages, that I was unable to recoup, but was unable to put the book to one side until the following January. If I had not been able to count on libraries for a constant supply of books that particular year and throughout my life, I would be in the poorhouse.

Yrsa+Sigurdardóttir_4+bigShare a surprising fact about yourself.

I am not sure if it is very surprising but I can share a secret. In addition to being an author I am employed as an engineer in the power sector. This involves a lot of meetings which are unfortunately my least favorite thing in the world. When I attend particularly dreary meetings I tend to wander off in my head and think of ways to murder people in my books. I have come up with some very good murders under these circumstances. Please do not tell my employer.

Cover of The silence of the sea Cover of Someone to watch over me Cover of I remember you

National Poetry Day – Friday 22 August 2014

National Poetry Day is a one-day celebration of poetry run each year in conjunction with the New Zealand Post Book Awards. It takes place on Friday 22 August 2014. There are lots of things happening this year so get your poetry on.

National Poetry DayNational Poetry Day competition 2014

Write an original piece of poetry and drop it into your local library or enter online by emailling entries to for a chance to win prizes.

Any style or topic, 200 word limit. You can enter as many poems as you like. The first prize will be book vouchers to the value of $100. There will also be a $50 book voucher for the runner up. Entries open Monday 28 July and close 5pm on National Poetry Day (22 August 2014). Winners will be announced Monday 8 September 2014.

See conditions.

More poetry competitions you can enter.

More Christchurch events

Information from Booksellers New Zealand.

Christchurch – Poetic Licence

When: Friday 15 August, 5.30pm -7.30pm 
Where: Sydenham Room, South Library, Christchurch
What: Following the success of last year, South Island Writers (SIWA) and Airing Cupboard Women Poets would like to once again invite you to polish your best poem and air it in public to get you warmed up for the 2014 National Poetry Day celebrations. An Open Mic, open to all fabulous emerging or published poets – SIWA and Airing Cupboard give you the licence! Bring your friends and family. Sign up at the door if you’re reading. Drinks and nibbles provided. See you there!  (Note: An official warm-up event, the week before National Poetry Day)
Entry details: Free entry. Sign in at the door if you’re reading

Christchurch – Poems4Peace 2014 Poetry Anthology: Christchurch Launch

When: Wednesday 20 August, 6:00–7:00pm.
Where: Room 3, Upper Riccarton Library, 71 Main South Rd, Sockburn, Christchurch
What: The year-long 2014 Poems4Peace programme provides a platform to make contemporary poetic voices heard and contribute to influencing a whole new generation of peace-makers in NZ and beyond. Earlier in 2014, Printable Reality and Splice, in association with New Zealand Poetry Society and Michael King Writers’ Centre ran a poetry competition as part of  the project. General public, local and international poets were invited to compose poetry expressing the concept of inner-peace and peace for our world. The results are collected together in the Poems4Peace 2014 Poetry Anthology, which will have its Christchurch Launch in the lead-up to National Poetry Day. Christchurch poets will read their poems and books will be available for sale. Everybody welcome!

Christchurch – Poetry for Lunch

When: Friday 22 August, 12:00pm -1:00pm
Where: Canterbury University Bookshop, University Drive, University of Canterbury, Christchurch
What: Join UBS for its traditional National Poetry Day celebration with readings from wonderful local poets Jeffrey Paparoa Holman, Roger Hickin, Frankie Macmillan, Ben Brown and James Norcliffe. Free coffee vouchers for the first 20 audience members.
Entry details: Free.

Poetry at WORD Christchurch

WORD ChristchurchWORD Christchurch Writers and Readers festival starts on 27 August, and it has a great lineup of poetry events including:

Twitter Poetry Night

Twitter Poetry Night will be teaming up with The Pantograph Punch and publishing a poetry mix-tape and then a favourite NZ-poem-themed Poetry Night on Sunday 24 August, at 8pm. It will be a ‘favourite NZ poem’ themed night. What you need to do is record yourself reading one of your favourite New Zealand poems, then send the recording to @PoetryNightNZ.

Find out more

History and current events – picks from our August newsletter

The First World War is a focus of our History and Current Events newsletter, but there are some titles for the modern history lover too; some picks from the August History and Current Events newsletter:

Book cover of ANZAC girls Book cover of The three Emperors Book cover of The Romanov sisters Book cover of The Zhivago affair Book cover of Chinas second continent Book cover of AmalgaNations


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Breton Dukes: WORD Christchurch Writers and Readers Festival

WORD Christchurch Writers and Readers Festival kicks off on 27 August. We’ve asked three quick questions of festival guests:

Breton Dukes – writer of short fiction

Cover of WakeWhat (or who) are you most looking forward to at WORD Christchurch?

I’m most looking forward to hearing Elizabeth Knox and Eleanor Catton. Two powerhouse writers.

What do you think about libraries?

If you can’t afford to buy a book you get it from the library. Through reading you learn the world. Libraries are utterly critical.

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

I’ve watched every episode of The Sopranos seven times. Sometimes at night when I can’t sleep I try to name all the different characters.

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