Guy Somerset: 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:

Guy Somerset – Books and Culture Editor of the Listener

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

As a long-time Kristin Hersh and Throwing Muses fan, I am looking forward to her. Then there is the Margaret Mahy Memorial Lecture by Elizabeth Knox, one of the few New Zealand writers with a mind as intelligent and free-ranging as Mahy’s. Meg Wolitzer is a novelist I have long wanted to read but have never managed to; hearing her talk will do very nicely in the meantime.

Cover of Paradoxical undressing Cover of Mortal Fire Cover of The Interestings

What do you think about libraries?

A good library is a magnificent place. Wellington, where I live, is blessed with one of the best: the Ian Athfield-designed central library, which is packed to the gunnels with smartly selected and curated books, magazines, DVDs and CDs. As much as that, though, it has great staff and a wonderful feeling of community, being full of people beavering away at its many desks or just lounging about with their heads in a book. Civilised society doesn’t get any better.

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

Once, working for the Technical Services department of Duke University in the US, I had to sweep cockroaches from the dressing room of Dame Kiri Te Kanawa.

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