Richard King: 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:

Richard King – writer and reviewer

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

I’m looking forward to seeing a new city. I haven’t been to Christchurch before — or even to New Zealand — and so I’ll be interested to learn a little about it and to see how its reconstruction is being managed. I’m also looking forward to my events. The first one I’m involved in will be on spying and secrecy and will feature Nicky Hager and Luke Harding — real journalists, not mere commentators like myself. I’m hoping to learn, as well as to contribute.

What do you think about libraries?

I love libraries and always have. At university in Manchester (England) I would often use the Central Reference Library — a wonderful building — and I’ve also used the British Library, for which you need, or used to need, permission. Here in Western Australia I often visit the state library, which is a great place to work. While I like the fact that material is now being loaded onto databases, I worry a bit that in digitising their stock libraries are losing a lot of it. The US novelist Nicholson Baker has written passionately, and at length, about this issue.

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

Well, sticking with libraries … Up to about the age of fourteen or so I didn’t know how libraries worked. I just used to go in, take the books, and leave. No one ever noticed I was doing it, and I always brought the books back. But strange! I’m a bit dense when it comes cards and IDs and the like. If I don’t turn up for my first event it’ll be because I’ve tried to get through Passport Control on my Trans-Perth travelcard.

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