Guess who’s coming to Christchurch? David Walliams, David Mitchell, Helen Macdonald, Xinran, Steve Braunias, Nick Davies.

Ōtautahi you are in for a right treat.  WORD Christchurch – in association with the Auckland Writers Festival – is bringing six top authors to town for its Autumn Season 13 to 17 May.

For some top whānau fun, head along to David Walliams (Thursday 14 May 6pm). He will be reading from Awful Auntie and talking about his kids’ books – with plenty of time after to get your books signed.

It is a really crackingly good non-fiction line up. Helen Macdonald’s book H is for Hawk was picked in lots of top books of 2014 lists, and has the silverware to match – attracting big literary prizes like the Costa book of the year.

If you like gritty, investigative journalism, then Nick Davies’ Hack attack is the session for you. Or  have a drink at the Heritage Hotel for Steve Braunias and hear him talk about satire, politics, and the recent election campaign. Xinran will be talking about China and the single child policy.

If fiction is your cup of tea – David Mitchell is talking on Sunday 17 May. His latest The Bone Clocks is a genre-splicing treat, and you might also know of Cloud Atlas.

Cover of Awful AuntieDavid Walliams
Cover of H is for Hawk
Helen Macdonald
Cover of Hack Attack

Cover of Madmen
Steve Braunias
Buy me the sky
Xinran
Cover of Bone clocks
David Mitchell

So, read the books and get your tickets sussed. If you are keen to attend a few sessions, your best bet is to get a season pass – with that you’ll get entry to all sessions (except David Walliams, book that separately).
Go to our page on WORD Christchurch.

Short and sweet

Cover of Stone MattressShort stories are delicious. Like chocolates in a box, you pick one that looks good and indulge in a bite-sized treat. I was recently stuck at Auckland Airport and lifted the lid on a copy of Stone Mattress, nine tales from the ingenious mind of Margaret Atwood. I must admit I found these stories rather moreish. Three tales and seventy five minutes later, I heard my name over the loud speaker and had to make a frenzied dash for the departure lounge.

Cover of Dear LifeOne of my favourite short story authors is Alice Munro who won the Man Booker International Prize in 2009 for her work. Her latest title Dear Life contains ten bitter sweet tales that resonate at the deepest level of the human psyche.

Cover of Between my father and the kingAt the moment I’m savouring the most recent collection of stories by Janet Frame. The critics say Between My Father and the King contains some of her best writing and includes previously unpublished work.

For exceptional collections that will give you a taste of other cultures and times, try those by Haruki Murakami, Yiyun Li, Edna O’Brien, Colette and the ever-perceptive Rose Tremain.

Apparently, the short story is one of the hardest genres to get right so I’m forever grateful that these authors have mastered the art. Short stories must be one of the most honest and immediate forms of communication around. They encapsulate moments of insight by some pretty amazing human beings and are a perfect treat at the end of a busy day. Happy sampling!