Quick questions with Helene Wong – WORD Christchurch

We are asking quick questions of writers and thinkers coming to the WORD Christchurch Writers and Readers Festival on from 24 to 28 August.

Helene Wong has taught classes in scriptwriting, film criticism, cultural identity and the media. She is now a full-time writer and occasional actor.

Helene Wong. Photo by Akura Makea-Pardington.mage supplied.
Helene Wong. Photo by Akura Makea-Pardington. Image supplied.

What are you looking forward to doing in Christchurch?

Mine is just a lightning visit, so although I’d like to, I won’t have time to check out how the rebuild is going. I was last in the city in 2012, appearing in “Man in a Suitcase” at the Court Theatre, and I remember being impressed by the evidence of people’s spirit to soldier on. This time I’ll just have to be content with immersing myself in the festival, discovering great books and meeting up with other writers. Damn.

What do you think about libraries?

Essential for human wellbeing. On one level, cosy and intimate – a room full of books is like being in a womb – and on another, limitless in their capacity to expand one’s horizons.

What would be your “desert island book”?

CoverThe Complete Works of Shakespeare – because I get comedy, tragedy, history and songs in a package. Also because by reading all the parts out loud I can people the island and not feel so much like a hermit.

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

Back in the 60s, I was a member of the Victoria University Ski Club women’s drinking team.

Helene Wong appears in:
Being Chinese/ White/ Other, Fri 26 Aug, 12.45pm

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Quick questions with Kate Holden – WORD Christchurch

We are asking quick questions of writers and thinkers coming to the WORD Christchurch Writers and Readers Festival on from 24 to 28 August.

Kate Holden has written memoirs In My Skin and The Romantic: Italian nights and days. She has had features, reviews, essays and short stories published in all the major Australian journals and newspapers. She was recently on RNZ Sunday Morning and spoke with Wallace Chapman about heroin, sex work and lessons learnt.

Kate Holden. Image supplied.
Kate Holden. Image supplied.

Kate Holden appears in:
Sex, Drugs & Rock’n’Roll, Sat 27 Aug, 4.45pm
Breaking Through to the Other Side: Memoir Problems, Sun 28 Aug, 9.30am
Work/ Sex, Sun 28 Aug, 12.30pm

What are you looking forward to doing in Christchurch?

I’m looking forward to seeing Christchurch for the first time! I’ve never had the chance before. And I’m hoping the city is good at warm cosy writing/reading venues.

What do you think about libraries?

I love libraries even though I’m not good at staying quietly in them for long. Most months I plunder my local library for books for me and my son; I’ve been a library plunderer since I was a kid. What marvellous, generous, civilised places they are.

What would be your “desert island book”?

My desert island book would be the Faber Book of Modern Verse. I always find awe and beauty in those pages.

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

I don’t know if it’s interesting but I have never (yet!) slept under the stars, seen ‘The Godfather’ or driven a dodgem car. I feel like I’m letting the Antipodes down!

Kate Holden appears in WORD Christchurch at:

Sex, Drugs & Rock’n’Roll, Sat 27 Aug, 4.45pm
Breaking Through to the Other Side: Memoir Problems, Sun 28 Aug, 9.30am (workshop)
Work/ Sex, Sun 28 Aug, 12.30pm

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