WORD Christchurch Festival 2018 gives me the perfect opportunity to amp up my author-spotting skills, and at the same time think back on my coffee connections with four authors. Because I have friends who write. They are not quite the imaginary friends of my childhood, but as friends go, they are far more real to me than I will ever be to them.
The fantasy coffee friends: Every Saturday morning, after my swim, I meet up with
The Book Club coffee friend: Although I’ve never met Catherine Chidgey in person, she feels like a member of my Book Club. We’ve read all of her books, but favour most highly an early novel of hers: In A Fishbone Church. I read that novel in 2001 just after we arrived in New Zealand, and was mightily impressed with it. Chidgey is now 17 years older and wiser (as are we all), so her WORD event Transformations seems very appropriately titled to me. And her latest novel The Beat of the Pendulum (A Found Story) builds on her daily interactions and snippets that have come her way. I love this – it feels like the kind of novel you could write sitting in your favourite café.
The breakfast in bed tea-drinking friend: Tom Scott and I meet most days in my home where, over a cup of rooibos tea, I look forward to his interpretation of New Zealand and World events in his cartoons which often feature in the Christchurch Press (to which I still subscribe). He can be wickedly funny and, on occasion, the next day there will be letters of complaint to the Editor. I bet this makes him so happy. I’m looking forward to his WORD event Drawn Out. Here is a man who can write, talk and draw. But “Can He Dance?” is the next big question.
The real-time coffee catch-up friend: I have actually enjoyed a coffee catch-up with Laurence Fearnley – at WORD 2012. We chatted for ages about the importance of Place, Belonging and of course Reading and Writing. You can read that interview. At WORD 2018, unfortunately I have to miss her event because of a programming clash. Also, Fearnley’s event To The Mountains is on mountain writing in New Zealand. Not such a mountain person here. I do hope one of my more outdoorsy friends will pick up where I left off and track down this lovely lady and have a coffee with her for me!
My Yet-To-Be Coffee Writing Friends: I’d love to chat over a coffee with Chessie Henry, Jonathan Drori and Robyn Davidson, but the joy of my outlook is that it doesn’t actually have to happen. We can meet up for a virtual coffee, at a café of their choice, on any day in the year. They can join my small, but growing, group of imaginary friends – who write!