WORD Christchurch Festival and Book Towns

My tickets are booked for the WORD Christchurch Festival and I am happily attending an eclectic bunch of sessions, starting with Alt-America and ending with The Sex and Death Salon.  What I enjoyed about the last festival was the feeling of being surrounded by people who love books. The buzz and the talk is booky and fun. There are groups of people chatting away about the last session, or the books they might have bought – and the awe and excitement of meeting their favourite author.


With this in mind I was delighted to see my reserve for Book Towns: Forty-five paradises of the printed word arrive on my desk this morning. This small book contains anecdotes of Books towns around the world, many being part of the International Organisation of Book Towns. Many towns have numerous bookshops, but these towns have embraced books as a way of driving tourism and regenerating communities faced with economic collapse and unemployment.

Featherston in the Wairarapa is featured.

CoverWigtown also warrants a chapter. Shaun Bythell, owner of The Bookshop – and writer of the uber-popular Diary of a Bookseller will be here for WORD Christchurch.

Shaun Bythell. Image supplied.
Shaun Bythell. Image supplied.

The effect of becoming a Book Town can be far-reaching with many organising Book Festivals, accommodation and craft outlets to support the whole book experience. Pop up book towns are now becoming a feature – unused empty spaces are taken over by booksellers, often alongside a festival and featuring local artisans, music and food, as well as all the wonderful books of course.

Perhaps an idea for Christchurch?

Quick Questions with Catherine Chidgey – WORD Christchurch

CoverWe are asking quick questions of writers and thinkers coming to the WORD Christchurch Festival 2018 (Wednesday 29 August to Sunday 2 September).

Catherine Chidgey’s novels have been published to international acclaim. The Wish Child won the 2016 Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize and Golden Deeds was a  Los Angeles Times book of the year. Chidgey was awarded the 2017 Janet Frame Fiction Prize.

Catherine Chidgey. Photo credit: Helen Mayall
Catherine Chidgey. Photo credit: Helen Mayall

What are you looking forward to doing in Christchurch?

Catching up with the Chidgey cousins.

What do you think about libraries?

They are adventure playgrounds, churches, sweet shops, universities, cruise ships, refuges, time machines…

CoverWhat would be your desert island book?

Wuthering Heights.

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

My second and third toes are ever-so-slightly webbed.

Catherine Chidgey’s sessions at WORD Christchurch Festival 2018

Catherine Chidgey: Transformations Friday 31 August 10am

Catherine Chidgey: Through the senses workshop Friday 31 August 12.30pm

Parachutist free-falling from a Gipsy Moth over Christchurch: Picturing Canterbury

Parachutist free-falling from a Gipsy Moth over Christchurch [196-?]. File Reference CCL PhotoCD 11, IMG0034.
The ZK-AAW was a Gypsy Moth which belonged to the Canterbury Aero Club and was used to train pilots. In 1933 it was used as a support plane for a parachute drop performed by “Scotty” Frazer. In 1935, while being flown by J.J. Busch on a return flight from Rangiora to the Wigram aerodrome, it was damaged when it crashed in Ohoka. While being repaired it was repainted with the colours of the aero club, red for the fuselage and black for the undercarriage and engine cowling. The ZK-AAW suffered further damage in 1936 when it crash landed in a paddock at Eveline and collided with a gorse hedge.

Do you have any photographs of the Canterbury Aero Club? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch and Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

Parachutist Free-falling From A Gipsy Moth Over Christchurch