Quick Questions with Vanda Symon – 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).

Vanda Symon is the author of the Detective Sam Shephard series, and the standalone thriller, The Faceless. She is a three-time Ngaio Marsh Award finalist, and is a judge of the Ngaio Marsh Award for best first crime novel.

Vanda Symon, Image supplied.
Vanda Symon, Image supplied.

What are you looking forward to doing in Christchurch?

Catching up with my writer cronies.

What do you think about libraries?

They are my happy place.

CoverWhat would be your desert island book?

Diana Gabaldon’s Cross Stitch.

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

I attack people with swords for relaxation.

Vanda Symon’s sessions at WORD Christchurch Festival 2018

Paul Cleave: Crimechurch Friday 31 August 11.30am

Murder in the Chamber: Ngaio Marsh finalists Saturday 1 September 5.30pm

The 2018 Ngaio Marsh Awards Saturday 1 September 7pm

Quick Questions with Lloyd Jones – 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).

Lloyd Jones is one of New Zealand’s most internationally successful contemporary writers. He has published essays and children’s books as well as adult fiction but his best-known work is the phenomenally successful novel, Mister Pip. The Cage is his most recent novel.

Lloyd Jones. Image supplied.
Lloyd Jones. Image supplied.

What are you looking forward to doing in Christchurch?

I’ll be at the writers festival, but if I have a chance I will go for a wander in lovely Hagley Park.

What do you think about libraries?

The question betrays a concern about the place of libraries – and books – and their decline in our community.  Less than a decade ago, few would have questioned the place of libraries. The sad and unavoidable fact is book-reading has lost its centrality to our culture. In NZ, few people read. Literature is marginalised in the school curriculum. Few teachers read. Fewer still are able to argue for the place of literature in the lives of anyone let alone young people. But to answer the question, I love libraries – at least those ones still with books on their shelves.  I’ve always thought that, collectively, all the libraries in the world offer a repository for Human kind’s thinking aloud.

What would be your desert island book?

One with blank pages or the collected works of Shakespeare.

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

I used to have hair.

Lloyd Jones’ sessions at WORD Christchurch Festival 2018

Lloyd Jones in conversation with John Campbell Friday 31 August 1pm

The Freedom Papers Sunday 2 September 1pm

Quick Questions with Rajorshi Chakraborti – WORD Christchurch

CoverWe are asking quick questions of writers and thinkers coming to the WORD Christchurch Festival 2018 (Wednesday 29 August to Sunday 2 is an Indian-born novelist, essayist and short story writer. He has lived in India, Canada, England and Scotland, where he lectured in English literature and creative writing at the University of Edinburgh. He now lives in Wellington.

Rajorshi Chakraborti. Image supplied.
Rajorshi Chakraborti. Image supplied.

What are you looking forward to doing in Christchurch?

Meeting visitors to the festival and exploring as much of the city centre on foot as I can in between the fantastic line-up of events at WORD. Oh, and also visiting Christchurch Art Gallery.

What do you think about libraries?

My gratitude for them is boundless. Life would truly be unimaginable without libraries for our family. But also increasingly, I value so much the wider ethos of a society that maintains public libraries as well-funded, free-to-use, open, welcoming spaces.

What would be your desert island book?

An unabridged edition of the Indian epic, The Mahabharata, simply because it is an ocean of stories, containing within it endless human, and divine (!), complexity and variability. It is said of the Mahabharata “What is here is elsewhere. What is not here is nowhere else.”

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

That the house we live in in Wellington is the roof under which I have spent the longest time of any in my life. I have lived in this house, and indeed in NZ, for 8 years now. The previous record was 5 years and 4 months, held by my first childhood home in Calcutta, India. In between, I kept on moving.

Rajorshi Chakraborti‘s sessions at WORD Christchurch Festival 2018

Starry, starry night Friday 31 August 8pm

The Politics of Fiction Saturday 1 September 4pm

Quick Questions with Diana Wichtel – 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).

Diana Wichtel is a multi-award-winning journalist and a feature writer and television critic at the New Zealand Listener. She has been a New Zealand Herald columnist, a television reviewer for Radio Live and a writer of dialogue for television.

Diana Wichtel. Image supplied.
Diana Wichtel. Image supplied.

What are you looking forward to doing in Christchurch?

Taking in again the indomitable spirit of the place and, as it happens, taking a look at the soon to be opened new library.

What do you think about libraries?

They should be the heart of a community. Seeing all the kids lounging about reading at our new library in Devonport gives me hope.

CoverWhat would be your desert island book?

Maus by Art Spiegelman, a two volume account in comic form of the Spiegelman family’s Holocaust history and its legacy. Devastating, quite often funny, audacious, inexhaustible.

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

I’ve been in the same relationship for 37 years, lived in the same house for 36 years, worked at the NZ Listener for 34 years. Surprisingly resistant to change.

Diana Wichtel’s session at WORD Christchurch Festival 2018

Diana Wichtel: Driving to Treblinka Sunday 2 September 11.30am

Quick Questions with Barbara Else – 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).

Barbara Else MNZM is an award-winning author who also works as a manuscript assessor. She has held university fellowships and was awarded the Margaret Mahy Medal for services to children’s literature. Her latest book is Go Girl – A Storybook of Epic NZ Women.

Barbara Else. Photo credit: Caroline Davies
Barbara Else. Photo credit: Caroline Davies

What are you looking forward to doing in Christchurch?

I’m longing to see the Art Gallery

What do you think about libraries?

Libraries are treasure houses, and school librarians in particular are guardian angels.

What would be your desert island book?

My desert island book – can I just take a library?

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

A surprising fact about me? When I was little I used to borrow a particular library book again and again even though I had my own copy at home. (The Five Chinese Brothers)

Barbara Else’s sessions at WORD Christchurch Festival 2018

Margaret Mahy Lecture – Barbara Else: Go Girl Saturday 1 September 10am

Quick Questions with Megan Dunn – 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).

Megan Dunn writes about mermaids and contemporary New Zealand art. Her first book, Tinderbox, is about the end of Borders bookstores, Ray Bradbury and Julie Christie’s hair. But not necessarily in that order.

Megan Dunn. Image supplied.
Megan Dunn. Image supplied.

What are you looking forward to doing in Christchurch?

Whale watching with author of Leviathan, Philip Hoare. I’ll have what’s he having. Lately, I’ve been speaking to so many mermaids whose lives have been transformed by swimming with whales. But I am no mermaid, more of a big chicken. However, this is an unmissable opportunity to see whales with an expert and to try and move physically and psychologically closer to the power of the sea and our place within it.

What do you think about libraries?

I think what Ray Bradbury thinks: ‘Without libraries what have we? We have no past and no future.’

What would be your desert island book?

Tough call. It’s gotta be the one I’d write in the sand with a stick. I hope Wilson will like it.

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

I don’t eat fish.

Megan Dunn’s sessions at WORD Christchurch Festival 2018

You write funny! Friday 31 August 5.30pm FREE

Mortification Saturday 1 September 5.30pm

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.

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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

Quick Questions with Hera Lindsay Bird – 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).

Hera Lindsay Bird is a writer from Wellington. Her first book, Hera Lindsay Bird, won the 2017 Jessie Mackay Prize for Best First Book. Her second, Pamper Me To Hell & Back, is published this year.

Hera Lindsay Bird. Photo credit: Russell Kleyn
Hera Lindsay Bird. Photo credit: Russell Kleyn

What are you looking forward to doing in Christchurch?

In Christchurch I am looking forward to seeing everyone I know in Wellington in Christchurch. I don’t know! I haven’t been to Christchurch since I was 11 and I stayed in a terrifying house full of taxidermied animals on a school exchange. Someone tell me where to go, please. Otherwise I will be at back to back festival events!

What do you think about libraries?

 

Libraries are dangerous & elitist cultural echo chambers which should all be burned to the ground. Just kidding. I love libraries obviously, I’m not a monster. Sadly I can never go to them because I still have too many fines from the time I worked at the library but still somehow forgot to return my books.

CoverWhat would be your desert island book?

Tactically it would make the most sense to bring something like Proust or Shakespeare so you wouldn’t run out of material as fast, but since this is a hypothetical question I’d probably bring P G Wodehouse.

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

My dad won Sale of the Century when I was a kid. I don’t know if that’s surprising or about me, but I’m not working with much.

Hera Lindsay Bird’s sessions at WORD Christchurch Festival 2018

Poetry life hacks Friday 31 August 3.30pm SOLD OUT

The Neu! Ōtautahi Incident Saturday 1 September 7.30pm

Hollie McNish and Hera Lindsay Bird: Poetry stars Sunday 2 September 4.15pm

Quick Questions with Nathan Fa’avae – 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).

Nathan Fa’avae has been a top adventure athlete for 20 years. He has captained the New Zealand Adventure Racing team to five world championship victories.

Nathan Fa'avae. Image supplied.
Nathan Fa’avae. Image supplied.

What are you looking forward to doing in Christchurch?

Going for a run on the Port Hills, coffee at C4, being part of Word.

What do you think about libraries?

I think libraries are vaults of spectacular opulence, texts to another dimension.

What would be your desert island book?

How to Survive on a Deserted Island by Tim O’Shei.

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

I’ve never owned a TV.

Nathan Fa’avae’s session at WORD Christchurch Festival 2018

Adventurers at heart Thursday 30 August 7.30pm SOLD OUT