It all kicks off in the Cathedral – WORD Christchurch Writers and Readers Festival

Cover of Cardboard CathedralWORD Christchurch Writers and Readers Festival starts this evening (Wednesday 27 August) with a talk about a book about the Cardboard Cathedral starring architect Shigeru Ban and the book’s author Dr Andrew Barrie. In the Cathedral, about the Cathedral, and by the person who designed it – that’s a meta start to the Festival.

It is also symbolic of the Festival itself. As Philip Matthews says in his excellent article in today’s Press:

That is a natural place to start for a festival that has its own story to tell about recovery, rebirth and the support of the Christchurch community for local forms of expression.

I am keen to go tonight, having watched its progress – from a twinkle in Shigeru Ban’s eye, to a fascinating cardboard roll structure, to its current status as a  popular event venue as well as a cathedral. This will be the first event I’ve attended in it.

This Festival is full of literature, challenge, poetry, music, comics, ideas, and also that powerful Christchurch connection.

Christchurch City Libraries will have bloggers going to sessions and reporting back. We have 39 quick interviews with festival guests online – and they’ve got lots of ideas and words that’ll get you in the WORD mood. See you there!

Cardboard Cathedral
Cardboard Cathedral site. Friday 5 October 2012. Flickr: CCL-2012-10-IMG_8165

Cardboard Cathedral, Latimer Square
Thursday 21 February 2013. Flickr: CCL-2013 -02-21-IMG_3874

Transitional Cathedral on Madras Street
Friday 3 January 2014. Flickr: 2014-01-03-IMG_1449

Andrew Barrie: WORD Christchurch Writers and Readers Festival

WORD Christchurch Writers and Readers Festival kicks off on 27 August. We’ve asked three quick questions of festival guests:

Cover of Cardboard CathedralWhat (or who) are you most looking forward to at WORD Christchurch?

Unfortunately I’m an out-of-towner, and so am only able to be in Christchurch for my WORD session with Shigeru Ban and the launch of my book, Shigeru Ban: Cardboard Cathedral.

However, I’ll catch renowned architectural critic Reed Kroloff as he passes through Auckland. I’d love to be able to attend the Rebuilding Christchurch session with the Freerange Press folk. Barnaby Bennett and his team are making a fantastic contribution not just to the thinking behind Christchurch’s reconstruction, but to New Zealand’s architecture culture.

What do you think about libraries?

I teach at a university – the University of Auckland – so in a library almost everyday. I love the atmosphere of libraries. They emit a strong sense of accumulated intellectual energy, and it’s great to be in the company of the humming minds tapping into it. For me, it’s like being in the generator room of a power station.

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

I’m married to an Anglican priest. As a frequent writer on both Japanese architecture and New Zealand architecture, and having a strong church background, writing a book about the Cardboard Cathedral was the perfect assignment for me!