“You tell lies to get close to the truth” – Joe Bennett

‘Twas a damp and misty Christchurch evening, supposedly Spring but feeling more like Winter, when a gathering of Christchurch people came to a WORD Christchurch event to hear celebrated columnist and author Joe Bennett talk about his new book – King Rich.

Despite nearly giving up partway through, Joe was persuaded by his publisher to continue the story that had begun  – where else ? – at the pub.He’d written a column about the man living in the Hotel Grand Chancellor Hotel, since demolished, and the nub of the story had stayed lurking in the back of his mind. Was it an urban myth? Who knows? Does that matter?

Hotel Grand Chancellor
Views of the Hotel Grand Chancellor and surrounds. January 2012. Flickr: CCL-2012-01-12-IMG_8860-HotelGrandChancellor

It was fascinating to hear the process of how the column had grown into a novel. No, he hadn’t met any red zone dwellers, hadn’t felt the need too. No, the dog Friday was not a kindred spirit and could not have been a cat, but yes, the name was based on Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe.

“As the writer you are the puppeteer, but you’ve got to be invisible: to write yourself out it, which is very different from writing a column.”

“I’m a literary bastard,” he said, ” I read stuff and I want to be moved by it.”

“It’s a book about love, that’s the nub of where we live.”

WORD Christchurch tweets from the event:

Cover of fish like a drink Cover of Double happiness Cover of Celebrity Cat recipes Cover of The World's your lobster Cover of Where underpants come from?

Joe Bennett in convo – Thursday 24 September

Cover of Alive and kickingJoe Bennett has written his first novel – King Rich. And you can hear him talk all about it this Thursday 24 September. There was a great article by Eleanor Black in The Press on Saturday: Christchurch a broken backdrop for Joe Bennett’s first novel – and anyone who read this will be uber-keen to read King Rich:

Joe Bennett heard a story at a pub – where else –  that he couldn’t resist. A vagrant had made himself at home in the Grand Chancellor Hotel, the 26-storey leaning tower of luxury that was a leading symbol of the city’s ruin until finally demolished by diggers.

You can also get the word from the horses’s mouth (it’s at the Blossom Lady Lounge at Addington Raceway) at a WORD Christchurch evening with Joe Bennett, Thursday 24 September, 7.30pm. Book now!

Cover of fish like a drink Cover of Double happinessCover of Celebrity Cat recipesCover of The World's your lobster Cover of Where underpants come from?