Quick Questions with Andrew Lumsden (Te Radar) – WORD Christchurch

CoverWe are asking quick questions of writers and thinkers coming to Shifting Points of View, WORD Christchurch’s suite of events at September’s Christchurch Arts Festival.
Today, it’s comedian and tv personality Andrew Lumsden aka Te Radar. He’s joining John Safran to talk about Depends what you mean by extremist on Sunday 10 September 1pm at The Piano:

What are you looking forward to doing in Christchurch?

Meeting John Safran (big fan) and having the opportunity to ask him questions about his fascinating descent into the world of Australian fundamentalism. His book is perplexing, hilarious, and deeply depressing and the chance to have an hour with him is absolutely going to be the highlight of my very brief visit. And I will see what else I can cram into my 7 or so hours there at the festival, naturally. I really must check the programme!

What do you think about libraries?

At school I immersed myself in the library. While others romped around the sports field I lost myself for hours just walking the aisle and randomly pulling books from shelves to devour in a perpetual romp of discovery. And I always remember a photo I saw in a mining museum in a former colliery in Yorkshire, of miners in their Sunday best, standing outside the brand new library they had fundraised for, the looks on their faces saying they knew that they had created the potential to allow simple escapism, to educate, and emancipate all who entered its walls. But I worry that there are those who say that they are outdated, unneeded in a world of Google. Nonsense. Long form reading, curation, discovery, simply a place to escape to physically as well as intellectually, are all of the utmost import in our current times.

What would be your “desert island book”?

Catch 22.

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

I cry with joy when I think of my daughter while I’m away from home. Even for a few hours.

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Quick Questions with Glenn Colquhoun – WORD Christchurch

Glenn Colquhoun. Image supplied.

We are asking quick questions of writers and thinkers coming to Shifting Points of View, WORD Christchurch’s suite of events at September’s Christchurch Arts Festival.
Today, it’s New Zealand doctor, poet, and writer Glenn Colquhoun.

What are you looking forward to doing in Christchurch?

I think just walking around the city again, taking it in. I haven’t been there for 3 years or so so it will be nice to scratch its back again.

What do you think about libraries?

I love them. I feel connected to the world when I’m in a library. And to a specific locality  at the same time. And I feel like I’m around people who love stories and books. Libraries are full of kindred spirits.

What would be your “desert island book”?

I’ve just bought Les Murray’s ‘Bunyah.’ So it would be a perfect chance to glory in it.

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

 I am made of 37 trillion cells that have no idea who I am.

Glenn Colquhoun appears in:

Glenn Colquhoun’s latest book is Late Love: Sometimes doctors need saving as much as their patients.
Read his NZ Book Council profile for more information.

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Quick Questions with Witi Ihimaera – WORD Christchurch

We are asking quick questions of writers and thinkers coming to Shifting Points of View, WORD Christchurch’s suite of events at September’s Christchurch Arts Festival.
First up, it’s the wonderful New Zealand writer Witi Ihimaera.

Witi Ihimaera. Image supplied

What are you looking forward to doing in Christchurch?

Hanging with people who know how to party.

What do you think about libraries?

You can learn stuff there and take home new worlds and friends in the books you borrow.

What would be your “desert island book”?

Right now it would be Valley of the Cliffhangers by Jack Mathis.

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

 I love B Movies of the 1940s and 50s, the badder the better.

Witi Ihimaera appears in:

Witi Ihimaera is one of New Zealand’s most important writers. His book The Whale Rider was made into a successful feature film. His autobiography Māori Boy: A Memoir of Childhood won the General Non-Fiction Award at the 2016 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. His latest book is called Sleeps Standing: A Story for the Battle of Orakau (and it includes a Māori translation by Hemi Kelly). It is to be published in August.
Read his NZ Book Council profile for more information.

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Quick questions with Alok Jha – WORD Christchurch

We are asking quick questions of writers and thinkers coming to the WORD Christchurch Writers and Readers Festival on from 24 to 28 August.

Alok Jha is the science correspondent for Britain’s ITV News. Before that, he did the same job at the Guardian for a decade, writing news, features, comment and presenting the award-winning Science Weekly podcast. He has also reported live from Antarctica and presented many BBC TV and radio programmes.

Alok Jha
Alok Jha (image supplied)

What are you looking forward to doing in Christchurch?

Seeing it for the first time! I’ve heard about the city’s beauty, I’m looking forward to walking the streets and soaking up the atmosphere.

What do you think about libraries?

Some of the most important spaces in any civilised place. A place to imagine, dream and discover.

What would be your “desert island book”?

Cover of The periodic tableThe Periodic Table by Primo Levi

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

I’m not a fan of being cold, uncomfortable or doing anything too adventurous or outdoorsy. Which may be surprising to those people who know I’ve been on an expedition to Antarctica.

Alok Jha appears in:
Water: Alok Jha, Sat 27 Aug, 11am
Tales from the Ice, Sun 28 Aug, 3.30pm
The Nerd Degree, Sun 28 Aug, 5pm

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Quick questions with Frankie McMillan – WORD Christchurch

We are asking quick questions of writers and thinkers coming to the WORD Christchurch Writers and Readers Festival on from 24 to 28 August.

Frankie McMillan is an award-winning short story writer and poet and teacher, the author of The Bag Lady’s Picnic and other stories and two poetry collections, including There are no horses in heaven. Her latest book, My Mother and the Hungarians and other small fictions, is being launched during the festival.

Frankie McMillan (photo credit: Andy Lukey)
Frankie McMillan (photo credit: Andy Lukey)

What are you looking forward to doing in Christchurch?

I like the proximity of the Port Hills, the various walking and biking tracks, the new art galleries popping up, watching the rebuild take place but most of all having my family members live nearby.

What do you think about libraries?

I’m interested in the changing role of libraries. I’m heartened to hear how Auckland Central library caters for the homeless with a regular book club and movie club. Libraries are fantastic places.

What would be your “desert island book”?

I’d take ‘The Collected Stories of Flannery O’Connor’

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

In my thirties I trained in physical/improvisational theatre including skills such as fire breathing. Once I stood on the shoulders of my friend and blew out such a massive ball of flame it scorched the theatre ceiling.

Frankie McMillan appears in:

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Quick questions with Rachael Craw – WORD Christchurch

We are asking quick questions of writers and thinkers coming to the WORD Christchurch Writers and Readers Festival on from 24 to 28 August.

Rachael Craw is the author of YA sci-fi crossover trilogy Spark, Stray and Shield.

Rachael Craw. Image supplied.
Rachael Craw. Image supplied.

What are you looking forward to doing in Christchurch?

I was born in Christchurch and lived there my whole life till 4 years ago so all my friends and whānau are there which means catching up with as many people as I can in 48 hours in between going to as many festival events as I can. So basically, I should just give up on eating and sleeping, right?

What do you think about libraries?

Enablers? Suppliers? Dealers? They fed my Trixie Belden addiction in childhood so my love for libraries is large.

What would be your “desert island book”?

CoverThe Lord of the Rings. Which is kind of cheating – 3 books in 1. But it is still my favourite book. The Grey Havens choke me up every time.

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

I can sing.

 

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Quick questions with Nadia Hashimi – WORD Christchurch

We are asking quick questions of writers and thinkers coming to the WORD Christchurch Writers and Readers Festival on from 24 to 28 August.

Nadia Hashimi, born in the United States to Afghan parents, has degrees in Middle Eastern studies and biology, and is a trained paediatrician. Her 2014 debut novel The Pearl That Broke Its Shell was followed by When the Moon is Low. Her latest book is A House Without Windows.

Nadia Hashimi. Photo by Chris Cartter. Image supplied.
Nadia Hashimi. Photo by Chris Carter. Image supplied.

What are you looking forward to doing in Christchurch?

That’s going to depend on how hospitable the weather will be while I’m there. I’d love to see a wildlife preserve and to see how the people of Christchurch are rebuilding their city after the earthquake. I’m up for just about anything that will be uniquely Christchurch. Extra points for historical significance.

What do you think about libraries?

I could wax eloquent on libraries or I could quote Caitlin Moran who so brilliantly described libraries as “cathedrals of the mind; hospitals of the soul; theme parks of the imagination.” They’ve been a part of my life since I was a child and going back to my hometown libraries to give book talks and has been an incredibly moving experience. In different times of my life, I’ve turned to libraries for different reasons. Libraries are where I:  blazed through summer reading challenges, had my first volunteer job, learned that my tween angst was not that abnormal, studied for medical school entrance exams, conducted research for my novels, found a quiet space to write my last chapter. Finally, the library is where I bring my children so they can do all the above and more as well.

What would be your “desert island book”?

CoverLove in the Time of Cholera. (Although, if I were allowed to bring my e-reader, I would have lots more options. Does the desert island have Wi-Fi?)

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

Though I’m a vegetarian, I hate mushrooms. They are fungi and should be treated as such. (No offense to mushroom lovers.)

Nadia Hashimi appears in:
Can Books Change the World?, Thurs 25 Aug, 6pm
Read the World, Sat 27 Aug, 12.15pm
An Hour with Nadia Hashimi, Sun 28 Aug, 3.30pm

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Quick questions with Leigh Hopkinson – WORD Christchurch

We are asking quick questions of writers and thinkers coming to the WORD Christchurch Writers and Readers Festival on from 24 to 28 August.

Leigh Hopkinson is a New Zealand-born, Melbourne-based writer and editor. Her work has appeared in the Guardian, the Australian and The Press. Her first book Two Decades Naked is a memoir about her years working in striptease.

Leigh Hopkinson. Image supplied.
Leigh Hopkinson. Image supplied.

What are you looking forward to doing in Christchurch?

I’m looking forward to catching up with family and friends, and to immersing myself in the WORD festival. I’m especially looking forward to meeting Kate Holden, whose memoir inspired my own. And I’m keen to get out into the Southern Alps for a few days.

What do you think about libraries?

I love them! I’m very grateful they exist and that they’re free for everyone to enjoy, to take shelter in and to be nurtured by. In Melbourne, I often write at the State Library of Victoria. When I doubt the sensibility of pursuing my passion, I need only look around.

What would be your “desert island book”?

Just one? Well, I haven’t read Robinson Crusoe yet, but perhaps something more sensible might be in order, such as a Dummies Guide to Survival on a Desert Island.

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

When I was a kid, I was a tomboy, happiest out of doors. I hated anything girlie, such as make-up, dresses or Barbie dolls. Post-stripping, I still associate these things with the performative, not with the everyday.

Leigh Hopkinson appears in:
PechaKucha Night, Thurs 25 Aug, 8.20pm
Work/ Sex, Sun 28 Aug, 12.30pm

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Quick questions with Jarrod Gilbert – WORD Christchurch

We are asking quick questions of writers and thinkers coming to the WORD Christchurch Writers and Readers Festival on from 24 to 28 August.

Jarrod Gilbert is a sociologist, Canterbury University lecturer, firefighter, New Zealand Herald columnist, and the author of Patched: The History of Gangs in New Zealand.

Jarrod Gilbert. Image supplied.
Jarrod Gilbert. Image supplied.

What do you like about living in Christchurch?

I live in Sumner, which gives every indication of being the best suburb in the world, It has a terrific beach, is surrounded by hills, and has a cool village feel.

What do you think about libraries?

Libraries are fundamental to democracy and ideally are hubs for communities. Changes to make them less stiff and more welcoming are awesome.

What would be your “desert island book”?

CoverTo a God Unknown by John Steinbeck. I can read it over and over and love it each time.

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

I eat the same meal every day.

Jarrod Gilbert appears in:
True Crime, Fri 26 Aug, 3.30pm
The Great NZ Crime Debate, Sat 27 Aug, 7.30pm

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Quick questions with Helen Lowe – WORD Christchurch

We are asking quick questions of writers and thinkers coming to the WORD Christchurch Writers and Readers Festival on from 24 to 28 August.

Helen Lowe is a Christchurch-based novelist and poet. The second book in her The Wall of Night series won the Gemmell Morningstar Award 2012. Book three Daughter of Blood was published earlier this year.

Helen Lowe. Photo by John McCombe. Image supplied.
Helen Lowe. Photo by John McCombe. Image supplied.

What do you like about Christchurch?

I am a Christchurch person, but I have to say that the “what I like about it” question is one I often struggle with in the post-earthquake environment. However, one thing that I have always loved about Christchurch is its wide and very blue skies — not infrequently very blue, at any rate. I also love its trees, especially the city’s heritage of English trees and the seasonal change and interest they bring to the landscape. So that is why I can’t help feeling really sad when I see them being cut down so indiscriminately in the central city in particular, where greenspace is being replaced by sterile (and very expensive) stonescapes, all purportedly in the name of “recovery.”

What do you think about libraries?

I love libraries and always have done so. A little like the wardrobe that leads into Narnia, they open doors into so many fantastic worlds. Long may they continue, say I — and I hope the Crown frees up the land they promised in the central city very soon (in exchange for the old library site going to the convention centre project, I believe), so that the city’s new central library can finally get underway! Nearly six years without a central library is quite simply, six years too long.

What would be your “desert island book”?

That is such a hard question because of course there can be only one…So that means we’re talking about a book I would never get tired of, no matter how often I read it. For that reason, I think it might have to be the Pears Encyclopedia I’ve had since I was a child. It’s compact in size but full of all sorts of useful information, including basic medical information, a full collection of completely out-of-date maps, which in itself renders them interesting, as well as a section on the Greek myths and legends that I loved as a child and still find a very useful reference.

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

I always think that I am the world’s most unsurprising person, although that may only be because I have an insider’s low-down on all the Helen Lowe facts so do not consider any of them surprising. Although sometimes, harking back to Question One, I suspect it may be surprising that I still live in Christchurch despite all that the earthquakes and their aftermath have visited upon us.

Helen Lowe appears in:
Making it Overseas, Sun 28 Aug, 3pm

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