‘WORD Festival the most successful yet,’ Tina Law, The Press, 1 Sept 2014
“Sold-out shows and thousands of attendees have made this year’s Christchurch writers festival one of the most successful yet, its organiser says. The four-day biennial WORD Christchurch Writers & Readers Festival ended yesterday after about 5000 people attended 57 ticketed events led by 120 speakers from New Zealand and across the world.” Read More.
‘WORD Festival offers new views on quake city,’ Philip Matthews, The Press, 1 Sept 2014
“People from outside Christchurch can help Cantabrians to see their strange, ruined and hopeful city in new ways.
Writer Elizabeth Knox sees Christchurch as “a city living in memory and expectation, with ghost streets and dream buildings”. It was a typically original view from one of New Zealand’s leading writers, who came to the WORD Christchurch Writers & Readers Festival yesterday to deliver the first Margaret Mahy Memorial Lecture.
The festival has established the lecture to honour the memory of Mahy, the prolific and much-loved Christchurch writer who died in 2012. Knox’s lecture covered realism and fantasy in writing, illustrated through profound and often moving examples from her own experience.” Read More.
‘Essays reflect on rebuild,’ Philip Matthews, The Press, 31 Aug 2014
“Those who spend a lot of time in central Christchurch will know about its strangeness but it can be hard to identify just what makes it strange.
Ryan Reynolds puts his finger on it in a new essay. Christchurch, he says, is a post city and a pre city. We look back and we look ahead. The present tense is limited to demolishing and tidying up the old while preparing to build the new.” Read More.
‘Hager’s relationship with hacker revealed,’ Abbie Napier, The Press, 30 Aug 2014
“Dirty Politics author Nicky Hager today revealed Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater was hacked because the hacker ‘‘thought he was a p****’’. A packed room at the WORD Christchurch festival was silent as Hager described secretly meeting the hacker and Dirty Politics source in public parks, convincing him not to release his information over Twitter.” Read More.
‘Whistleblower’s author and literary stars draw crowds,’ Cate Broughton, The Press, 30 Aug 2014
“Book lovers and political junkies savoured an evening with fiction and non-fiction writers from New Zealand and overseas at Word Christchurch events last night, with several events sold out.” Read More.
‘Fantasy writer captivates young readers,’ The Press, 29 Aug 2014
“A pink-haired American fantasy writer has enthralled Christchurch students at a literary festival event. Laini Taylor read from her young adult smash-hit Daughter of Smoke and Bone in the Charles Luney Auditorium at St Margaret’s College yesterday. The session was part of the WORD Christchurch Writers and Readers Festival’s read aloud schools’ programme.” Read More.
‘WORD Festival a success before it starts,’ Philip Matthews, The Press, 27 Aug 2014
“When you have an inside view of an arts festival, you realise that the planning takes months, even years. For those outside, the excitement or anticipation is condensed into weeks. Either way, the best feeling is when all of that build-up ends and the thing finally starts. The people behind the WORD Christchurch Writers & Readers Festival, especially literary director Rachael King and executive director Marianne Hargreaves, will be feeling pretty good today.” Read More.
“Offence ‘a form of political currency,’” Beck Eleven, The Press, 18 Aug 2014
Author Richard King will be in Christchurch this month for the WORD Writers and Readers Festival. He tells Beck Eleven we are offended far too easily. Read More.
‘Kristin Hersh: Fluent in the language of music,’ Vicki Anderson, The Press, 15 Aug 2014,
“For American alt rock icon Kristin Hersh, every note and word has to fascinate. Every song has to be alive, like a great person . . . full of colours and sweat and memories and potential.
A key figure in the alt rock movement and a prominent solo artist, Hersh visits Christchurch later this month for appearances at WORD Christchurch Writers & Readers Festival.” Read More
‘Quick success a surprise for Setterfield,’ Diana Dekker, The Press, 12 Aug 2014
Diane Setterfield knew her mum would want to read her first try at a book, The Thirteenth Tale, so she chivvied herself along. It turned out more than 3 million other people wanted to read it, too. She talks to Diana Dekker.
‘Colourful names capture cultural heritage,’ Sue Green, The Press, 11 Aug 2014
“Zimbabwe-born NoViolet Bulawayo is promoted by her publishers as a “superstar author”, one whose first novel, We Need New Names, was shortlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize. She’s the first black African woman and first Zimbabwean to receive this accolade.
The book, set in a Zimbabwean shantytown and in the US, is told in the voice of a 10-year-old African child, Darling. She immigrates to America, but the adjustment is fraught.” Read More.
Nic Low’s ‘Arms Race,’ Reviewed by Paul Diamond, Radio New Zealand, 11 Aug 2014
In case you missed it – Nic Low’s Arms Race reviewed by Paul Diamond on Radio New Zealand’s Nine-to-Noon today. Listen here.
‘Trip to the dark side of the moon,’ Kirsten Krauth, The Australian, 9 Aug 2014
“It’s July and ABC Radio National is celebrating 40 years since the moon landing. While Neil Armstrong’s first steps and words are auto-looped in a media frenzy — again — I open Nic Low’s Arms Race and join Armstrong and fellow astronauts on a trip to New Zealand in The Culler, a story set in an isolated mountain outpost. As with the other stories in this debut collection, the atmosphere is strangely alluring and desperate, layered with misinformation, and the dialogue teeters on a knife’s edge, threatening to disintegrate or explode.” Read More
The finalists for the Ngaio Marsh Award for Crime Novel are…
The finalists for the 2014 Ngaio Marsh Award for Crime Novel are:
Paul Cleave – Joe Victim
Alan Duff – Frederick’s Coat
Donna Malane – My Brother’s Keeper
Liam McIlvanney – Where the Dead Men Go
Keep up to date on all things to do with the Ngaio Marsh Award at their Facebook page. The winner will be announced at the 2014 WORD Christchurch Writers & Readers Festival on 30 August.
‘Eleanor Catton’s stellar success,’ Kim Knight, Sunday Star Times, 4 Aug 2014,
“A man walks into a West Coast pub and sells half a million copies of a literary fiction novel constructed according to the astrological alignments of the planets. This year, for local book retailers, fact was stranger than fiction.
‘We deal with hard data,’ says Nevena Nikolic, sales and marketing manager with Nielsen BookScan. ‘I can’t comment, except to say it is unprecedented to see a New Zealand fiction title take out of the honour of the biggest-selling book in New Zealand.’”Read More
‘Memories of Margaret Mahy,’ Beck Eleven, The Press, 3 Aug 2014
‘She was the cherished children’s author living in our own backyard. A resident of Governors Bay for half a century, Margaret Mahy wrote picture books, novels, short story collections and poems. Her unlimited imagination made her one of 12 “Christchurch heroes” immortalised as a bronze bust at the Arts Centre. She was an obsessive reader who became a librarian, writing children’s stories in her spare hours until she could afford to go fulltime. A mother of two, a grandmother of seven.’ Read More
‘Hinemoana Baker: poems and boys’ homes,’ Saturday Morning, RNZ, 2 Aug 2014
‘Playing Favourites with Kristin Hersh,’ Saturday Morning, RNZ, 2 Aug 2014
“American songwriter and guitarist Kristin Hersh founded indie art-punk group Throwing Muses at the age of 14. She has since released eleven albums with the band (most recently 2013’s Purgatory / Paradise), as well as nine solo records and a number of other collaborations. Here is Kristin, playing favourites with Kim Hill.”
‘Real life heroes: Food critic Ruth Reichl,’ Nici Wickes, NZ Herald, 31 July 2014
‘I sit looking at the phone number I’ve been given for US-based food writer Ruth Reichl and wonder if it’s better to flag the interview than risk dashing the fantasy. She writes so enthusiastically and passionately about food. She makes Anthony Bourdain and AA Gill look like a pair of miserable bastards full of disdain for their subject.’ Read More
‘Russia like a beguiling hole,’ Philip Matthews, The Press, 30 July 2014
As Moscow correspondent for the Guardian, Luke Harding had first-hand experience of Vladimir Putin’s strange new world. Philip Matthews reports. Read More
Meg Wolitzer interviewed by Wallace Chapman, ‘Sunday Morning’, RNZ, 27 July 2014
In case you missed it, Meg Wolitzer was interviewed by Wallace Chapman on Radio New Zealand’s ‘Sunday Morning’ this past weekend. Here is the link to the interview. Enjoy!
‘WORD Festival a phoenix rising for Christchurch,’ Jillian Ewart, Booksellers, 24 July 2014
‘Here’s a shout out to those intrepid Cantabrians – brave, resilient people who saw their recent writers festivals crumble in earthquakes one and two. Now they have dusted themselves off for a fantastic new festival, WORD Christchurch Writers & Readers Festival in association with The Press from August 27-31 2014.’ Read More
Rebecca Macfie wins NZSA Best New Book Award – Non-Fiction
Rebecca Macfie has just been announced the winner of the NZSA Best New Book Award – Non-Fiction for her book Tragedy at Pike River Mine. See the full list of winners here. Rebecca will take part in two sessions at the 2014 WORD Christchurch Writers & Readers Festival, Tough Stuff, where she will discuss how she writes about difficult subjects while still staying true to her artistic vision and Rebuilding Christchurch: Red Zones, Green Frames and Blueprints.
‘Avoid the kneejerk rebuild,’ The Press, 16 July 2014
“An outspoken architectural critic with first-hand experience of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans hopes Christchurch will avoid the “rear-view mirror” effect as it gets back on its feet. Reed Kroloff, the former editor-in-chief of Architecture magazine in the United States, joins a lineup of international writers in this year’s WORD Christchurch Writers and Readers Festival.” Read More
‘Kristin Hersh has no memory of writing her songs,’ The Press, 15 July 2014
“In the early 1980s – dark times for quality rock - Kristin Hersh was a central figure in the direction the genre would take. She was a key link between 1970s idols such as Patti Smith and Debbie Harry and the indie rock chicks to emerge in the late 1980s – Kim Deal, Kim Gordon and P. J. Harvey. Without Hersh and her contemporaries, we might not have Cat Power, Shirley Manson, St Vincent or even Grimes.”
Music is the WORD – rock musician Kristin Hersh headlines Christchurch’s literary festival, WORD Press Release, 15 July 2014
Seminal indie-rock musician Kristin Hersh is coming to New Zealand to share her music and prose at the WORD Christchurch Writers & Readers Festival, presented in association with The Press. Hersh will join literary heavyweights such as Eleanor Catton, Ruth Reichl and Meg Wolitzer at the multi-day festival, which runs from 27—31 August. She will perform her solo show WORDS + MUSIC on 30 August at the magnificent Transitional Cathedral and will make several other appearances throughout the festival.
Read the full press release here.
‘Catton early draw card for Writers’ Festival’, The Press, 22 May 2014
Kiwi novelist Eleanor Catton will speak in Christchurch as part of the city’s biennial writers’ festival. The Man Booker prize-winning writer will talk to local audiences as part of the five-day WORD Christchurch Writers and Readers Festival in August.
Catton earned global acclaim for her book The Luminaries, an 832-page novel set in Hokitika’s 1860s gold rush heyday. Her appearance at the Christchurch festival follows a 2100-seat sell-out session at the Auckland Writers Festival this month.
Literary director Rachael King said she was really excited to have Catton join the Christchurch festival.
Damon Young’s ‘How to Think About Exercise’, Reviewed by The Age
“The idea that exercise is ‘mindless’ derives from the mind-body dualism bequeathed to us by Descartes, and by Christianity’s distaste for the flesh. In the spirit of the School of Life’s practical approach to philosophy, Damon Young advocates a return to the holistic approach of the ancient Greeks, who believed exercise could be virtuous and character-building, as well as pleasureable. There’s the satisfaction that comes from pushing ourselves to our limits, humility as we face up to these limits, a new understanding of pain and the ‘agreeable horror’ of the sublime that teaches us to ‘savour the precariousness of life.’ Through the rituals and rules of competitive sports we learn the meaning of sacrifice without real loss. In pithy, accessible prose, Young offers up a new mantra for intelligent exercise – not ‘just do it’ but ‘just become it’.”
Anis Mojgani’s ‘Songs From Under the River’, Reviewed by Stanton Hancock, Pank Magazine
“Songs From Under The River contains so many wonderfully woven strands of wordplay that it is impossible to do it justice in as few words as these. Mojgani has the rare gift of being able to create inspiring works that spring to life on the page with the same passion and fervor as when he takes them to the stage.”
Ruth Reichl’s ‘Delicious!’, Reviewed by Kate Christensen, NY Times
“Now, once again employing her ability to convey the comforts of food in prose both specific and enchanting, Reichl has written a novel, Delicious! Its title strikes me as perfectly apt, coming as it does from the woman who wrote: ‘Pull up a chair. Take a taste. Come join us. Life is so endlessly delicious!’”
Eleanor Catton’s ‘The Luminaries’, Reviewed by Lucy Daniel, The Guardian
“‘How opaque, the minds of absent men and women! And how elusive, motivation!” So exclaims the narrator of Eleanor Catton’s irresistible second novel. Four years ago her debut, The Rehearsal, about a sex scandal at a New Zealand high school, won her a cache of nominations and prizes, but hardly foretold the startling gear shift that has given us this historical suspense novel, which won her this year’s Booker prize, aged just 28.”