THE GREAT LIT QUIZ AND NGAIO MARSH AWARDS
Saturday, 28 October, 5.30 Ngaio Marsh Awards; 7pm Great Lit Quiz
Scorpio Books and WORD Christchurch present The Great Lit Quiz & Ngaio Marsh Awards!
To celebrate NZ Bookshop Day, put together a team of book enthusiasts for a quiz of crime novels and other genres! All tickets gain entry to the invitation-only Ngaio Marsh Awards cocktail party, where the winners will be announced. Read more
WHAT WE DO
NEXT FESTIVAL 30 AUGUST-2 SEPTEMBER 2018!
WORD Christchurch presents a huge variety of literary events, from our biennial festival - the largest literary event in the South Island - to one-off events with visiting and local authors. In May we partner with the Auckland Writers Festival for an Autumn Season, and in September on the festival off-year we partner with Christchurch Arts Festival for a series of ideas-based events. Past guests include such luminaries as Eleanor Catton, Anna Smaill, Margaret Atwood, Ivan Coyote, Chris Cleave, David Mitchell, NoViolet Bulawayo, Tim Flannery, Caitlin Doughty, Alexander McCall Smith, Michael Palin, Julia Gillard, Jung Chang, Geraldine Brooks, Ian Rankin, Ruth Reichl and children's sensations David Walliams and Andy Griffiths. Our events bring writers, thinkers and performers together to celebrate the written word and provide an opportunity for audiences to respond to ideas and to meet their literary heroes. Read more
Shifting Points of View
1 September - 16 September
WORD Christchurch, in association with Christchurch Arts Festival, is pleased to announce Shifting Points of View, a series of events designed to provoke and enlighten, and maybe even change your point of view. Featuring Midnight Oil frontman Peter Garrett, provocateur and documentary-maker John Safran, Australian feminist Clementine Ford, British journalist Reni Eddo-Lodge, author Witi Ihimaera, surgeon David Galler, poet Glenn Colquhoun, Ngāi Tahu storyteller Joseph Hullen and more, Shifting Points of View takes place throughout September 2017 as part of the Christchurch Arts Festival. Read more
THIS IS SUPPOSED TO GET EASIER, I WISH: a novel-writing workshop
Saturday, 2 September, 9.30-12pm.
Join one of New Zealand's most acclaimed writers, Witi Ihimaera, as he takes you through the process of sustaining your novel as you write it, whether it's your first or you fifth. "People think it's easier the more books you write," he says, "but every book is different and it's always back to the basic questions again: is the idea good enough, who is telling the story, how will my mainframe best support the work, is there a good balance between the aesthetics and politics, and so on." In this workshop he will guide you through practical exercises and the various scaffoldings you might apply when you write your own first or next novel. Hurry! This workshop is limited to 20 places and will sell out quickly. Read more
Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice, Pull down your pants and slide on the ice: a writing workshop
Saturday 2 September, 1.30-4.30pm
We are thrilled to welcome the talented Glenn Colquhoun to pass on his writing advice to poets and prose writers alike. This workshop is not to be missed for writers at all stages of their craft. Glenn will explore general approaches to writing creatively; he will also spend time working on individual pieces selected from those attending the workshop. Those planning to attend will need to supply one poem they have worked on or a short piece of prose no longer than 500 words. Hurry! This workshop is limited to 18 attendees and will sell out quickly. Read more
Past Event: Fiona Farrell: Decline and Fall on Savage Street
Tuesday, 1 August, 6-8pm
WORD Christchurch proudly presents a free event to celebrate the launch of Fiona Farrell’s highly anticipated new novel Decline and Fall on Savage St, the fictional follow-up to her acclaimed non-fiction work The Villa at the Edge of the Empire. Writing in a city devastated by major earthquakes, Fiona Farrell rebuilds a brilliant, compelling and imaginative structure from bits and pieces salvaged from one hundred years of history. Read more
Fail Safe/Fail Better
Friday, 1 September, 7-8.30pm
‘Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.’ Samuel Beckett
Join us for a night of stories in the beautiful Great Hall as six speakers share tales of failure and its role in their lives and careers. Whether it’s a building block to creative success as Beckett asserts, a sorry rock-bottom tale, or a philosophical pondering on the nature of failure itself, is it safe to fail? And can we ever fail better? Read more
Tutae Patu Lagoon Walking Tour
Saturday 2 September & Saturday 16 September (SOLD OUT), 1.45pm for a 2pm start
Nau mai, haere mai, tauti mai — come along and enjoy a walk through the Tuhaitara Coastal Park with Joseph Hullen (Ngāi Tūāhuriri, Ngāi Tahu). Tutae Patu Lagoon was once an important Ngāi Tūāhuriri mahinga kai (food gathering site) and although it has changed over time, it is still of great significance to Ngāi Tūāhuriri and Ngāi Tahu. Joseph’s sixty-minute walking tour through Tuhaitara Coastal Park at Woodend Beach will take you on a journey through the park to Tutae Patu Lagoon. He will uncover the rich history and explain the significance of the area. Read more
Fight Like a Girl
Saturday 2 September, 3pm - SOLD OUT; Sunday 3 September, 3pm - SOLD OUT
Join Australia’s online sensation, fearless feminist heroine and scourge of trolls and misogynists everywhere Clementine Ford as she outlines her essential manifesto for feminists new, old and soon-to-be, and exposes just how unequal the world continues to be for women. Her incendiary debut Fight Like A Girl is a call to arms for all women to rediscover the fury that has been suppressed by a society that still considers feminism a threat. It will make you laugh, cry and scream, and fight for a world in which women have real equality. Read more
Things That Matter
Saturday 2 September, 7pm
David Galler has ‘the mind of a superb scientist and the soul of a fine poet’. From his position as Intensive Care specialist at Middlemore Hospital, he tells stories of life and death, and aims to demystify much of the work doctors do in the hope that it will encourage patients to seek to be better informed and play a greater role in the decisions that will affect them and their loved ones. A superb, engaging speaker and storyteller, Dr Galler discusses the things that matter with poet and fellow medicine-man, Glenn Colquhoun. Read more
Madwomen in the Attic
Wednesday, 6 September, 8.30pm
Following a performance of Jane Eyre: An Autobiography with Rebecca Vaughn, sit back and enjoy dark tales of gothic houses, damaged men, plucky heroines and secrets lurking in attics. What is the enduring appeal of the gothic women of literature? Who are the forgotten women, and the doppelgangers? An actor, a novelist and a librarian share their views, their favourite heroines, and improvise their own tales of women with great hair fleeing gothic houses. Rebecca is joined by Karen Healey and Moata Tamaira, chaired by Rachael King. Read more
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race
Tuesday, 5 September, 6pm
When award-winning British journalist Reni Eddo-Lodge wrote a blog post about the way discussions of racism were being led by those not affected by it, her words hit a nerve. Galvanised, she dug into the source of her feelings and kept writing. The result was Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race. We invite you to come and listen as Eddo-Lodge discusses, with playwright Victor Rodger, issues such as eradicated black history, whitewashed feminism, and the inextricable link between class and race, while offering a framework to see, acknowledge and counter racism. Read more
Depends What You Mean By Extremist
Sunday, 10 September, 1pm
No one turns up where they’re not wanted quite like John Safran, Australian satirist and maker of provocative and hilarious documentary series such as John Safran vs God.
In Safran’s latest book, Depends What You Mean by Extremist, he embeds himself in the world of Australia’s diverse community of white nationalists, ISIS supporters, anarchists and more, digging away at the contradictions that many would prefer be left unexamined. Just what is going on in Australia to create such a hotbed of radicalism, and could such extremism happen over here? John Safran is joined by Te Radar for an entertaining and thought-provoking discussion. Read more
Past event: Peter Garrett: Big Blue Sky
Sunday, 10 September, 3pm
In between Midnight Oil’s two New Zealand concerts, the band’s charismatic frontman Peter Garrett makes a special appearance to talk about his creative and political life, as outlined in his recent memoir Big Blue Sky. From his early interest in equality and justice to fronting iconic Australian band Midnight Oil; from his time as a galvanising activist for the environment to being a minister in two Labor governments, this passionate and energetic Australian has an extraordinary story to tell. Read more
Kidsfest: Once Upon a Time 1
Monday, 10 July, 10am-12pm
Tired of all of those fairytale princesses waiting around to be rescued? Come and invent your own! A fun workshop for 8-10 year olds which looks at favourite fairytales, and how they continue to work their magic, centuries after they were first told. Next, you’ll write your way into the woods to discover witches, heroes and talking bears for a tale of your own. With Renata Hopkins, prize-winning fairytale writer. Read more
Kidsfest: Once Upon a Time 2
Monday, 10 July, 1-3pm
Do you like your fairytales dark and exciting, or sweet and comforting? Dangerous wolves or Disney princesses? In this fun workshop for 11-13 year olds, Renata Hopkins, prize-winning fairytale writer, will look at some of the qualities that set fairytales apart from other genres. Then, leaving the Disney sweetness behind, she'll lead participants into the dark woods of their imaginations, digging down to the gnarled roots of fairy tales and planting some seeds for a modern telling of their own. Read more
Kidsfest: The Genius of Bugs
Tuesday, 11 July, 10.30-11.30am
Do you like bugs? They may be small, they may be creepy, but bugs have super-sized powers! Join Simon Pollard, author of the wicked new book The Genius of Bugs, as he takes you into the world of the everyday and the extraordinary, the grotesque and the mysterious, with bug tales, facts and figures that showcase insect ingenuity and reveal astounding bug behaviour. Be entertained and amazed and bring your best bug questions. Ages 7-13. Read more
Kidsfest: Zany Zines Workshop
Wednesday, 12 July, 9.30am – 12pm
Want to learn to create your own cool zine? Zines are low-fi magazines created using colouring pens and pencils, illustration, photography, collage, hand drawn typefaces, and can be about whatever topic you love: animals, music, the environment, even your Gran! This workshop will help you with content, construction, decoration and design. Bring scissors, pencil and pens, and we’ll collaborate on a zine that everyone can take home with them. With Liv Worsnop from Plant Gang. Read more
Past Event: AUTUMN SEASON in association with Auckland Writers Festival
WORD Christchurch has teamed up with the Auckland Writers Festival to bring six top quality international writers to our city in May.
The Autumn Season, which runs from 14 to 17 May, features: bestselling Scottish crime novelist Ian Rankin, creator of the Rebus series; Booker prize-winning Irish novelist Anne Enright; highly-respected British historian and biographer A. N. Wilson, author of The Victorians; science writer James Gleick exploring the mysteries of time travel; and novelist Stella Duffy, who is currently completing Ngaio Marsh’s unfinished novel Money in the Morgue. WORD Christchurch is also thrilled to welcome back the hit of the 2016 festival, Canadian storyteller Ivan Coyote. Read more
Past Event: Ian Rankin: Writing Rebus
6pm, Sunday, 14 May 2017
30 years since he brought the detective to life, Ian Rankin is back with another Rebus mystery, Rather Be the Devil, a tale of twisted power, deep-rooted corruption and bitter rivalries.
‘I had no idea when I published Knots and Crosses in 1987 that Rebus would still be sharing his adventures – and misadventures – with me,’ says Rankin, whose crime novels have gained global acclaim and made him an international bestseller. We are thrilled to bring one of the world’s most popular and well-respected crime writers to our city to talk about his work and passions with Christchurch coroner Marcus Elliott. Read more
Past Event: Stella Duffy: In Dame Ngaio’s Footsteps
5.30pm, Monday, 15 May, 2017
Stella Duffy has the great distinction of being asked to complete Dame Ngaio Marsh's unfinished novel Money in the Morgue, and she is well qualified for the task. New Zealand-raised, London-based Duffy has distinguished herself as a writer of crime fiction, with two Crime Writers' Association Dagger awards under her belt, and of historical and literary fiction. Like Marsh, she is also immersed in the theatrical world. As the co-director of Fun Palaces, she was recently awarded an OBE for Services to the Arts. Duffy will talk with writer and editor Liz Grant about her latest books — crime novel The Hidden Room and historical novel London Lies Beneath – as well her creative life and her pursuit of one of the original Queens of Crime, Dame Ngaio Marsh. Read more
Past Event: A. N. Wilson: Bringing History to Life
7.30pm, Monday 15 May, 2017
A. N. Wilson is one of the most respected historians and biographers of our time. The author of such seminal historical works as The Victorians, and of biographies of some of our greatest (and most notorious) literary and historical figures, including Queen Victoria (recently dramatised in the new television series Victoria), Leo Tolstoy, Iris Murdoch, Jesus and Adolf Hitler, Wilson has also found time to write more than 20 works of fiction. Wilson will discuss his latest books, the novel Resolution: a novel of the boy who sailed with Captain Cook, and a biography of Queen Elizabeth II, and talk about his impressive craft and career, with arts commentator Christopher Moore. Read more
Past Event: James Gleick: Time Travel
6pm, Tuesday 16 May, 2017
If you have a lifelong fascination with time travel, or even just a passing curiosity about it, this event is for you.
James Gleick, leading science communicator and author of Time Travel: A History, gives a mind-bending exploration of this fascinating subject: its subversive origins, its evolution in literature and science, and its influence on our understanding of time itself. From H.G. Wells to Doctor Who, from pulp fiction to modern physics, Gleick will explore as many facets of time travel as possible in just one hour. Bring your burning questions. Read more
Past Event: An Evening with Ivan Coyote
8pm, Tuesday 16 May, 2017
The hit of the 2016 WORD Christchurch Festival is back!
Ivan Coyote, author of books such as One in Every Crowd, Gender Failure and the new Tomboy Survival Guide, which deals with ‘new infatuations and old baggage, and life as a gender-box-defying adult’, will entertain and move you with stories of family, love, growing up in Canada’s Yukon and surviving and thriving as a tomboy. Experience the ‘Coyote one-two’, which will leave you laughing and crying in the space of one story. Coyote dazzled sold-out audiences last August; now is your chance to see and hear this extraordinary writer and storyteller again or for the first time. Read more
Past Event: Anne Enright: Beyond The Green Road
6pm, Wednesday 17 May, 2017
We are delighted to close the Autumn Season with one of the most electrifying novelists writing in English today.
Anne Enright, who won the Booker Prize in 2007 for The Gathering, writes about Irish families with great lyricism and black humour. In 2015 she became the inaugural Laureate for Irish Fiction, a three-year appointment. Her latest novel, The Green Road (longlisted for the 2016 Man Booker), set in a small town on Ireland's Atlantic coast and spanning 30 years, is a tale of family and fracture, compassion and selfishness – a shattering exploration of the gaps in the human heart and how we strive to fill them. Read more
Past Event: BIRD + YOUNG
Wednesday, 22 March, 6pm
Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu and WORD Christchurch are pleased to present two of the most talked-about writers in the country: Hera Lindsay Bird and Ashleigh Young. Celebrating World Poetry Day, come and hear Bird, who Steve Braunias called ‘like the most exciting newish poet in New Zealand’ in The Spinoff, and Young, who Grant Smithies, writing in the Sunday Star-Times, declared should be ‘carried through the streets of Wellington in a sedan chair, borne aloft by adoring disciples’. Both writers will read from their work and discuss poetry, essay-writing, editing, and life. Read more
Past Event: Orphan X: Gregg Hurwitz in conversation
Wednesday, 1 March, 7pm
An evening not to be missed by crime and thriller fans!
In partnership with Penguin Random House New Zealand, WORD Christchurch is pleased to present Gregg Hurwitz, the New York Times bestselling author of Orphan X and its sequel The Nowhere Man. Come and hear how this Shakespeare-tragedy scholar, crime-novel and comic-book author has now successfully created a compelling, authentic and savvy modern-day action hero. Gregg will be interviewed by local crime reviewer Ken Strongman, followed by an audience Q & A and book signing, with books available to purchase on the night. Read more
Past Event: ALL ABOUT WOMEN SATELLITE EVENT
Sunday, 5 March, 12pm for a 12.30 start.
Sydney Opera House, WORD Christchurch and Christchurch Art Gallery present ALL ABOUT WOMEN, live-streamed to Christchurch! Once again, we are bringing an afternoon of smart feminist talk to Christchurch, with not one but three sessions from Sydney Opera House’s fantastic All About Women festival beaming straight into the Christchurch Art Gallery, with plenty of chances to mingle and discuss the exciting ideas of the day. Featuring Geena Davis, Jessa Crispin, Yassmin Abdel-Magied, Van Badham and Lindy West Read more
Past event: Reading Poetry Around the World: STEPHEN BURT & FERGUS BARROWMAN
Thursday 26 January, 6pm (refreshments from 5.30pm)
2017 is calling!
Stay tuned for exciting announcements for our 2017 events, including our May Autumn Season, in partnership with the Auckland Writers Festival, and events in September as part of the Christchurch Arts Festival. Don't forget to sign up for our newsletter so you can hear the news first! Read more
Become a Supporter
WORD Christchurch is a charitable trust that presents the South Island’s largest international festival of literature and ideas, and we need your help.
Our objective: to bring the community together through their love of words in all their forms. Join the family by becoming a Patron or Supporter and help to bring the best writers and speakers to Christchurch, from around New Zealand and the world, to inform, entertain and inspire adults and children alike. We rely on support to keep ticket prices down and meet the costs associated with running a vibrant and essential festival. Read more
Past Event: An Evening with Jane Smiley
Monday, 9 May 2016, 7.30pm
Don’t miss this very special event, presented in partnership with the Auckland Writers Festival.
Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Jane Smiley is the author of numerous adult and YA novels such as A Thousand Acres, Moo and Horse Heaven, as well as five works of non-fiction including 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel. Her latest book, Golden Age, is the final installment of the multi-generational Last Hundred Years trilogy set in 20th century America. Jane will appear in conversation with Morrin Rout. Read more
Past Event: ANIS MOJGANI RETURNS
17 & 19 March, 2016
We are delighted to welcome back Anis Mojgani and his ‘fiercely hopeful word arias’ in March 2016.
Anis surprised and enthralled audiences at the 2014 WORD Christchurch Writers & Readers Festival, gathering followers throughout the festival, selling out his final performance and all of his books. Now you have another chance to catch him. Read more
Missed out on one of our events? We have a feature on our website: PODCASTS. We record some of the best of WORD Christchurch events, so you can revisit them if you were lucky enough to see them, or hear them for the first time if you weren't. Read more
Paul Cleave wins the Ngaio Marsh Award
Paul Cleave became the Crown Prince of antipodean crime writing when his thriller Five Minutes Alone was awarded the 2015 Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel on 4 October.
Paul Cleave, an internationally bestselling author, made history when his “gritty and thoroughly absorbing” novel that “evokes complex feelings about retribution and morality” was revealed as the winner before a packed hometown crowd at The Court Theatre. Read more
Past Event: An Evening with Geraldine Brooks
Wednesday, 18 November 2015, 7.30pm
WORD Christchurch and Bookenz, in association with Hachette NZ, are proud to present an evening with Pulitzer prize-winning writer Geraldine Brooks, in conversation with Morrin Rout.
With more than two million copies of her novels sold, Australian-American author and journalist Geraldine Brooks has achieved both popular and critical acclaim. She has worked for the Wall Street Journal, where she covered crises in the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. In 2006 she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for her novel March, which imagines the life of the patriarch of Louisa May Alcott’s beloved classic Little Women, who leaves behind his family to aid the Union cause in the Civil War. Read more
Murder in the Court
4 October 2015, 5pm
The Ngaio Marsh Award, in association with WORD Christchurch and The Press, is pleased to announce that whodunit and who-won-it will be revealed at an entertaining event at The Court Theatre on 4 October.
The Court Jesters will improvise a murder mystery on the spot and read tantalising excerpts from the finalists’ books, before announcing the winner. Who will take out this prestigious national award? Five Minutes Alone, Paul Cleave The Petticoat Men, Barbara Ewing Swimming in the Dark, Paddy Richardson The Children's Pond, Tina Shaw Fallout, Paul Thomas Read more
An Evening with Joe Bennett
Thursday 24 September, 7.30pm (Bar opens 7pm)
Join one of Christchurch’s favourite writers, Joe Bennett, for a drink and an evening of story as he talks about his first novel, inspired by the rumour of a man living in a condemned luxury hotel in the red zone after the earthquakes of 2011.
King Rich is the haunting story of intertwined lives, set amid the devastation of post-quake Christchurch. Richard hides with a dog in the abandoned hotel. Annie returns from England as news of the disaster brings childhood memories flooding back. Vince relives the love of his life. King Rich is the work of a superb writer at the top of his game. Read more
Naomi Klein: Festival of Dangerous Ideas
CAPITALISM AND THE CLIMATE: Is capitalism now at war with our planet?
Tune in for a live broadcast from our partners at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas, 1.30pm New Zealand time, on Saturday 5 September. Read more
Crimes of Passion
Monday, 7 September 2015, 8pm
We are very excited to welcome highly acclaimed UK author Sarah Waters.
Her six historical novels are page-turning and highly inventive, known for their wit and explosive twists. Many have been made into top quality drama series for television, such as Fingersmith, Tipping the Velvet and The Night Watch. Waters’ novels have been shortlisted for the Man Booker and the Orange/Bailey’s Prize numerous times. Read more
On Effective Altruism
Monday, 7 September 2015, 6pm
How can we do the most good?
Peter Singer, often described as the world’s most influential living philosopher, presents a challenging new movement in the search for an ethical life. Effective altruism requires a rigorously unsentimental view of charitable giving, urging that a substantial proportion of our money or time should be donated to the organisations that will do the most good with those resources, rather than to those that tug the heartstrings. Read more
Sunday, 30 August 2015, 6pm
Jesse Bering argues that we are all sexual deviants on one level or another.
He challenges us to move beyond our attitudes towards ‘deviant' sex and consider the alternative: what would happen if we rise above our fears and revulsions and accept our true natures? WARNING: Adult themes. Obviously. Read more
On North Korea: Inventing the Truth
Sunday, 30 August 2015, 4pm
Suki Kim is the only writer to ever go undercover into North Korea to write a book from the inside.
A glimpse inside the mysterious closed-off world of North Korea, a country where a military dictatorship exploits the myth of a Great Leader to its own citizens, who are “imprisoned in a gulag posing as a nation”, Kim’s extraordinary memoir of her time going undercover to teach English to the sons of North Korea’s ruling class, Without You, There is No Us, a New York Times bestseller, was written at great personal risk. Chaired by Paula Morris. Read more
The Struggle for Sovereignty
Sunday 30 August, 2pm
In the era of public choice and free markets, and when widespread public protest against global treaties such as the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement is having little effect, does the New Zealand state still have the best interests of its individual citizens at heart?
Margaret Wilson argues that the shift to a neo-liberal public policy framework has profoundly affected the country’s sovereignty and that New Zealanders must continue to engage in the struggle to retain it for the sake of individual and community wellbeing. Introduced by Bronwyn Hayward. Read more
Sunday, 30 August 2015, 12pm
Taking the Christchurch blueprint as a starting point, this panel will look at ways in which we imagine cities, either in fiction, in history, or in contemporary life
whether as utopias or dystopias, cities imagined or reimagined. Read more
Sunday, 30 August 2015, 10am
Patrica Grace and Paula Morris in conversation
In her first novel in a decade, treasured writer Patricia Grace explores issues that permeate New Zealand history and society: racial intolerance, cross-cultural conflicts and the universal desire to belong. Spanning several decades and set against the backdrop of a changing New Zealand, Chappy is a story of enduring love Read more
Shifting Points of View
30 August & 7 September
In a world of reality TV shows and light entertainment, where issues are reduced to convenient soundbites, WORD Christchurch,
in association with Christchurch Arts Festival, is proud to provide a platform for relevant, in-depth, stimulating — and yes, also entertaining — discussion. Read more
David Mitchell: Über-novelist
Sunday 17 May, 6pm