Marianne Hargreaves (Executive Director) has managed WORD Christchurch (previously Christchurch Writers Festival) since 2009. She has been involved in arts and events for 20 years. She has held various positions within the Christchurch Arts Festival, the New Zealand International Arts Festival, the New Zealand Jazz and Blues Festival, the Friends of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū and was Arts Advisor to the Arts Centre of Christchurch. She coordinated the advisory panel that chose the quotes for the Te Papa Ōtākaro / Avon River Precinct walkway.
Nic Low (Programme Co-Director) is a Ngāi Tahu author and arts organiser, originally from Christchurch, who has recently returned home after close to two decades in Melbourne. Nic brings a wealth of relevant experience to the role. He has co-directed Australia’s National Young Writers Festival, sat on the Melbourne Writers Festival programming committee, and in 2020 was a judge for both the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards and the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. He also ran the University of Melbourne’s International Writing Programme at the Asialink institute, organising tours, collaborations and publications across the Asia region.
Rachael King (Programme Co-Director) has been with WORD Christchurch since 2013, and has a long association with the New Zealand literary scene. Her father was historian Michael King, and her mother and stepfather worked in publishing. Rachael is the author of two books for adults, and one for children. The Sound of Butterflies (2006) was published in nine languages and won the Hubert Church Award for Best First Novel. Magpie Hall (2009) was long-listed for the Dublin IMPAC award, and Red Rocks, for junior readers, won the Esther Glen Medal, New Zealand’s longest-running literary award. In 2008 Rachael held the Ursula Bethell Writer in Residence position at Canterbury University, which brought her to Christchurch for one year. She never left.
Paula Granger (Partnerships Manager) joined WORD Christchurch in December 2020. Paula is a communicator, strategist and arts advocate. She has extensive experience in, and love of the arts, culture, and heritage sectors and can be found attending performances and boosting audience numbers, including at WORD Christchurch! Her interest in putting creativity centre stage and contributing to New Zealand’s cultural vibrancy drives her strategy for raising money for the arts.
Magda Lorenzo (Festival and Events Administrator) is the founder of The Commuting Book and a self-proclaimed WORD Christchurch No1 fan. She studied Sociology and has worked in different industries, but reading books and getting people interested in literature are her priorities, and her reason for approaching WORD in 2016 to ask for a job, any job! As well as being office administrator and production wizard she also co-ordinates our volunteers.