August 18, 2021

We couldn’t be more pleased to once again be partnering with the University of Canterbury with our shared vision of telling stories and highlighting important issues. We invited one of UC’s many staff who are appearing at the festival, Jeanette King,  to tell us what she’s reading and what she’s looking forward to at the festival.

I haven’t done much reading for pleasure over the last year so I’ve been surprised and delighted how the upcoming WORD festival has enticed me back into being a voracious reader, and with such a range of events there’s so, so, much I want to go to.

Thursday night’s A Cabinet of Curiosities: Tiny lectures on the weird and wonderful invites writers to explore their innermost obsessions. Speakers include Aotahi’s Madi Williams, along with Tom DoigJoanna Grochowicz, Gavin Bishop, and Glenn Colquhoun. With such an enticing title and lineup – this will be a stimulating and entertaining event.

Top of my bedside book pile is Alison Jones‘ memoir this pākehā life. Alison writes vividly and perceptively about her experiences growing up as Pākehā in Aotearoa New Zealand – but as I read I’ve also got half a mind on the questions I want to ask her and Dame Claudia Orange when I host the Being Pākehā session on Friday.

Friday night’s New Regent Street Pop-Up Festival includes a series of quick-fire book launches including Madi William’s history of Polynesian ‘Middle Ages’Polynesia, 900-1600: An overview of the history of Aotearoa, Rekohu, and Rapa Nui.

Who can resist the delicious tensions in New Zealand’s small pond of a literary world? Not me! I’ve found Charlotte Grimshaw’s The Mirror Book a compelling read – scenes she describes are genuinely shocking and I admire her bravery and insight which reveals much, not only about her own life, but about the wider forces in our society. I’m looking forward to seeing her speak on Saturday morning.

Another book I’m reading (yes, I have more than one on the go!) is Patrick Evan’s Bluffworld – again, I’m a sucker for satire based on the academic world and Patrick’s wit is legendary. So I’ll be sure to enjoy seeing him and Stephanie Johnson talking on Saturday afternoon in Wit World.

Another Aotahi academic, Sacha McMeeking is one of the contributors to the book Parenting in the Anthropocene and will be joining other contributors at a free child-friendly event at Tūranga on Sunday morning. WORD has something for all the whānau. See you there!

Professor Jeanette King
Aotahi | School of Maori and Indigenous Studies at the University of Canterbury


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