October 20, 2021

We did it!

After weeks of replanning, undoing and planning again, through alert level changes, uncertainty and daily roadblocks, we can now release the revised, downsized, Covid-safe 2021 WORD Festival programme.

We firstly acknowledge how lucky we are to even have a festival, as we think of our friends and whānau in the North and acknowledge the sacrifices they have made to keep us in the South safe.

We also want to shout about the silver linings of the move to November:

  • We have gained two outstanding international writers, Helen Garner and Ruth Ozeki, in The Faraway Near, our custom-built digital venue that was created for just these challenging times.
  • While event capacity has reduced across the board, we will be livestreaming most events to those who can’t make it – look out for your chance to buy online tickets in the coming days.
  • We are thrilled to let you know that four events have been moved to the Douglas Lilburn Auditorium at the Christchurch Town Hall, which will enable us to spread out and maintain social distancing without existing ticketholders missing out! These events are: After the TampaPatricia Grace: From the Centre; Adventurous Women and Helen Clark: The Big Issues. There will be additional tickets on sale for these events, including the previously sold-out Adventurous Women.

We also want to acknowledge all the wonderful writers who have sacrificed their positions in the festival, whether it be due to cancelled events, travel restrictions, or their own availability for the new dates, and those who are embracing technology to beam into the festival virtually. Please support those writers by buying their books from a local bookshop or online (a handy University Bookshop page with all the original festival authors is here. While you are at it you can pre-order festival books to avoid crowds at the UBS stand).

We also want to acknowledge our wonderful partners, patrons and supporters who have stuck with us through thick and thin.

Tickets purchased for the original festival dates remain valid but please check the event page on the website for any date, time and venue changes. If you are no longer able to attend the event, you are entitled to claim a refund. Please do so by 1 November. If, once you have obtained a refund, you would like to donate any portion of the ticket price back to WORD to support us in this difficult time, you can do so via our donations and support page.

If you have tickets for cancelled events or those with reduced capacities, you should have heard from our ticketing team by now. If your event is on the list of cancelled or postponed events and you haven’t yet heard anything, please contact ticketing@wordchristchurch.co.nz.

Yes, we have lost some of our favourite writers and events that we were proud of. But they are not all gone; many have been simply postponed, including David Mitchell & Tiny Ruins, Te Piki o Tāwhaki: The Ascent of Tāwhaki at Tūranga, and Kā Wai o Tahu: Marlon Williams, Ariana Tikao and Ruby Solly.

For more information on what remains from the original festival, and any venue changes and cancellations visit our website. Please note that many of our out-of-town writers are now appearing via video link; check the individual event listings for details.

Tickets through Eventfinda are on sale now! Events through Ticketek (After the Tampa and Helen Clark) are available from 10am Friday. 

Please go here for how to stay safe at our festival. We can’t wait to see you there!

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