Schools Programme


INSPIRING WRITERS Secondary Schools Programme

This August WORD Christchurch Is bringing a huge selection of the best writers and performers from around New Zealand and the world (via a digital space) to our city. The festival will offer a scintillating range of events, giving Christchurch students and their families an exciting opportunity to expand their horizons.

The Inspiring Writers Secondary Schools Programme is presented in partnership with the University of Canterbury.

Students will hear from writers on a range of subjects and curriculum packs will be available so your students get the most out of their visit.

Plus, for the first time, on FRIDAY 27 AUGUST, we will be offering a poetry workshop for students! So make sure your star poetry writers and performers are primed and ready to go. There will be a limit of 20 places to the workshop. This is their chance to learn from some of the best in the country.

We will be working with the University of Canterbury to provide transport for low decile schools, and students will have the opportunity to tour the university.

Feedback from previous years has told us that students have found our schools’ day life-changing. Expect horizons to be well and truly expanded and (in some cases) minds blown!

READ ALOUD Primary Schools Programme

FRIDAY 27 AUGUST | 9.45am & 11.30am

This August WORD Christchurch is bringing a huge selection of the best writers and performers from around New Zealand to our city. The festival will offer a scintillating range of events, giving Christchurch students and their families an exciting opportunity to expand their horizons.

The READ ALOUD Primary Schools Programme is a festival institution that gathers together writers for a FREE special event for schools.

READ ALOUD will be held in the James Hay Theatre at the Christchurch Town Hall.

  • SESSION ONE 9.45am-10.45am featuring Maria Gill, Gavin Bishop and Maysoon Salama
  • SESSION TWO 11.30am-12.30pm featuring Graci Kim, Joanna Grochowicz and Lily Emo

We encourage you to attend both sessions and make a day of it in the city (but if you can’t make that work, just select which session you’d like to attend). Scroll down for more information on each of our amazing writers.

This is a great opportunity for children to meet the authors up close and ask them any burning questions they may have, then get their books signed by the authors themselves!

Spaces are limited so make sure you don’t miss out. Register today for this FREE event in August! 


Maria Gill has written 60 children’s books including  Anzac Heroes, which won the 2016 NZCYA Book of the Year prize. Ten of her books have received Storylines Notable Book awards. Maria writes fulltime and enjoys giving author talks and writing workshops.

Gavin Bishop’s stunning, once-in-a-generation compendium, Atua, introduces readers to the pantheon of Maori gods, demigods and heroes, and explores Aotearoa’s most exciting legends from the Creation to the Migration.

Before the beginning there was nothing.
No sound, no air, no colour – nothing.


No one knows how long this nothing lasted because there was no time.
However, in this great nothing there was a sense of waiting.

Something was about to happen.

Aya and the Butterfly is by Dr. Maysoon Salama, who lost her son Atta in the mosque attacks on March 15, 2019. Dr. Salama wrote it for her granddaughter (Aya) and for other children dealing with loss and trauma. It is intended to help children to come to terms with grief, cope with change, and build resilience. Aya’s father’s death is implied, but this is not the story’s focus, and children do not need to know how it happened. They do need to know that sometimes we have to say goodbye to the people and things we love the most. In the face of such overwhelming loss, we must allow ourselves to remember and feel sad, but we must also learn to let go and keep going. There is hope.

Graci Kim is the bestselling author of the Korean mythology-inspired novel, The Last Fallen Star, published by Rick Riordan Presents. Called a “sparkling yarn” by Entertainment Weekly, it has been optioned by the Disney Channel for a live-action television series.

Joanna Grochowicz is an author and polar historian. Drawing on diaries, letters, and expedition narratives from archives and personal collections around the world, Grochowicz’s compellingly written novels bring to light new and often overlooked elements of heroic age exploration

An award winning illustrator living in Nelson, Lily Emo spends her time juggling the demands of an illustration/art career and freelancing as a graphic designer and relief art teaching. Her portraiture work of Covid 19 essential workers was displayed in 2021 in The National Portrait Gallery in Wellington.  Lily Emo works with a range of mediums – from Procreate and photoshop to more traditional mediums like watercolour, gouache, graphite and coloured pencil.




Our Schools Programme is a festival institution that gathers together writers for FREE special events for schools. Diary the dates and share this link with your colleagues in other departments and at other schools to make sure they don’t miss out. More details will be out very soon including the announcement of writers who will be at these events. We look forward to welcoming you in August!

Contact with any questions

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WORD Christchurch

PO Box 29 270
Christchurch 8440

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