New Zealand books, stories and writers will get their time in the sun this spring, with WORD Christchurch, the South Island’s biggest literary festival, returning to Christchurch on October 28.
The festival will showcase many of New Zealand’s best known and best loved fiction and non-fiction writers, poets and historians including Elizabeth Knox, Behrouz Boochani, Witi Ihimaera, Vincent O’Sullivan, Becky Manawatu, Dr Siouxsie Wiles, Laura Jean McKay, Annabel Langbein, Carl Nixon, Pip Adam, Bill Manhire, Tom Scott, Farid Ahmed and many more. With 65 events across the four-day festival and more than 100 of Aotearoa’s finest writers, thinkers and entertainers on the programme, the WORD Christchurch Spring Festival promises to be any logophile’s dream.
Writer, poet, and comedian Ray Shipley is on the books as a guest programmer, providing a welcome spot of relief from a turbulent year with Bedtime Stories for Anxious Adults, Stand Up Poetry: A Quiz Show and a special edition of Ray Shipley’s Late-Night Poetry Hour. Other highlights include the ever-popular Adventurous Women, featuring Selina Tusitala Marsh, Kaiora Tipene, Miriam Lancewood and Annabel Langbein telling stories from their adventurous lives. The topic of this year’s Great WORD Debate will be that ‘it’s the end of the world as we know it’, and the WORD Gala: Brave Worlds opens the festival, with six distinguished writers discussing what it means to find courage in the face of a global pandemic.
WORD Christchurch’s mission is to share the joy of the written word, from stories and ideas through to poetry and song. Many of the events are free to attend, with an aim of including as many people from the community as possible and bringing people together with a shared love of storytelling.
Programme director Rachael King says this year’s festival will showcase many themes that are relevant to the changing times we’re living in. “We wanted to capture some of the shared experiences, and the challenges and opportunities from those experiences, in our programme and we also wanted to support our local publishing and book industry. Having a festival that is centred on New Zealand writing and New Zealand writers allows us to do that and to focus on that sense of community that we have all shared this year.”