WORD Christchurch Announces a Special Festival Programme

9 Sep 2020

This content is tagged as Literature .

NEWS

Composite image of Becky Manawatu, Witi Ihimaera, Mohamed Hassan, Laura Jean McKay, Elizabeth Knox, John Campbell, and Behrouz Boochani.
Becky Manawatu, Witi Ihimaera, Mohamed Hassan, Laura Jean McKay, Elizabeth Knox, John Campbell, and Behrouz Boochani.

WORD Christchurch is back with a local flavour as it celebrates New Zealand books, stories, and writers in the WORD Christchurch Spring Festival (28 October – 1 November).

Due to COVID-19, the original WORD festival planned for August was postponed. However, the challenges this presented also gave the festival more opportunity to showcase the wealth of talent within Ōtautahi Christchurch and Aotearoa New Zealand.  

The festival promises to be a colourful explosion of stories, poetry, ideas, and song. With 65 events and more than 100 of Aotearoa’s finest writers, thinkers and entertainers at its heart, the four-day festival is centred around the idea of community and in that vein, many of the events will be free for everyone to attend.

Programme director Rachael King says this year’s festival will be a more intimate experience and will showcase many themes that are relevant to the changing times in which we are living.

“There’s no doubt the global pandemic has had an effect on each and every one of us,” King explains. “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.”

The breadth of local talent means this year’s festival will be both a truly homegrown experience and a world class event.

“There are some glittering events on offer that will satiate the appetite, whether your taste is for literature, or examining new ideas or just enjoying some much-needed entertainment,” says King.

The festival covers a smorgasbord of issues from the economy to the history of the Ngāi Tahu settlement process, from identity and heritage to food, art and mental health  –  with writers in discussion and conversation with some of Aotearoa’s finest broadcasters and commentators – there is something here for everyone. 

And families are not forgotten – a schools’ day and programme of free events will excite kids of all ages with literary treasure hunts, storytelling, and poetry. The ever-popular New Regent Street Pop Up Festival is also returning. 

The festival also celebrates Ōtautahi with a range of event venues that showcase the resilient city. From the astounding spaces at Tūranga, the central library, to a riverside walk – the ever-evolving cityscape and our connection to it makes the city itself a star attraction. 

The WORD Christchurch Spring Festival will be the first major metropolitan literary festival to take place with live audiences since lockdown. WORD Christchurch is following Ministry of Health guidelines regarding alert levels and is actively monitoring the situation to ensure contingencies are in place should the levels change. 

WORD Christchurch warmly thanks its partners Christchurch City Council, Creative New Zealand and the Rata Foundation, Milford Asset Management, Freemasons New Zealand, Heartland Bank, Pegasus Health, Harcourts Gold, Latitude and Publica. WORD Christchurch also thanks its session sponsors and all the festival supporters.

A full calendar of events and details of all the featured guests is available on the website at www.wordchristchurch.co.nz