Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Christchurch’s festival of literature and ideas — the WORD is out

Christchurch’s festival of literature and ideas — the WORD is out
The biennial WORD Christchurch Writers & Readers Festival returns to the centre of Christchurch 24-28 August with more than 100 local and international speakers taking part in over 70 events, bringing the community together through a love of words.
Featuring fiction, poetry, storytelling, free children’s events, comedy, live music, debates, discussions, performances and a few surprises, WORD Christchurch embraces the theme of 'the planet and its people’ with world-renowned environmentalist Tim Flannery; popular American young adult writer David Levithan; LA-based mortician, author and Youtube star Caitlin Doughty; New Zealand’s Poet Laureate CK Stead;  ITV science correspondent Alok Jha;  Inuit writer and activist Sheila Watt-Cloutier; Kiwi literary treasure Fiona Kidman;  Afghan-American physician and novelist Nadia Hashimi; winner of the inaugural Acorn Literary Prize at the 2016 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards, Stephen Daisley;  television comedy writer (30 Rock, The Office) Steve Hely; New Zealand young adult novelist Anna Mackenzie; poet Tusiata Avia, returning to her hometown; Canadian author and human rights advocate Tara Moss; an evening of celebration for Flying Nun records; the presentation of the 2016 Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel and much more.
WORD Christchurch literary director, Rachael King, says this year is about getting up close to stories that impact us culturally, personally and environmentally.
“WORD 2016 is a platform for ideas and discussion about the things that move and concern us, as well as the things that entertain and comfort us.
“In addition to seeing many of your favourite local authors, you’ll hear stories from refugees and indigenous writers from around the world, engaging science speakers, reflections on feminism, gender and sexuality, and a continuation of our Shifting Points of View series designed to challenge ways of thinking about issues.” 
The festival takes place in a brand new venue, The Piano, in the heart of Christchurch's future performing arts precinct, and will breathe life into the inner city.  
Fringe events will run throughout the festival at various bars and cafes around town, including a full day at Space Academy. “The fringe events are in response to feedback from younger festival audiences about the desire to see their concerns and interests reflected on the stage in an accessible way,” says King.
This year’s programme also features two days of events for primary and secondary school students.
WORD also features two of the world’s great children’s storytellers in September satellite events. Justin Cronin, whose book The Passage was a global phenomenon will appear on the 15th of that month and Andy Griffiths, who is best known for The Treehouse series will appear on the 16th.
The WORD Christchurch Writers & Readers Festival programme is launched at 5.30pm Tuesday 5 July at The Press
WORD Christchurch Writers & Readers Festival warmly thanks its major funders Christchurch City Council, Creative New Zealand, Christchurch City Council, the Rata Foundation and The Press; festival and session sponsors Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, PwC, Boffa Miskell, Duncan Cotterill, Environment Canterbury, The Royal Society of New Zealand, Kate Sylvester, Ballantynes, Antarctica New Zealand, UC Science and Harcourts Gold; our festival patrons and supporters, partners and supporting publishers. 

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