Andy Griffiths & Terry Denton: The 104-Storey Treehouse
Sunday, 22 July, 2pm
SOLD OUT SORRY! Andy Griffiths, author of the Treehouse books, is back, and this time he’s brought his pal, illustrator Terry Denton!
Andy and Terry will present outrageous tales from the new book in the series, The 104-Storey Treehouse. With Terry drawing LIVE illustrations, this is a magical event for the whole family. The show will be followed by a chance for children to meet Andy and Terry, and books will be on sale from the University Bookshop team. This event will sell out quickly. Don’t miss out! Read more
Past event: Robert Webb: How Not To Be A Boy
Tuesday 15 May, 7:30pm-8:45pm (plus book signing)
WORD Christchurch, in association with Auckland Writers Festival, is proud to present the star of 'Peep Show' and 'Mitchell & Webb' live in conversation, where he will explore the relationships that made him who he is as a man, the lessons we learn as sons and daughters, and the understanding that sometimes you aren’t the Luke Skywalker of your life - you’re actually Darth Vader. Read more
Past Event: Jeff Kinney: Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Wednesday, 2 May, 6pm-7pm (plus book signing)
Look out kids! 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' is coming to Christchurch. WORD Christchurch and Penguin Books NZ are over the moon to announce this very special event with international megastar author Jeff Kinney, the creator of the 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' series. Jeff will appear live on stage to share stories about the twelve books in the series, including his latest bestseller, 'The Getaway', which sees Greg Heffley and his family escaping to a tropical island where disaster awaits! Read more
WORD Christchurch Festival 2018
The next festival will be held 29 August -- 2 September at The Piano, Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu, the Isaac Theatre Royal and other venues around Christchurch. We are currently putting together an exciting programme of international and New Zealand speakers that will knock your socks off. WATCH THIS SPACE!! Read more
Past Event: Francis Spufford: On Golden Hill
Wednesday, 7 March, 7pm
Join us for a special evening with Francis Spufford, one of Britain’s most diverse and acclaimed authors, of whom the New Yorker said, ‘intellectually he resembles a many-armed Hindu deity, able to pluck fruit and butterflies from anywhere on earth’s most robust tall trees’. Read more
Past Event: Harry Giles: Doer of Things
13 March, 7.30-9pm
We are thrilled to welcome, fresh from the Writers & Readers at the New Zealand Festival, Scotland's Harry Giles: performer, poet, and ‘general doer of things’, who says ‘I make art about protest and protest about art and write about anything… my work generally happens in the crunchy places where performance and politics get muddled up.’ Expect the unexpected in an evening of poetry and other adventures from this theatre- and game-maker, whose one-to-one show What We Owe was listed in the Guardian’s Best of the Edinburgh Fringe, and whose work defies categorisation. Read more
Past Event: Moustaches, Whiskers and Beards
Sunday, 11 February, 3pm
If, like us, you have an appetite for the curious and odd, then don’t miss this free talk to be held in association with the Christchurch Art Gallery.
We are pleased to welcome Lucinda Hawksley, award-winning British author, art historian and travel writer, with a special interest in literature and art from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. She also happens to be the great-great-great granddaughter of one Charles Dickens. Read more
Past Event: An Evening with Nigella Lawson
7pm, Thursday, 8 February, 2018
We are thrilled to announce a very special event on 8 February with the talented and eloquent Nigella Lawson, culinary star and television personality.
Nigella is a champion of the home cook and her new book At My Table celebrates the food she loves to cook for friends and family. The recipes are warming, comforting, and inspirational, from new riffs on classic dishes to adventures in a host of new dishes and ingredients. Join Nigella for an intimate conversation about food and life, followed by your chance to meet her and have a book signed. Read more
Past Event: The Wonderful World of Walliams
10 December, 5.30-6.30pm plus book signing
It’s with great excitement that we announce global bestselling children’s author David Walliams is coming to Christchurch this December with his dazzling new novel, Bad Dad (publishing 6 November)!
Published by HarperCollins for almost a decade, David Walliams is a global phenomenon in the world of children’s literature. His ability to wow fans is unprecedented, with international sales exceeding 20 million copies and books translated into 53 languages. His next classic-in-the-making Bad Dad is a fast and furious, heart-warming story that will have readers on the edge of their seats, roaring with laughter and holding back the tears. Join us as we welcome David Walliams LIVE and in conversation with a very special host at Christchurch Boys' High School on 10 December. You can expect lots of laughter and fun, as well as an exclusive extract of Bad Dad, read by the wonderful Walliams himself! Read more
Past Event: Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race
Tuesday, 5 September, 6pm, 2017
When award-winning British journalist Reni Eddo-Lodge wrote a blog post about the way discussions of racism were being led by those not affected by it, her words hit a nerve. Galvanised, she dug into the source of her feelings and kept writing. The result was Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race. We invite you to come and listen as Eddo-Lodge discusses, with playwright Victor Rodger, issues such as eradicated black history, whitewashed feminism, and the inextricable link between class and race, while offering a framework to see, acknowledge and counter racism. Read more
Past Event: Depends What You Mean By Extremist
Sunday, 10 September, 1pm, 2017
No one turns up where they’re not wanted quite like John Safran, Australian satirist and maker of provocative and hilarious documentary series such as John Safran vs God.
In Safran’s latest book, Depends What You Mean by Extremist, he embeds himself in the world of Australia’s diverse community of white nationalists, ISIS supporters, anarchists and more, digging away at the contradictions that many would prefer be left unexamined. Just what is going on in Australia to create such a hotbed of radicalism, and could such extremism happen over here? John Safran is joined by Te Radar for an entertaining and thought-provoking discussion. Read more
Past event: Peter Garrett: Big Blue Sky
Sunday, 10 September, 3pm
In between Midnight Oil’s two New Zealand concerts, the band’s charismatic frontman Peter Garrett makes a special appearance to talk about his creative and political life, as outlined in his recent memoir Big Blue Sky. From his early interest in equality and justice to fronting iconic Australian band Midnight Oil; from his time as a galvanising activist for the environment to being a minister in two Labor governments, this passionate and energetic Australian has an extraordinary story to tell. Read more
Past Event: AUTUMN SEASON in association with Auckland Writers Festival
WORD Christchurch has teamed up with the Auckland Writers Festival to bring six top quality international writers to our city in May.
The Autumn Season, which runs from 14 to 17 May, features: bestselling Scottish crime novelist Ian Rankin, creator of the Rebus series; Booker prize-winning Irish novelist Anne Enright; highly-respected British historian and biographer A. N. Wilson, author of The Victorians; science writer James Gleick exploring the mysteries of time travel; and novelist Stella Duffy, who is currently completing Ngaio Marsh’s unfinished novel Money in the Morgue. WORD Christchurch is also thrilled to welcome back the hit of the 2016 festival, Canadian storyteller Ivan Coyote. Read more
Past Event: Ian Rankin: Writing Rebus
6pm, Sunday, 14 May 2017
30 years since he brought the detective to life, Ian Rankin is back with another Rebus mystery, Rather Be the Devil, a tale of twisted power, deep-rooted corruption and bitter rivalries.
‘I had no idea when I published Knots and Crosses in 1987 that Rebus would still be sharing his adventures – and misadventures – with me,’ says Rankin, whose crime novels have gained global acclaim and made him an international bestseller. We are thrilled to bring one of the world’s most popular and well-respected crime writers to our city to talk about his work and passions with Christchurch coroner Marcus Elliott. Read more
Past Event: Stella Duffy: In Dame Ngaio’s Footsteps
5.30pm, Monday, 15 May, 2017
Stella Duffy has the great distinction of being asked to complete Dame Ngaio Marsh's unfinished novel Money in the Morgue, and she is well qualified for the task. New Zealand-raised, London-based Duffy has distinguished herself as a writer of crime fiction, with two Crime Writers' Association Dagger awards under her belt, and of historical and literary fiction. Like Marsh, she is also immersed in the theatrical world. As the co-director of Fun Palaces, she was recently awarded an OBE for Services to the Arts. Duffy will talk with writer and editor Liz Grant about her latest books — crime novel The Hidden Room and historical novel London Lies Beneath – as well her creative life and her pursuit of one of the original Queens of Crime, Dame Ngaio Marsh. Read more
Past Event: A. N. Wilson: Bringing History to Life
7.30pm, Monday 15 May, 2017
A. N. Wilson is one of the most respected historians and biographers of our time. The author of such seminal historical works as The Victorians, and of biographies of some of our greatest (and most notorious) literary and historical figures, including Queen Victoria (recently dramatised in the new television series Victoria), Leo Tolstoy, Iris Murdoch, Jesus and Adolf Hitler, Wilson has also found time to write more than 20 works of fiction. Wilson will discuss his latest books, the novel Resolution: a novel of the boy who sailed with Captain Cook, and a biography of Queen Elizabeth II, and talk about his impressive craft and career, with arts commentator Christopher Moore. Read more
Past Event: James Gleick: Time Travel
6pm, Tuesday 16 May, 2017
If you have a lifelong fascination with time travel, or even just a passing curiosity about it, this event is for you.
James Gleick, leading science communicator and author of Time Travel: A History, gives a mind-bending exploration of this fascinating subject: its subversive origins, its evolution in literature and science, and its influence on our understanding of time itself. From H.G. Wells to Doctor Who, from pulp fiction to modern physics, Gleick will explore as many facets of time travel as possible in just one hour. Bring your burning questions. Read more
Past Event: An Evening with Ivan Coyote
8pm, Tuesday 16 May, 2017
The hit of the 2016 WORD Christchurch Festival is back!
Ivan Coyote, author of books such as One in Every Crowd, Gender Failure and the new Tomboy Survival Guide, which deals with ‘new infatuations and old baggage, and life as a gender-box-defying adult’, will entertain and move you with stories of family, love, growing up in Canada’s Yukon and surviving and thriving as a tomboy. Experience the ‘Coyote one-two’, which will leave you laughing and crying in the space of one story. Coyote dazzled sold-out audiences last August; now is your chance to see and hear this extraordinary writer and storyteller again or for the first time. Read more
Past Event: Anne Enright: Beyond The Green Road
6pm, Wednesday 17 May, 2017
We are delighted to close the Autumn Season with one of the most electrifying novelists writing in English today.
Anne Enright, who won the Booker Prize in 2007 for The Gathering, writes about Irish families with great lyricism and black humour. In 2015 she became the inaugural Laureate for Irish Fiction, a three-year appointment. Her latest novel, The Green Road (longlisted for the 2016 Man Booker), set in a small town on Ireland's Atlantic coast and spanning 30 years, is a tale of family and fracture, compassion and selfishness – a shattering exploration of the gaps in the human heart and how we strive to fill them. Read more
Past Event: BIRD + YOUNG
Wednesday, 22 March, 6pm
Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu and WORD Christchurch are pleased to present two of the most talked-about writers in the country: Hera Lindsay Bird and Ashleigh Young. Celebrating World Poetry Day, come and hear Bird, who Steve Braunias called ‘like the most exciting newish poet in New Zealand’ in The Spinoff, and Young, who Grant Smithies, writing in the Sunday Star-Times, declared should be ‘carried through the streets of Wellington in a sedan chair, borne aloft by adoring disciples’. Both writers will read from their work and discuss poetry, essay-writing, editing, and life. Read more
Past Event: Orphan X: Gregg Hurwitz in conversation
Wednesday, 1 March, 7pm
An evening not to be missed by crime and thriller fans!
In partnership with Penguin Random House New Zealand, WORD Christchurch is pleased to present Gregg Hurwitz, the New York Times bestselling author of Orphan X and its sequel The Nowhere Man. Come and hear how this Shakespeare-tragedy scholar, crime-novel and comic-book author has now successfully created a compelling, authentic and savvy modern-day action hero. Gregg will be interviewed by local crime reviewer Ken Strongman, followed by an audience Q & A and book signing, with books available to purchase on the night. Read more
Past Event: ALL ABOUT WOMEN SATELLITE EVENT
Sunday, 5 March, 12pm for a 12.30 start.
Sydney Opera House, WORD Christchurch and Christchurch Art Gallery present ALL ABOUT WOMEN, live-streamed to Christchurch! Once again, we are bringing an afternoon of smart feminist talk to Christchurch, with not one but three sessions from Sydney Opera House’s fantastic All About Women festival beaming straight into the Christchurch Art Gallery, with plenty of chances to mingle and discuss the exciting ideas of the day. Featuring Geena Davis, Jessa Crispin, Yassmin Abdel-Magied, Van Badham and Lindy West Read more
Past event: Reading Poetry Around the World: STEPHEN BURT & FERGUS BARROWMAN
Thursday 26 January, 6pm (refreshments from 5.30pm)
2017 is calling!
Stay tuned for exciting announcements for our 2017 events, including our May Autumn Season, in partnership with the Auckland Writers Festival, and events in September as part of the Christchurch Arts Festival. Don't forget to sign up for our newsletter so you can hear the news first! Read more
Become a Supporter
WORD Christchurch is a charitable trust that presents the South Island’s largest international festival of literature and ideas, and we need your help.
Our objective: to bring the community together through their love of words in all their forms. Join the family by becoming a Patron or Supporter and help to bring the best writers and speakers to Christchurch, from around New Zealand and the world, to inform, entertain and inspire adults and children alike. We rely on support to keep ticket prices down and meet the costs associated with running a vibrant and essential festival. Read more
Past Event: An Evening with Jane Smiley
Monday, 9 May 2016, 7.30pm
Don’t miss this very special event, presented in partnership with the Auckland Writers Festival.
Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Jane Smiley is the author of numerous adult and YA novels such as A Thousand Acres, Moo and Horse Heaven, as well as five works of non-fiction including 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel. Her latest book, Golden Age, is the final installment of the multi-generational Last Hundred Years trilogy set in 20th century America. Jane will appear in conversation with Morrin Rout. Read more
Past Event: ANIS MOJGANI RETURNS
17 & 19 March, 2016
We are delighted to welcome back Anis Mojgani and his ‘fiercely hopeful word arias’ in March 2016.
Anis surprised and enthralled audiences at the 2014 WORD Christchurch Writers & Readers Festival, gathering followers throughout the festival, selling out his final performance and all of his books. Now you have another chance to catch him. Read more
Missed out on one of our events? We have a feature on our website: PODCASTS. We record some of the best of WORD Christchurch events, so you can revisit them if you were lucky enough to see them, or hear them for the first time if you weren't. Read more
Paul Cleave wins the Ngaio Marsh Award
Paul Cleave became the Crown Prince of antipodean crime writing when his thriller Five Minutes Alone was awarded the 2015 Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel on 4 October.
Paul Cleave, an internationally bestselling author, made history when his “gritty and thoroughly absorbing” novel that “evokes complex feelings about retribution and morality” was revealed as the winner before a packed hometown crowd at The Court Theatre. Read more
Past Event: An Evening with Geraldine Brooks
Wednesday, 18 November 2015, 7.30pm
WORD Christchurch and Bookenz, in association with Hachette NZ, are proud to present an evening with Pulitzer prize-winning writer Geraldine Brooks, in conversation with Morrin Rout.
With more than two million copies of her novels sold, Australian-American author and journalist Geraldine Brooks has achieved both popular and critical acclaim. She has worked for the Wall Street Journal, where she covered crises in the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. In 2006 she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for her novel March, which imagines the life of the patriarch of Louisa May Alcott’s beloved classic Little Women, who leaves behind his family to aid the Union cause in the Civil War. Read more
Murder in the Court
4 October 2015, 5pm
The Ngaio Marsh Award, in association with WORD Christchurch and The Press, is pleased to announce that whodunit and who-won-it will be revealed at an entertaining event at The Court Theatre on 4 October.
The Court Jesters will improvise a murder mystery on the spot and read tantalising excerpts from the finalists’ books, before announcing the winner. Who will take out this prestigious national award? Five Minutes Alone, Paul Cleave The Petticoat Men, Barbara Ewing Swimming in the Dark, Paddy Richardson The Children's Pond, Tina Shaw Fallout, Paul Thomas Read more
An Evening with Joe Bennett
Thursday 24 September, 7.30pm (Bar opens 7pm)
Join one of Christchurch’s favourite writers, Joe Bennett, for a drink and an evening of story as he talks about his first novel, inspired by the rumour of a man living in a condemned luxury hotel in the red zone after the earthquakes of 2011.
King Rich is the haunting story of intertwined lives, set amid the devastation of post-quake Christchurch. Richard hides with a dog in the abandoned hotel. Annie returns from England as news of the disaster brings childhood memories flooding back. Vince relives the love of his life. King Rich is the work of a superb writer at the top of his game. Read more
Naomi Klein: Festival of Dangerous Ideas
CAPITALISM AND THE CLIMATE: Is capitalism now at war with our planet?
Tune in for a live broadcast from our partners at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas, 1.30pm New Zealand time, on Saturday 5 September. Read more
Crimes of Passion
Monday, 7 September 2015, 8pm
We are very excited to welcome highly acclaimed UK author Sarah Waters.
Her six historical novels are page-turning and highly inventive, known for their wit and explosive twists. Many have been made into top quality drama series for television, such as Fingersmith, Tipping the Velvet and The Night Watch. Waters’ novels have been shortlisted for the Man Booker and the Orange/Bailey’s Prize numerous times. Read more
On Effective Altruism
Monday, 7 September 2015, 6pm
How can we do the most good?
Peter Singer, often described as the world’s most influential living philosopher, presents a challenging new movement in the search for an ethical life. Effective altruism requires a rigorously unsentimental view of charitable giving, urging that a substantial proportion of our money or time should be donated to the organisations that will do the most good with those resources, rather than to those that tug the heartstrings. Read more
Sunday, 30 August 2015, 6pm
Jesse Bering argues that we are all sexual deviants on one level or another.
He challenges us to move beyond our attitudes towards ‘deviant' sex and consider the alternative: what would happen if we rise above our fears and revulsions and accept our true natures? WARNING: Adult themes. Obviously. Read more
On North Korea: Inventing the Truth
Sunday, 30 August 2015, 4pm
Suki Kim is the only writer to ever go undercover into North Korea to write a book from the inside.
A glimpse inside the mysterious closed-off world of North Korea, a country where a military dictatorship exploits the myth of a Great Leader to its own citizens, who are “imprisoned in a gulag posing as a nation”, Kim’s extraordinary memoir of her time going undercover to teach English to the sons of North Korea’s ruling class, Without You, There is No Us, a New York Times bestseller, was written at great personal risk. Chaired by Paula Morris. Read more
The Struggle for Sovereignty
Sunday 30 August, 2pm
In the era of public choice and free markets, and when widespread public protest against global treaties such as the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement is having little effect, does the New Zealand state still have the best interests of its individual citizens at heart?
Margaret Wilson argues that the shift to a neo-liberal public policy framework has profoundly affected the country’s sovereignty and that New Zealanders must continue to engage in the struggle to retain it for the sake of individual and community wellbeing. Introduced by Bronwyn Hayward. Read more
Sunday, 30 August 2015, 12pm
Taking the Christchurch blueprint as a starting point, this panel will look at ways in which we imagine cities, either in fiction, in history, or in contemporary life
whether as utopias or dystopias, cities imagined or reimagined. Read more
Sunday, 30 August 2015, 10am
Patrica Grace and Paula Morris in conversation
In her first novel in a decade, treasured writer Patricia Grace explores issues that permeate New Zealand history and society: racial intolerance, cross-cultural conflicts and the universal desire to belong. Spanning several decades and set against the backdrop of a changing New Zealand, Chappy is a story of enduring love Read more
Shifting Points of View
30 August & 7 September
In a world of reality TV shows and light entertainment, where issues are reduced to convenient soundbites, WORD Christchurch,
in association with Christchurch Arts Festival, is proud to provide a platform for relevant, in-depth, stimulating — and yes, also entertaining — discussion. Read more
David Mitchell: Über-novelist
Sunday 17 May, 6pm