The Press Christchurch Writers’ Festival
I have just realised that in a month from now the Christchurch Writers’ Festival will all be over! The festival is a much anticipated biennial event where people come from far and wide to meet and listen to an array of international and New Zealand writers.
This year’s programme is focused around non-fiction, with writers such as Jake Adelstein of Tokyo Vice fame and Clive Hamilton with his latest work Requiem for a Species being just two of the writers featured. Women on Air and Plains 96.9 FM, the station where I do my interviews, are also sponsoring a session on where women are at in the 21st century (I imagine the responses could well depend on which part of the world one lives in) with Emily Maguire and Marilyn Waring, titled “Your Skirt’s Too Short: Women in the 21st Century.”
Actually, given the seriousness of the women’s rights issues around the world, from the risk of being stoned to death in some regions, to trafficking of girls and women in a global sex slavery trade, to the fact that even in the most “equal” western countries women are consistently paid significantly less than men for the same work (isn’t the average wage gap between men and women doing the same job around 20% here in NZ?) one has to ask whether a title like “Your Skirt’s Too Short” doesn’t seriously trivialise the topic—but maybe that’s the point?
OK, off the soapbox and back to the festival—where the programme’s tide isn’t entirely out for fiction. Barbara Trapido, author of Sex and Stravinsky, is probably the main international ficiton writer on the programme, but we also have local authors Rachael King—her latest is Magpie Hall—and Alison Wong, whose debut novel, As the Earth Turns Silver is a finalist for this year’s NZ Post Book Award for Fiction.
And I am appearing in the “Hot Off the Press” event on 10 September, where I’ll be reading from my new novel, The Heir of Night (The Wall of Night Series, Book One). I’ll be sharing the podium with Karen Healey from Australia, author of Guardian of the Dead; another Christchurch-based author, Karen Zelas, with Past Perfect, a novel set between contemporary NZ and the 1840s, and between Akaroa and France; and Craig Cliff with his first collection of short stories (A Man Melting.)
But fiction or non fiction, poetry or prose, the Christchurch Writers’ Festival will be on for just four days from September 9-12—and then it will all be over for another two years. So if you’re able to be in Christchurch for those days, grab yourself a programme or go to the website and book yourself into some events. And if you happen to make it to Hot Off the Press do make yourself known to me afterward!