Word Christchurch

It would have been great to write about Word Christchurch while it was still fresh in my mind but I had a busy week. After a full weekend away I had a lot to catch up on, plus I had a bit of a cold, then I met someone wonderful, and I had work, and other work, and life in general. So here is my post on Word Christchurch a week later.

My motivator for attending Word Christchurch was to see Caitlin Doughty who, through her web series Ask a Mortician, changed the way I view death. I made an idiot of myself when I met her (as you do when you meet someone you admire) but she was great about it. The sold out Ask a Mortician could have been better if they’d just given Caitlin the floor. The speakers at the Embracing Death session shared a pro choice (if I can borrow the abortion term) stance on the option of assisted dying. I had expected some debate but was pleasantly surprised.

The finalists for the  Ngaio Marsh crime writing awards gave us little glimpses into their works. It’s an experience to hear a story from the mouth of the writer. The Great Divide (between intellectualism and pop culture) didn’t impress but I went into it with the mindset that it would be about pretentious writers – one did actually use that word to identify himself. My favourite session was The Nerd Degree. Two ladies (one of them Caitlin) faced off against two men and completely trounced them. The men sadly embodied the socially awkward nerds whereas the women were articulate. I won’t spoil it any further as the pod cast is coming out soon. Several people came away from the festival with a crush on Ivan Coyote; I wish I had attended one of their talks.

Sunday morning I interviewed former National Librarian Penny Carnaby (completely unrelated to the festival). She is an amazing individual. The topics ranged from politics, her work at the National Library and life advice (apparently I should go towards the things I’m afraid of – I have been doing a lot of that lately).

Christchurch is a beautiful city I am so grateful to have visited. There was beauty in the ruins. If I had a job, friends, or family there I’d move. I went for wander to get a feel for the city and do research for my current book. It’s given me a lot of ideas so I can get back to writing.

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