“You tell lies to get close to the truth” – Joe Bennett

'Twas a damp and misty Christchurch evening, supposedly Spring but feeling more like Winter, when a gathering of Christchurch people came to a WORD Christchurch event to hear celebrated columnist and author Joe Bennett talk about his new book - King Richopens a new window.

Despite nearly giving up partway through, Joe was persuaded by his publisher to continue the story that had begun - where else ? - at the pub.He'd written a column about the man living in the Hotel Grand Chancellor Hotel, since demolished, and the nub of the story had stayed lurking in the back of his mind. Was it an urban myth? Who knows? Does that matter?

Hotel Grand Chancellor
Views of the Hotel Grand Chancellor and surrounds. January 2012. Flickr: CCL-2012-01-12-IMG_8860-HotelGrandChancellor

It was fascinating to hear the process of how the column had grown into a novel. No, he hadn't met any red zone dwellers, hadn't felt the need too. No, the dog Friday was not a kindred spirit and could not have been a cat, but yes, the name was based on Defoe's Robinson Crusoeopens a new window.

"As the writer you are the puppeteer, but you've got to be invisible: to write yourself out it, which is very different from writing a column."

"I'm a literary bastard," he said, " I read stuff and I want to be moved by it."

"It's a book about love, that's the nub of where we live."

WORD Christchurch tweets from the event:


Cover of fish like a drink Cover of Double happiness Cover of Celebrity Cat recipes Cover of The World's your lobster Cover of Where underpants come from?

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