My library – Rachael King

Writer and Programme Director of WORD Christchurch Rachael King talks to librarian Donna Robertson in the third issue of our magazine uncover - huraina.

What’s your earliest library memory?

When I was 12 I was sent from my home in Auckland to Hastings to board with my mother’s friends and go to school there. I visited the Hastings Library every Saturday and took out a stack of books which I would read throughout the week. I remember once that I had exceeded my limit of books I was allowed to check out so I smuggled some out! I did return though, promise.

What does the library mean to you and your whānau as readers?

We are a very book-heavy household. Because I am such a bibliophile I tend to buy the books I want to read, and when I do get library books out, I never return them on time so am forever paying overdue fines (which I’m happy to do as it supports the library). I have recently taken up horse-riding and have been getting out a lot of books on the subject. When my kids were younger we used to regularly visit the library for storytimes.

What role does the library play for you as a writer?

A crucial one! The library as always been the place I escape to when I need to write. I am particularly fond of the New Zealand collection room as it tends to be quiet and have good desk space. I use the libraries for research as well.

Share a few of your favourite things – music, movies and tv shows

I am a huge Nick Cave fan, and also have Tiny Ruins and local songstress Aldous Harding on high rotation. The best recent films I have seen were Arrival (and I immediately sought out the short story it was based on) and Nocturnal Animals. Currently my TV viewing list is: Frequency, The Affair, Nashville, Crazyhead, The Flash (with my kids), Borgen and Chewing Gum. I have just finished binging on the latest Dirk Gently series, and I am hoping another series of The Bridge will come along soon.

What do you like about Christchurch? What are you looking forward to as the rebuild continues?

It’s a very easy city to live in and to get around. It suits me and my family perfectly right now. There is just enough to do so we are never bored, but it is never crowded or overwhelming. The other night we went into town for dinner (Hachi Hachi in Hereford Street), then walked to the new gelato place Rollickin’ Gelato in New Regent Street, and finished up at the Margaret Mahy Family Playground. It was a perfect evening. I love that families are visiting the inner city.

I’m a fan of the new Scorpio Books in town, and Food Truck Fridays. I also love that I can be sitting at my desk in town and 25 minutes later sitting on a horse in the country. I couldn’t have had that in Auckland or Wellington! The WORD Christchurch office is in The Piano on Armagh St and I’m looking forward to more and more people and businesses moving back into the inner city (including the new library!).

Any hot tips on WORD Christchurch events in 2017?

Although we don’t have a full festival until 2018, we still have a lot of things going on this year! In March alone we have an event with Orphan X author Gregg Hurwitz (1 March); a live broadcast from Sydney Opera House’s All About Women festival, in partnership with Christchurch Art Gallery (5 March); and we are also co-presenting Hera Lindsay Bird and Ashleigh Young on 22 March at the Christchurch Art Gallery.

Hera Lindsay Bird and Ashleigh Young
Hera Lindsay Bird and Ashleigh Young

In May we have a spectacular Autumn Season in partnership with the Auckland Writers Festival. Expect some big international names and some fascinating subjects.

Finally, we are programming a series of events with the Christchurch Arts Festival this year, in September.

Rachael’s top books for children and young adults

I am currently judging the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, so in the spirit of that fact, here are my top children’s and young adult reads of all time (excluding current contenders obviously!):


More about Rachael

Find books by Rachael King in our collection.