WORD Christchurch Festival: Black Marks on the White Page

With WORD Christchurch Festival at the forefront of my mind at the moment, having bought my tickets yesterday (and by the way the session Motherhood is selling out fast [SOLD OUT now! Ed.] I was intrigued to find an article by UK author Natasha Carthew about an idea for a Working Class Writers Festival in Britain.

On 12th July, Carthew tweeted to her 1,700 followers: “Comrades! This is a call to arms - we’ve got to get ourselves a #WorkingClassWriters Lit Fest! I’ve been doing the circuit and we’re a bit underrepresented int we?”

Carthew, who has written three books of poetry, and two YA books published by Bloomsbury, wants to ensure that publishing recognises writing from across the social spectrum.

She said: “I think it’s really important to enhance, encourage and increase representation from working class backgrounds, which can be quite underrepresented at other literary festivals. I feel we are an equally talented group of people that do not get enough exposure, young people from similar backgrounds especially need to have something to aspire to, something that is reflective of their society and writers they can relate to and look up to.”

The first thoughts that came to mind are would we have such a thing here, would we call it "Working Class", do we think of class in the same way that they do in Britain? I grew up in a home where we referred to ourselves (proudly I might add) as Working Class, but it is not something you hear much today in New Zealand.

Perhaps the closest comparison for New Zealand and the issues of inclusiveness/exclusion will be at the WORD session Black Marks on a White Page: A Roundtable...

Join contributors to last year’s superb anthology of Oceanic writing, Black Marks on the White Page,  for a roundtable discussion for Māori and Pasifika writers. Co-editor Tina Makereti, who worked on the book with Witi Ihimaera, will be joined by Victor Rodger, Nic Low, Paula Morris and Tusiata Avia to share tips on writing, and for a talanoa on the challenges and opportunities facing writers in Aotearoa and internationally.

Kōrerorero mai - Join the conversation.

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