WORD Christchurch Festival, and events

WORD Christchurch

WORD Christchurch's mission is to bring the community together through its love of words in all their forms. WORD Christchurch presents a variety of literary events, from a festival – the largest literary event in the South Island – to one-off events with visiting and local authors. WORD Christchurch Festival 2024 will be on from Tuesday 27 August to Sunday 1 September.


Trent Dalton: Lola in the Mirror

A Night with Trent Dalton: WORD Christchurch

Jemimah reports on a Literary event to remember with the iconic Australian author Trent Dalton at the stunning Christchurch Art Gallery.

Australian writer Trent Dalton’s dazzling coming-of-age debut Boy Swallows Universe captured the hearts and minds of readers worldwide ... He joins The Spinoff’s Alex Casey to discuss his writing, life, and bighearted new novel Lola in the Mirror.
WORD Christchurch event in partnership with Christchurch Art Gallery – Te Puna o Waiwhetū, Auckland Writers Festival and HarperCollins New Zealand.

Sinéad Gleeson: Islands, Art & Identity


Sinéad Gleeson: Islands, Art & Identity: WORD Christchurch

Eamonn reports back on an evening with Irish writer Sinèad Gleeson and WORD Christchurch Programme Director Kiran Dass.

Monday 13 May 6pm to 7pm
Tautoru TSB Space, Tūranga

Bestselling Irish author Sinéad Gleeson’s new novel Hagstone is a beautifully written and hauntingly atmospheric look at human nature, the mysteries of faith and the magic of the natural world. On a wild and remote island, artist Nell takes her inspiration from the rugged landscape and folklore. The mysterious Inions are a commune of women who have established themselves on the island for a sense of safety and solace in nature. The sea is steady for now. The land readies itself. What can be done with the women on the cliff?

Gleeson is also the author of the stunning essay collection Constellations: Reflections of Life, the editor of The Art of the Glimpse: 100 Irish Short Stories, and co-edited This Woman’s Work: Essays on Music with Kim Gordon. She joins WORD Christchurch’s Programme Director Kiran Dass in conversation.

In partnership with Auckland Writers Festival, Verb Wellington, and HarperCollins New Zealand.


What We Talk About When We Talk About Irish Literature

Monday 13 May, Tūranga will play host to Irish editor, essayist and now novelist Sinéad Gleeson, thanks to WORD Christchurch.

Richard Ford gets Frank - WORD Christchurch

Emily reports back on Richard Ford in conversation with Liz Grant - WORD Christchurch's first event of 2024.


Ngaio Marsh Awards and Crime Quiz Night

Kiwi Quiz Night and the Ngaio Marsh Awards 2023: Yeah Noir

Fee reports back from the annual awards ceremony for New Zealand crime writing, held at Tūranga.

Ngaio Marsh Awards

Local Histories, Local Stories

Wednesday 22 November 6pm to 7pm, Tautoru / TSB Space, Tūranga

Stevan Eldred-Grigg and Peter Graham are key storytellers who are preserving vital Canterbury historical narratives. Both have a fascination for when local Canterbury stories become histories, some more fictional than others. Join us for what will be a compelling conversation exploring some beguiling historical narratives, including the infamous Parker/Hulme case and the Timaru Poisonings. In discussion with Te Maire Tau (Ngāi Tahu).

Find books by authors

Eleanor Catton

Birnam Wood: Eleanor Catton comes to Burnside

Fee reports back from the recent WORD Christchurch event, Eleanor Catton in Conversation.

Ben Macintyre

Colditz and More: Spies & Espionage: Ben Macintyre Live

Ky report back on WORD Christchurch's first event of the year - the audience was spellbound by tales of World War Two derring-do

WORD Christchurch information

WORD Christchurch photos

Images from the WORD Christchurch Writers and Readers Festival, and events.
AJ Fitzwater and Karen Healey: World-building at the bottom of the world

2022 events

WORD Christchurch Festival 2022

WORD - Ōtautahi's own literary festival - is on from Wednesday 31 August to Sunday 4 September. Explore featured writers & festival info.

Photos of WORD Christchurch Festival 2022

Photos of WORD Christchurch events in 2022, including the programme launch at Tūranga.

Freedom, Only Freedom - Behrouz Boochani returns to WORD

Clare reports on an event with Kurdish Iranian writer, journalist, cultural advocate and filmmaker Behrouz Boochani.

Vinyl, Art & Community: Needles and Plastic - WORD Chch

Fee reports back from the launch of Needles and Plastic: Flying Nun Records, 1981-1988 in Lyttelton.

Chris Parker at The Piano: A good time for everyone

Jane reports back from the good time that was WORD Christchurch's event with comedian Chris Parker, and Jason Gunn.

Freedom, Only Freedom: Behrouz Boochani: WORD Christchurch

Writer, journalist & filmmaker Behrouz Boochani is a familiar figure to many in Ōtautahi, having made the city his first home in Aotearoa.

Needles & Plastic : Flying Nun Records, 1981-1988: WORD Chch

Wednesday 16 November at Lyttelton Coffee Company, Kiran Dass talks to Matthew Goody, at the Christchurch launch of Needles and Plastic.

Chris Parker is here for a good time - WORD Chch Weds 16 Nov

Chris Parker is Here for a good time, and so is Jane. Chris hails from Christchurch & she vaguely knows his aunty.

Flying Nun, Behrouz Boochani, & Chris Parker: WORD Chch

Flying Nun, Behrouz Boochani, & Chris Parker - Our friends at WORD have you sorted for a trio of literary events Weds 16 November.

WORD Christchurch Festival coverage

WORD Christchurch Festival 2022

WORD - Ōtautahi's own literary festival - is on from Wednesday 31 August to Sunday 4 September. Explore featured writers & festival info.

WORD Christchurch Festival 2021

Take a look back at WORD Christchurch Festival 2021. It was on from Wednesday 10 to Saturday 13 November 2021.

WORD Christchurch Spring Festival 2020

The WORD Christchurch Spring Festival was a feast of words and ideas. It's all over for 2020, but catch up on our coverage of events.

2019 Events

WORD Christchurch 2019

Shifting points of view - 18 August to 14 September 2019

Visit our page on Shifting points of view.

WORD Christchurch Autumn Season 2019

Read our posts on the WORD Christchurch Autumn Season. Wednesday 8 May to Saturday 25 May 2019.
WORD Christchurch poster

WORD Christchurch Festival 2018

Posts and reports on festival events for 2018

2018 Events

Lee Child Friday 23 November 7pm

Kaveh Akbar Tuesday 6 November 6.30pm
WORD Christchurch staff


Ian Rankin

WORD Christchurch Writers and Readers Festival 2016

The Stars are on fire gala

Jane Smiley - May 2016

Anis Mojgani - March 2016

Shifting points of view – 30 August and 7 September 2015

Shifting points of view was a bumper crop of sessions from top writers and commentators. It was WORD Christchurch's part of the Christchurch Arts Festival and warmed the cockles of enquiring minds. Read our coverage:

Crowd for Imaginary Cities panel


Earlier festivals and events

Our page on literary festivals and events.

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