It’s been quite a year. While our international festival in August was cancelled due to COVID-19, we pivoted quickly to turn the challenge into an opportunity to exclusively celebrate the writers who make Aotearoa and Ōtautahi (Christchurch) their home. What we found was a wealth of talent that has filled our Spring Festival programme to bursting, enabling us to once again present a world-class event. This year has a focus on the community of Ōtautahi, with over 40% of the programme being offered free to attend, as well as plenty of glittering events to satiate the appetite for literature, ideas and entertainment. We welcome poet and comedian Ray Shipley as guest programmer, who says, ‘In everything I write and perform, I feel like I’m walking a careful line between being serious and identity-focused, and being playful and silly – I’ve definitely fallen on the latter side here!’ Check out their events Bedtime Stories for Anxious Adults, Stand Up Poetry: A Quiz Show, and a special edition of Ray Shipley’s Late Night Poetry Hour.
We offer a huge thank you to all our funders, patrons, partners, supporters, volunteers and audience members. Executive Director Marianne Hargreaves and I extend our gratitude to the WORD board of trustees, who have shown exemplary leadership through a crisis, and to our staff. Enjoy the festival!
Rachael King, Programme Director