Catton early drawcard for writers' festival

18:39, May 21 2014
Eleanor Catton getting her investiture
BUSY YEAR: Eleanor Catton was awarded the honour for services to literature.

Kiwi novelist Eleanor Catton will speak in Christchurch as part of the city’s biennial writers’ festival. 

The Man Booker prize-winning writer will talk to local audiences as part of the five-day WORD Christchurch Writers and Readers Festival in August.

Catton earned global acclaim for her book The Luminaries, an 832-page novel set in Hokitika’s 1860s gold rush heyday. Her appearance at the Christchurch festival follows a 2100-seat sell-out session at the Auckland Writers Festival this month.

Literary director Rachael King said she was  really excited to have Catton join the Christchurch festival.

‘‘She’s been to all these other festivals around the country. We realised that Christchurch audiences were probably feeling like they were missing out a wee bit, so we thought we’d announce it now and put people out of their misery.’’

King expected Catton’s event at the Transitional Cathedral would sell out fast.

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‘‘I think what Eleanor is doing is getting people excited about New Zealand authors. We’re hoping that will carry over to people being more interested in New Zealand books and books in general.’’

The festival, held in association with The Press, was formerly known as the Christchurch Writers Festival, but had been given a new name, look and leadership for this year’s events. 

King said the name change was to reflect that the festival was about more than ‘‘just books’’ and to avoid confusion with other events in places like Auckland and Wellington.

The Christchurch festival would be held at various venues across the city from August 27 to 31, and would include blogging, journalism, songwriting, poetry and ‘‘basically anything that involves words’’. 

About 15 international and 50 New Zealand writers had been confirmed so far and more lineup announcements would be made next month.

The full programme would be announced on July 11, when bookings opened.

Visit chchwritersfest.co.nz/ for more information.

The Press