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Fresh New Flavour For Writers' Festival

Fresh New Flavour For Writers' Festival

Fifteen critically-acclaimed international writers from all corners of the world will gather in the Christchurch Town Hall from September 8th -10th for The Press Christchurch Writers’ Festival. This is the largest number of international writers to ever attend a South Island writers’ festival and, despite differences in culture, genre and style, there is a common thread in the themes and focus of many of these writers which gives the 2006 festival a Fresh, New Flavour.

Festival programmers, Ruth Todd and Morrin Rout, are excited by the diversity and outstanding ability of the international authors, many of whom will come to Christchurch direct from the Melbourne Readers & Writers’ Festival “We have picked up some stunning young writers who have written and are continuing to write important and ground-breaking books,” says Ruth Todd, “and the flavour of this year’s festival is definitely fiery.”

The fifteen international authors setting Christchurch alight for 3 sizzling days of sessions and events are: Australian writer, documentary-maker and winner of the prestigious BBC4 Samuel Johnsen Prize for non-fiction 2004, Anna Funder; political journalist and award-winning travel writer Christopher Kremmer; multi award-winning childrens’ writer and author of the recent best-selling, The Book Thief, Markus Zusak; Anglo-Indian writer of 5 critically-acclaimed novels, Glen Duncan; Canadian humorist, broadcaster and award-winning author, Stuart McLean; Celestine Vaite – exotic author of the sensational trilogy of Tahitian novels; acclaimed British author of more than 15 psychological thrillers, Robert Goddard; Irish poet and Professor of Physics at Trinity College Dublin, Iggy McGovern; award-winning political cartoonist for the Observer and Guardian, Chris Riddell; great-great-granddaughter of Charles Darwin and historical novelist, Emma Darwin; Korean-American poet, Ishle Yi Park, who is the current Poet Laureate of Queens, New York; and Singaporean poets, Felix Cheong, Paul Tan and Madeleine Lee.

Anna Funder has lived in both Germany and Australia and worked as an international lawyer and documentary film-maker. Her first book – Stasiland: True stories from behind the Berlin wall – tells the untold stories of ordinary people living under the Stasi (Secret Police) regime before the wall came down, and was shortlisted for 7 literary awards.

Christopher Kremmer is a Sydney-based foreign correspondent, a sought-after public speaker on terrorism, politics, religion and writing and an acclaimed writer.
His book, The Carpet Wars, has been published in 8 countries and was critically acclaimed around the world as an intriguing exploration of Afghanistan under the Taliban. His latest book, Inhaling the Mahatma, is set in India.

Markus Zusak is an award-winning Australian childrens’ writer whose work has been published world-wide. His latest work, The Book Thief, is his first adult novel. The Book Thief is set during World War II in Germany and has been described as “an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.”

Glen Duncan is fast gaining a reputation as one of Britain’s most talented and confronting young writers, acclaimed for the intensity and psychological insight of his work. His first novel, Hope was praised on both sides of the Atlantic when it was published in 1997. His latest novel, The Bloodstone Papers, will be published in June this year.

Stuart McLean hosts The Vinyl Cafe twice weekly on CBC Radio, Canada, reaching 700,000 listeners. His stories have all been bestsellers in Canada, and he has twice won the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour - for Home from the Vinyl Cafe and Vinyl Cafe Unplugged.

Celestine Vaite grew up in Tahiti and currently lives in New South Wales. Her trilogy of Tahitian novels – Breadfruit, Frangipani & Tiare – were the subject of heated international auctions in 2004. Frangipani has recently been long-listed for the 2006 Orange Prize

Iggy McGovern is a poet, performance poet and professor of physics who is interested in the science-poetry interface. He has won several literary awards for his poetry and will hold the position of Distinguished Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in La Trobe University, Melbourne, this year.

Chris Riddell is an award-winning illustrator and political cartoonist. His career as a political cartoonist began almost 20 years ago on The Economist, and after working for a number of national newspapers, he joined The Observer in 1995, for whom he draws a weekly political cartoon. Chris is a well-known for the “Edge Chronicles”, a series of fantasy novels by Paul Stewart for which he provides extraordinarily detailed and imaginative black and white illustrations. Writer Paul Stewart will also be speaking in the festival’s schools’ programme.

Robert Goddard is a Cambridge-educated and award-winning writer of more than fifteen psychological thrillers. His bestselling novel, Into the Blue, was dramatized for TV in 1997.

Emma Darwin’s first novel, The Mathematics of Love, was written for her Masters’ degree in Writing at the University of Glamorgan. She is currently working on her Ph.d and a second historical novel, and if asked will admit to being the great-great-granddaughter of Charles Darwin.

Ishle Yi Park is a Korean-American who is the Poet Laureate of Queens, New York. Her first book – The Temperature of This Water – was the winner of the PEN American Beyond Margins Award 2005. Ishle has performed at over 300 venues around the world, and the New York Times said,” Ms Park has an angelic face and the soul of a rock star.”

Three established poets from Singapore, Felix Cheong, Madeleine Lee and Paul Tan will also perform their work at the festival

Bookings for all sessions and events for The Press Christchurch Writers’ Festival 2006 will open on July 17 at Ticketek and the full programme will be available the same day. In the meantime for information about the festival, events, programme or writers, please visit our website at

These events take place with the generous support of The Christchurch Press, the Christchurch City Council, Creative Communities, Creative New Zealand, The Melbourne Readers’ & Writers’ Festival, Canterbury Foundation, the Canterbury Community Trust, The Canadian High Commission, The Southern Trust, The Lion Foundation, Antarctica New Zealand, Solid Energy, Hatchette Livre, Penguin Books, Random House, Macmillan, Allen & Unwin, Harper Collins, the NZ Book Council and The Dux De Lux.


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