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Rock Musician Headlines Christchurch Literary Festival

Music is the Word - Rock Musician Kristen Hersh Headlines Christchurch Literary Festival

Seminal indie-rock musician Kristin Hersh is coming to New Zealand to share her music and prose at the WORD Christchurch Writers & Readers Festival, presented in association with The Press.

Hersh will join literary heavyweights such as Eleanor Catton, Ruth Reichl and Meg Wolitzer at the multi-day festival, which runs from 27—31 August. She will perform her solo show WORDS + MUSIC on 30 August at the magnificent Transitional Cathedral and will make several other appearances throughout the festival.

WORD Christchurch’s Literary Director Rachael King, herself an ex-bass player with several Flying Nun bands, has been a fan since she was 17.

“I am thrilled to bring Kristin to Christchurch to help us redefine the parameters of what a literary festival can be. I had recently read her brilliant memoir, and saw that she was actively touring overseas, promoting both her music and her book. So I sent an invitation to New Zealand and was overjoyed when she accepted.”

In 1986, Throwing Muses was the first American band signed to the legendary label 4AD, which went on to acquire the Muses’ contemporaries, the Pixies and the Breeders. Since then, Hersh has forged a solo career, beginning with 1994’s Hips and Makers, formed 50 Foot Wave, and continued to play with the Throwing Muses; their latest album, Purgatory/Paradise, is accompanied by a book of photos, essays, stories and lyrics.

Hersh’s memoir Paradoxical Undressing tells the remarkable story of a year in her life when she was 17, playing in Throwing Muses, and was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. It’s poignant, sharp, and funny, and is as gripping as any novel.

Words + Music, which will be exclusive to Christchurch audiences, is an intimate show that, in Hersh’s own words, ‘is the closest I can come to letting [the audience] step inside the bubble of a song with me’.

Hersh will be appearing in four other sessions at the festival: the international gala night on 29 August, a music memoir session, along with Australian Dave Graney, a songwriting discussion with Aldous Harding, and even an event for children, reading from her picture book Toby Snax.

She will also take the opportunity to play solo music shows in Wellington (28 August at Bodega) and Auckland (31 August at Q Theatre).

KRISTIN HERSH, WORDS + MUSIC, TRANSITIONAL CATHEDRAL, CHRISTCHURCH, Saturday 30 August 8pm. For information on ticketing and to view Kristin’s other appearances at WORD Christchurch, visit


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