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Explore the legacy of WWI writing with literary experts

11 August 2014

Explore the legacy of World War One writing with literary experts

The New Zealand Book Council, with support from Victoria University of Wellington, will explore the legacy of WWI literature in the World War One Book Club. This is an opportunity to hear experts and enthusiasts discuss and dissect favourite writings on the war – from poetry to fiction, diaries to graphic novels.

World War One fervour is spreading in New Zealand as the hundred year anniversary is marked, causing everything from traffic congestion to a rash of poppy lapel badges. But among the history, the geography and the hagiography, what is the place for the literature of the Great War?

Kate Camp, Harry Ricketts, Jane Stafford and special guests will present three Tuesday evening panel events about World War One literature at the City Gallery Wellington.

‘War literature is a genre that appeals equally to men and women, young and old, pacifists and war nerds,’ says panellist Kate Camp. ‘The World War One Book Club is a chance to discover or revisit some of the great works from this ever-popular genre.’

The World War One Book Club discussion starts early on the New Zealand Book Council’s online readers’ hub with reading lists for the events, book recommendations, features and debate:

Event 1: World War One book club – The war poets

Tuesday 26 August, 6pm, at City Gallery Wellington (free admission)

With Kate Camp, Harry Ricketts, Jane Stafford and guest Dave Armstrong
A lively discussion exploring the power and appeal of the war poets. Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen and their contemporaries began as radical debunkers, but have they become comfortable clichés of war?

Event 2: World War One book club – Dispatches from the front
Tuesday 2 September, 6pm, at City Gallery Wellington (free admission)

With Kate Camp, Harry Ricketts, Jane Stafford and guest Kate Hunter
A freewheeling look at literature from the front lines, including All Quiet on the Western Front, Testament of Youth, and We Shall Not Cease. What makes the accounts of soldiers, nurses and pacifists more than mere diaries? And how did a German novel become the most influential account of fighting in World War One?

Event 3: World War One book club – Great books about the Great War
Tuesday 9 September, 6pm, at City Gallery Wellington (free admission)
With Kate Camp, Harry Ricketts, Jane Stafford and guest Matt Elliott
In recent years World War One has been the subject of graphic novels, children’s books, film and theatre, as well as bestselling novels like Pat Barker’s Regeneration trilogy and Sebastian Faulks’
Birdsong. The panel discusses personal favourites, and considers the enduring appeal of the Great War for great writers.

Visit to suggest questions and add to the reading list.

The World War One Book Club is proudly presented by the New Zealand Book Council with support from Victoria University of Wellington, and is hosted by City Gallery Wellington in association with their exhibition Chris Marker, Owls at Noon Prelude: The Hollow Men.

Kate Camp is a poet and broadcaster.
Harry Ricketts is a poet and biographer. His latest publication is How We Remember: New Zealanders and the First World War (Victoria University Press 2014).
Jane Stafford is a professor in the English programme at Victoria University of Wellington.
Dave Armstrong is a playwright and columnist for the Dominion Post.
Kate Hunter is Associate Professor in the School of History, Philosophy, Political Science & International Relations at Victoria University of Wellington.
Matt Elliott is an historian and biographer, and the author of the graphic novel Nice Day for a War: Adventures of a Kiwi Soldier in World War I (HarperCollins NZ, 2011).

For further information about the World War One Book Club please visit and


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