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Going West Books and Writers Festival 2008

Going West Books and Writers Festival 2008

‘The Word Around Us’ Literary Weekend Programme


The Curnow reader

Karlo Mila is this year’s Curnow reader. Her first book Dream Fish Floating, won the Best First Book of Poetry at the 2006 Montana Book Awards. A Well Written Body, her most recent collection, features the paintings of artist Delicia Sampero, creating a dialogue that weaves together images in both print and paint. Her reading explores aspects of this multidimensional conversation – travelling from urban Aotearoa to Tonga and Samoa and back again.

Keynote address:

In trouble with the truth

“Lately that little word ‘fact’ has acquired an aura of uncertainty both in literature and in life. We’re finding ourselves more and more in trouble with the truth.” Chris Price is currently Auckland University Writer in Residence at the Michael King Writers’ Centre, and author of award-winning poetry collection Husk and Brief Lives, a work of creative non-fiction. She shares her observations on the slipperiness of truth and whether writers owe it any allegiance.

Experience the performance power of nine Pasifika poets. This dynamic one-hour show tells stories of the Pacific diaspora – relocated here in Niu Sila. From humour to humility, tribute to challenge – their poems range across an undulating cultural landscape, always seeking to break new ground while preserving the old. Starring Selina Tusitala Marsh, Tusiata Avia, Karlo Mila, Serie Barford, Kath Hayward Nathan, Daren Kamali, Mua Strickson-Pua, Tim Page and Doug Poole.


Warming up – a hot topic
The climate change debate has moved from the margins to the mainstream. We’re suddenly inundated with green pages and eco columns – you can even buy a stylish green mag in the supermarket. So, who’s doing the writing? And what do they hope to achieve? Join optimists Francesca Price, editor of Good magazine – New Zealand’s Guide to Sustainable Living, Gareth Renowden, author of Hot Topic, Global Warming and the Future of New Zealand and Niki Harré, co-editor of Carbon Neutral by 2020, to discuss how sustainable living might just lead to a brighter future and a more meaningful life.

China downunder – New Zealand Chinese writing
As recently as 2003 historian James Ng wrote, “The representations of Chinese New Zealanders in New Zealand literature will be peripheral, until Chinese New Zealanders tell their own stories.” Now a growing body of work is illuminating the experience of these New Zealanders and ushering them in from the periphery. Poet and novelist Alison Wong, performance poet Renee Liang and novelist Mo Zhi Hong talk with journalist Gilbert Wong about the state of the craft here, and how much culture, obligation and expectation affects their writing.

Phone home, Wellington
“When you think of me (and think of me often) please think of my vapour novels,” wrote Nigel Cox months before he died, of the books he still planned to write. Nigel was just hitting his straps as a writer when he died of cancer in 2006. In a tribute to Nigel, close friend and publisher Fergus Barrowman talks about his experiences publishing Nigel's books. His wife Susanna Andrew will read selections from his work, with reviewer David Larsen as chair. We’ll also be screening excerpts of a conversation between Nigel and writer Damian Wilkins

Off stage
Dame Ngaio Marsh was an acclaimed theatrical director and dramatist. Off stage she was one of the “Queens of Golden Age detective fiction” alongside Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers. And her private life is every bit as thrilling as her fiction. Her biographer Joanne Drayton (art historian and author of biographies on Frances Hodgkins and Edith Collier) is in conversation with another highly regarded theatrical practitioner, Simon Prast, to discuss this remarkable woman's life and work.

Mau moko – mark of life
“Mau Moko is about the future, just as it is about the past … it is an engraving on the Maori body, of history and commitment …” Ngahuia Te Awekotuku and a team from Waikato University have assembled Mau Moko, a magnificent illustrated history of the process and tradition of Maori tattoo. After almost dying out in the twentieth century it is experiencing a revival. The book also celebrates this resurgence – interweaving the stories and images of today’s artists and wearers with those of the past. Ngahuia shares the story of the quest to create this important taonga and what was discovered along the way. Mau Moko won the Lifestyle and Contemporary Culture category at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards 2008.

*An exhibition of contemporary photographs by award-winning photographer Becky Nunes, commissioned especially for Mau Moko, will be exhibited at the festival venue over the course of the weekend.

Inhabiting a fictional world
Creative NZ Michael King Fellow; NZ Society of Authors President of Honour; Katherine Mansfield Fellow; OBE for services to literature are a few of Dame Fiona Kidman’s accolades. Throughout her long career Fiona has been a constant advocate for literature in this country. But our writers haven’t always been so well supported. Fiona’s journey to literary eminence was nurtured in broadcasting in the 1960s. For many young writers this was one of the few outlets for creative writing available. She talks with writer and broadcaster Karyn Hay of those heady days, and her memoir At the End of Darwin Road.

Curmudgeon, noun: Churlish or miserly fellow. (OCED)
The recent TV series The Big Picture brought the finely tuned mind of Hamish Keith to national attention once more – focusing this time on New Zealand art history – one of his many passions. These passions and his immensely varied life are displayed for all to read in his witty and revealing memoir Native Wit. He remains, however, a self-described 'cultural curmudgeon'. Bob Harvey, writer and occasional political curmudgeon, will join Hamish in a ‘full and frank’ conversation.

Homegrown – documenting our popular music
John Dix's pioneering work Stranded in Paradise paved the way for books on the wider popular culture of rock music in Aotearoa. More recently Nick Bollinger taught us How to Listen to Pop Music and this year Gareth Shute’s NZ Rock 1987-2007 hit the shelves. John, Nick and Gareth get together with professional musos Kim Willoughby (When the Cat’s Away) and Ian Morris (Th’ Dudes, DD Smash and Tex Pistol), to compare notes on our music scene. Nick will take the chair.

Stay with us for live music from Stingray, a West Coast style blues band featuring outstanding harmonica player Brian Glamuzina and bassist John Thompson, originally with the renowned Willie Dayson Blues Band. They play with legendary American lap steel guitarist Glenn Ross Campbell and Brett Neilsen on drums.


The word around us
In keeping with Going West’s celebration of 'the word around us' Dianne Bardsley, lexicographer and director at the New Zealand Dictionary Centre, turns a spotlight on the ever-changing world of words and their cultural reflectivity. Dianne’s joined by artist and fellow word enthusiast John Reynolds. His new book Certain Words Drawn examines his recent work including the extraordinary text-based CLOUD (a centrepiece of the Sydney Bienale ‘06) that draws on 7,072 entries from Orsman’s Dictionary of New Zealand English.

“Sweet, sour, comic, cosmic …”
Janet Charman read to us at Going West last year. This year her sixth collection Cold Snack, won the winner of the poetry category at the Montana Book Awards 2008. We’re delighted to welcome her back to read at the festival again.

The night kitchen
“Right now the only time I am able to write is when it’s late and the children are in bed,” blogged poet Karlo Mila from her night kitchen. Sarah Laing, author of short story collection Coming Up Roses, often writes as the sun rises, before her boys wake. It’s amazing what’s being whipped up in the kitchen while the children sleep. Sarah and Karlo discuss how parenting informs, constrains, challenges and inspires their writing practice with David Larsen, himself fitting reviewing and writing around home schooling his kids.

Poetry off the page
Poets and lecturers Michele Leggott and Helen Sword consider the nature of poetry when it flies from the page. Exploring the relationship between “the solid material world and the shifty realm of cyberspace” they present poetry that braids together the performative, archival
and digital. This session will challenge your concept of poetry, get
your adrenalin racing and maybe even set you on a new journey as a poet …

An unlikely love story
Laurence Fearnley has been quietly establishing herself as a major writer of fiction for some years. Author of six novels, her latest Edwin and Matilda, an unlikely love story, has been short listed for the Montana Book Awards 2008. An Artists to Antarctica fellowship lead to her previous novel Degrees of Separation and last year Laurence held the Robert Burns Fellowship at the University of Otago. She talks with her publisher Geoff Walker, of Penguin Books, about her novels and writing life.

Inside Peryerland
“Peryer has constructed a world – call it Peryerland,” writes arts commentator Peter Simpson in the new book Peter Peryer: Photographer. “Only the best photographers are capable of such a feat.” Peter Peryer, one of New Zealand’s leading contemporary photographers, talks with Peter Simpson, author of the book’s introduction, about taking pictures and the quirky topography of Peryerland.

Images of dignity
Barry Barclay MNZM, filmmaker, writer and advocate for indigenous filmmaking died unexpectedly early this year. He directed the groundbreaking documentary series Tangata Whenua, and was the first Maori to direct a feature length film, the award-winning Ngati.
His filmmaking is the subject of new book, Images of Dignity by Stuart Murray. Long-time friend Peter Hawes, his sister and archivist in his last years Pauline Burgwin and musical collaborator Stephen McCurdy, remember and honour Barry and the “extraordinary adventure” that was his life.

Cock and bull
Award-winning journalist, author and born-again birder, Steve Braunias reads from his recent books Selected Columns and Roosters I Have Known, reminding us why he has become one of our most talked about, and sometimes unpredictable, writers.

From distant villages – a Croatian celebration
The first settler from the Dalmatian region of Croatia arrived here 150 years ago, and soon after the word ‘Dallie’ entered our lingo. A lifetime in the research and writing Stephen Jelicich’s From Distant Villages documents the many personal stories behind the early Croatian immigration to these shores. Going West celebrates the publication of his important book and the contribution that Croatian immigrants and their descendants have made to Kiwi life. Nina Nola (lecturer on multicultural literature) leads an hour of storytelling, readings and traditional song with an eclectic line up of ‘Dallies’.

* The bar will open at the end of this session. Please join us for traditional Croatian fare, with wine from local Dallie winemakers and Going West sponsor Artisan.


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