This year we embrace an adventurous theme, with writers who take risks in their work and in their lives, and we begin some new traditions: a featured country (Scotland), a featured classic (Moby-Dick) and a guest programmer. Tusiata Avia, one of the country’s best poets and performers, has enriched our programme with her creative curatorial choices, and we are grateful to continue our programming partnership with Ngāi Tahu. We also focus particularly on women’s lives in light of 125 years of women’s suffrage in New Zealand. Finally, we challenge you, our audience, to be adventurous in your decisions about what you see and who you listen to. Take the plunge, be brave – be adventurous. You won’t be sorry.

Download a PDF of the 2018 WORD Christchurch Festival Programme

Children & Family

Inspiring Writers Secondary Schools Day

Thursday 30 August 9:45 am

Once again, we’re offering the most incredible speakers to Christchurch secondary schools, absolutely free of charge.

Free Entry

New Regent Street Pop-Up Festival

Thursday 30 August 6:00 pm

A fun-filled, fast-paced literary tour around the characterful spaces of New Regent Street and surrounds

Free Entry

Kā Huru Manu: My names are the treasured cloak which adorns the land

Friday 31 August 10:00 am

Takerei Norton (Ngāi Tahu) and others from the Ngāi Tahu cultural mapping team talk about the Ngāi Tahu atlas.


Documentary: The Hunt for Moby-Dick

Friday 31 August 12:30 pm

Acclaimed writer Philip Hoare confronts our fascination with one of the most mysterious animals in the ocean, the whale.


Fast Burning Women

Friday 31 August 1:00 pm

Tusiata Avia talks to Selina Tusitala Marsh about her life, her poetry and how women, under pressure, may burn bright but not out.

Free Entry

Embracing Te Reo

Sunday 2 September 10:00 am

Hēmi Kelly, Miriama Kamo, Paulette Tamati-Elliffe

Children & Family

The Stolen Stars of Matariki

Sunday 2 September 11:45 am

Miriama Kamo reads from her book

Free Entry


Sunday 2 September 11:30 am

Young adult writers Juno Dawson, Whiti Hereaka, Yaba Badoe read from their work in this free event, introduced by Paula Morris.

Children & Family

Gavin Bishop: Aotearoa

Sunday 2 September 12:30 pm

Gavin Bishop, talks about defining moments of history in illustration

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