New Regent Street Pop-up Festival


When is a festival not a festival? When it’s a festival-within-a-festival! On Friday night, follow us down the rabbit hole into the packed-out bars, cafes, shops and broom-cupboards of New Regent Street for a selection of rapid-fire readings, launches, games, interactive poetry and talks. We transform Christchurch’s most characterful laneway into a literary hive, with a dozen venues hosting back-to-back events and activities. Romance at Gin Gin? Improvised poetry at the AV club? Rapid-fire book launches at The Last Word? Sea shanties and salty rants at Wilko? All this and more, featuring over fifty local and visiting writers for your pleasure. And best of all – it’s free!

The evening will be divided into three sets, to allow you to wander between venues and enjoy the smorgasbord of literary treats. This event is one night only, so don’t miss out!

Friday 27 August 6pm – 7.30pm

Detailed set-lists coming soon!

Set 1 6pm – 6.20pm

Set 2 6.30pm – 6.50pm

Set 3 7pm – 7.30pm


The Young & the Restless

Takahē and Canterbury Poets’ Collective upstairs at Youngs Jewellers

Bring the drama! Bring the soft-focus lens! A romp across poetry and prose with a heady helping of scandal, glamour, feuds, plot twists, social climbing, and a dangerous amount of mascara. 

Hosted by John Allison.

Featuring: Joanna Preston, James Norcliffe, Frankie McMillan, David Howard, Heather McQuillan, Andi Buchanan, Anna Scaife, Chris Stewart, Jess Fiebig, Laura Tretheway, Ronnie Smart.


Ōtautahi Kaituhi

Works by Māori Writers in the windows of The Caffeine Laboratory

“We acknowledge mana whenua Ngāi Tūāhuriri and Ngāti Wheke. 

We are an open hapori for Māori Writers living in Ōtautahi interested in storytelling in all forms.


Love & Lust 

Upstairs at Gin Gin

A series of readings from romantic to raunchy, sensual to sordid. Local and visiting writers share works that will tease, tantalise and titillate, best accompanied by a stiff drink.

Hosted by Laura Borrowdale.

Featuring: Amy Blythe, Danielle O’Halloran-Thyne, Stephanie Johnston, Siobhan Tumai, Nicky Pellegrino, Emily Writes, Tracey Slaughter.


Avian Loop Pitstop

Writing Together Group at Mrs Higgins’ Cookies

Is your textual tank running low? Literary tyre-tread wearing thin? Pull in to the Avian Loop Pit Stop to refill your publication and snack needs! Avian Loop is a collectively edited publication produced by the eponymous monthly art writing group, facilitated by The Physics Room Contemporary Art Space.


Dice Roll Poetry 

Upstairs at The AV Club

The roll of the dice will dictate parameters for poems and prose written on the spot. 

Join a selection of fast-thinking, rhyme-spinning writers on their quest to create a thing of beauty (or just lols) from chaos!

Hosted by Brendon Bennetts.

Featuring: Melanie McKerchar, Andrew Todd, Nathan Joe, Briana McZant, George Fenn, Ciarán Searle, Tony Chestnut.


It’s getting hot in here 

Upstairs at Rowena Watson Jewellers

Temperatures are rising, and so are voices in cli-fi and climate change literature. A selection of authors share non-fiction, poetry, prose and speculative fiction addressing the (melting) iceberg in the room.

Hosted by Erik Kennedy.

Featuring: Sarah Maindonald, Clare Moleta, Tom Doig, Mahmah Timoteo, Laura Jean McKay.


The Dispensary

Downstairs at Twenty Seven Steps

A haiku, a limerick, a proverb or a pun – intimate short works, for your ears only. 

Line up and lean in for a unique one-on-one poetry fix.

Performed by Josiah Morgan.


Letters to Dead Authors  

Downstairs at Cafe Stir

A love note, a break up, a query, commendation or an update. 

An opportunity for living authors and storytellers to write to dead ones.

Hosted by Brindi Joy.

Featuring: AJ Fitzwater, Hana Aoake, Ross Calman, Airini Beautrais, Chessie Henry, Graci Kim and Gwynneth Porter.


Giant Fridge Magnet Poetry

Next door to The Nook

Create your own public art poem!

With special thanks to Magnets NZ


Salty Spiels 

Upstairs at Wilko

All aboard for an array of performances from portside poets and well seasoned writers. Salty rants, emotional voyages and sing-along sea shanties.

Hosted by Rebecca Nash.

Featuring: Jadwiga, Popi Newbery, Adam McGrath, Hester Ullyart, Glenn Colquhoun, Faumuina Felolini Maria Tafuna’i.



Upstairs at The Last Word

A series of quick-fire book launches – join in on toasts to and tidbits from fantastic new publications!

Starling is an online literary journal showcasing the best new poetry and prose from New Zealand writers under 25. Join us to celebrate the launch of its twelfth issue. Featuring performances by Starling alumni: Claudia Jardine, E Wen Wong, Cerys Fletcher and Amelia Kirkness.

Full of tension and psychological thrills, Cassie Hart will read from her new novel – Butcherbird – a tale about uncovering truths and unshackling guilt.

Madi Williams will touch on the history of South Polynesia during the ‘Middle Ages’; exploring themes of movement, migration and history without forcing it into a Western chronology via her recent publication Polynesia, 900-1600: An overview of the history of Aotearoa, Rekohu, and Rapa Nui.

Doc Drumheller, and Ciaran Fox present the launch of Catalyst Volume 18, featuring a reading of selected Chinese Poetry inspired during the 38th World Congress of Poets held in Guizhou Province, China, and a reading by Roger Hickin from his translations of one Nicaragua’s most beloved poets, Joaquín Pasos.


Robots Vs Classics 

Upstairs at Rollickin’ Cafe

How would Shakespeare fare if fed through grammarly? What gets lost – or gained – in a google translation of Pablo Neruda? What would Microsoft’s grammar checker do to Chekov’s prose? We’ve invited writers to sacrifice a ‘classic’ piece of writing to the algorithms and strictures of technology – join us to see what comes out the other side.

Hosted by Moata Tamaira.

Featuring: Vana Manasiadis, Jessica McLean, Kyle Mewburn, Rick Gekoski.


Wandering Words

On display at Belle

A large scale poem by arts laureate, 2021 Ockham winner, ONZM and globetrotting writer returned home: Tusiata Avia.


Poetry Bites

In the bar at Casa Publica 

A themed selection of poetry tapas to whet your appetite or snack on between shows.

Featuring works by: Melanie Kwang, Neema Singh, Glenn Colquhoun, Joaquin Pasos, Bernadette Hall, Faumuina Felolini Maria Tafuna’i, Jadwiga, Melanie McKerchar.


Green Lane Night Market

Across Gloucester St inside Cathedral Junction

Our friends at Green Lane are running a pop up night market showcasing local ethical sustainable businesses. A selection of treasures will be on offer with live music and special guests Best Books.

Contact us

Word Christchurch Festival 2023

PO Box 29 270
Christchurch 8440

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