Are you a writer? Here are the amazing hands-on events and workshops WORD has created for you in 2021.

July 15, 2021

Over the years we’ve learned that many of you, our beloved audiences, are writers yourselves. Whether you write secretly for pleasure, or have published several books, or have plans to write in the future, this year’s festival features a range of exciting events designed to give you new inspiration and new skills. Here’s what we have in store:


If you’re looking for specific help with your novel, poetry, memoir or short fiction, we have some of Aotearoa’s finest wordsmiths lined up to teach you their craft.

There’s a long and powerful association between writing and walking, one that poet Vana Manasiadas has embraced with her special event, Peripatos in Pūtaringamotu. More than a poetry workshop, it’s an engagement with local ecosystems and sense of place that’s bound to spark new ideas.

Also for the poets, the incredible Karlo Mila offers a hands-on workshop designed to get you writing beautiful new work, drawing upon personal experience, memory and landscape.

For journalists, long-form non-fiction writers, and anyone interested in the function of modern investigative journalism, Nicky Hager’s masterclass Turning Over Stones is not to be missed. There’s also Alison Wong’s Memoir Workshop for anyone considering writing and publishing your own life story; Anna Rogers’ Editing Your Own Work(shop) (SOLD OUT) designed to teach you essential skills in shaping your own drafts for publication; and Stephanie Johnson’s The Doctor Will See You Now, aimed at all of you with novel projects on the go who might be in need of advice, discussion, suggestions and support. And for those of you short story writers: apologies. Tracey Slaughter’s Taken Places workshop has already sold out!

Finally, a very special wānanga for Māori and Pasifika writers and storytellers will be hosted at Te Runanga o Ngāi Tahu, with speakers including Patricia Grace.

We look forward to seeing a whole lot of new work come out of this festival from budding writers and those with more years under their belt – there’s something for everyone.



Interested in the craft of writing, but not quite ready to commit to a full workshop? Our How-to-write series is for you. In these sessions authors discuss their new books, but they also offer tips and tricks of craft and advice on how they achieved their vision. Sessions include:

How to Write a Killer Plot with experienced crime writer Paul Cleave and newcomer Jacqueline Bublitz; How to Write for Younger Readers with dynamic trio Kyle Mewburn, Graci Kim and Shilo Kino; and How to Write a Poem explores a range of perspectives on just what makes for effective verse, with top poets Karlo Mila, Kate Camp and Tayi Tibble.

Bring your notebooks and get ready to scribble down tips!


If you’re a writer, or secretly want to be one, but would rather die than admit it in public, then this is for you. Kiwis are notoriously bad at owning their ambitions, but now’s your chance: Three Minutes of Fame lets you step on stage at the James Hay Theatre to read your work, and tell the world what writing means to you — without an audience in the room!

Book a slot and get the full festival author experience, from green room nerves to rapturous (pre-recorded) applause to post-show glow. Let your words be heard!


Have you ever wanted to get your work published, but not known where to start? Who are the mysterious people who make the decisions? Do they sit in boardrooms using rejected manuscripts to light their cigars? How does it all work? Now’s your chance to find out.

For 2021, takahē is WORD Christchurch Festival’s Magazine in Residence. They’re setting up shop in the foyer at Tūranga, and producing an issue from start-to-finish during the festival. Submissions are invited from our workshop programme, and from visiting writers, including you!

takahē is an Ōtautahi-based magazine of fiction, poetry, art, review, and essay, since 1989. Drop in to visit their dynamic editorial team and special guests in the Tūranga foyer each day between 12pm and 4pm to submit your work (poetry and short fiction up to 1000 words), and find out what goes on behind the scenes at a literary magazine. See them editing and laying out the limited-edition zine, hand-printing the covers on a vintage press, and launching the finished product with readings and toasts on Sunday afternoon. You can also email your work to

Get booking and get writing!


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