Navigation for Writers and Readers Festivals

Sessions recorded at Writers and Readers Festivals in New Zealand

Bad Dads in Meltdown

Chaired by Festival co-director Peter Wells, this lively session includes extensive reading by three very different authors whose autobiographical work provides different perspectives on growing up with fathers who behaved abusively and damagingly towards their families. Intriguingly, the theme of post-colonial experience is common to The Wah-Wah Diaries by Richard E Grant, Heartland by Neil Cross, and Deep Beyond the Reef by Owen Scott.

Demon Seed and Damaged Babies

Nightmare childhoods and damaged lives are laid bare in the very different work of Lionel Shriver, author of the award-winning 'We Need to Talk About Kevin'; and Paul Broks, whose study of neuropsychology 'Into the Silent Land' was a surprise bestseller. Despite their different approaches to storytelling, both writers find a lot of common territory, in a conversation moderated by psychiatrist Dr Jan Reeves.

The Art of Translation

The international publishing scene depends on translation, as it opens books to new markets and audiences. Three writers who have an intimate knowledge of translation consider the complexities and challenges of the process, which at its best involves a high level of collaboration between translator and author. The panel features the award-winning Andreï Makine, born in the USSR, but now based in France, Linda Olsson from Sweden and France's Pierre Furlan, who has translated both Elizabeth Knox and Alan Duff into French. Local translator Jean Anderson is in the chair.

Writing about Visual Art

Linda Tyler chairs a wide-ranging session in which Hamish Keith, NewZealand's most senior writer on art, Justin Paton, one of the most lucid of our younger generation of critics and curators, and Matthew Collings, a leading artist and critic from the UK, consider the practice of their craft. From the paintings and writings of Colin McCahon to the media coverage of the Cool Britannia generation, this conversation provides fresh insight into what makes good (and bad) art description, commentary and criticism.

Non-fiction in New Zealand

A panel discussion tracing the extraordinary growth in popularity of locally-produced non-fiction. Two publishers (Peter Dowling from Reed, and Mary Varnham from Awa Press) and an expert in creative non-fiction (Harry Ricketts) map out the salient features of this rapidly-unfolding literary territory. Graeme Hunt is in the chair.

Travel Writing

"Haven't they got anything better to do?" is the ironic subtitle of this encounter between a group of very different travel writers. Travel stories from the USA are recounted by Jo and Gareth Morgan ('Backblocks America'); bicycling in South America in Eleanor Meecham's 'Llamas & Empanadas'; and travelling in Tibet in Ian Robinson's alarmingly-titled 'You Must Die Once'. TV cameraman Geoff Mackley chases bad weather all over the world in 'Extreme Danger' and Pico Iyer reflects on the relationship between travel and globalisation in 'Sun after Dark'. Graham Reid controls this international traffic in a busy and entertaining session.