Chch Writers' Festival: Top five moments

by WILL HARVIE - The Press -  03/09/2012

The Christchurch Writers' Festival has wrapped and it's time pick my favourite moments. I caught parts or all of 12 sessions, so can't claim this is list is exhaustive.

joe bennett book fest
1. Joe Bennett: A full hour of Joe on the subject matter of his new book, Double Happiness: How Bullshit Works. Funny, trenchant and pitiless, Joe destroyed advertising, marketing, politicians and how ''we'' won medals at the Olympics. Buy this book.

2. Joanne Harris: I caught both her sessions and she gave her audiences polished and funny insights into the writing and publishing worlds. See this anecdote by way of example. Now reconsidering my previous decision to skip her books.

3. Chris Turney: One of those rare academics who is both a top scientist and a skilled communicator. His latest book, 1912: The Year The World Discovered Antarctica, is a timely reminder that Scott and Amundsen and other ''heroic era'' Antarctic visitors were scientists as much as explorers.

4. Neil Cross: Wins the 2012 Ngaio Marsh Award (for NZ crime fiction) for Luther: The Calling. I missed the Great NZ Crime Debate on Saturday night in favour of a date with my wife, but I've read the Luther book and interviewed Cross. Excellent book, top bloke. Fans of the Luther TV series should be advised that the book is set prior to events in the show and will be new material for them.

5. The Geo-Dome: It's draughty, acoustically disastrous and features porta-toilets, but the Geo-Dome is a star for simply existing in venue-starved Christchurch. Thanks City Council. Full marks, too, for book fest organisers Marianne Hargreaves, Morrin Rout and Ruth Todd, who excelled (again).
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