Welcome to WORD Christchurch Festival 2022

Hoki mai anō, e hoa mā. Friends, welcome back. 

Here at WORD, a good day is when we fill Christchurch with the buzz of brilliant people, stories and ideas. A bad year, on the other hand, is when a pandemic bulldozes our plans. So a huge thanks to you all – audiences, patrons, partners – for standing by us to keep fostering a culture of storytelling and books in our city.

For 2022, we’re thrilled to bring you a bumper programme, combining the best of the WORD you know and love, while keeping COVID innovations, too: livestreaming for those who prefer watching from home, and an expanded lineup of international guests via our unique venue The Faraway Near.


We’re delighted to host live and lively conversations from Liane Moriarty, Kate De Goldi, Clementine Ford, Val McDermid, Whiti Hereaka, J.P. Pomare, Coco Solid, Michael Robotham, Noelle McCarthy, Sue Orr, Mohamed Hassan, Dame Fiona Kidman and Lloyd Jones.

We’re celebrating the extraordinary Keri Hulme, staging Tiny Ruins and David Mitchell’s exquisite collaboration ‘If I Were a Song and You Were a Story’, bringing Māori and Pasifika musicians and poets together for another joyous Confluence, and helping launch the landmark Out Here: An Anthology of Takatāpui and LGBTQIA+ Writers from Aotearoa. And as always, we shine a light on Ngāi Tahu people and stories.


The Faraway Near is our beautiful, intimate venue for international digital events. Grab a seat, with the night’s overseas guest seated at your table via a life-sized screen, sharing drinks and conversation. These sessions are more dinner party than hushed theatre, and were the hit of 2021’s festival.

The Faraway Near bar

2022 guests include groundbreaking sci-fi novelist Emily St John Mandel, writer and activist Rebecca Solnit, historical novelist Heather Morris (of The Tattooist of Auschwitz fame), novelist David Mitchell, Indian feminist powerhouse Annie Zaidi, New York’s unstoppable Otessa Moshfegh, US counterculture chronicler Rachel Kushner, and author of The Dictionary of Lost Words, Pip Williams.



Experience familiar places in startling new lights: take a night walk through the Red Zone with nature writer Annette Lees, or a poet’s tour of the Canterbury Museum after dark; watch Tūranga transformed into a theatre for Te Piki o Tāwhaki, and hear gifted storytellers shareing tales of their ink at Absolution Tattoo.


If you’ve been following events in Ukraine, you’ll want to catch veteran Guardian correspondent and Russia commentator Luke Harding in conversation with Guyon Espiner, and in The Faraway Near. While you’re there, hear The New Yorker’s investigative reporter Patrick Radden Keefe lay bare the US opioid crisis; Closer to home, Chris Finlayson shares with Kim Hill the riveting inside story of his time in the John Key government, while economists, essayists, novelists and more address some of 2022’s big questions: wealth, poverty, housing, climate, gentrification and mental health.


Take a workshop or masterclass, and see your own work in print: our magazine in residence, takahē, will produce a special issue live on site, which is open to submissions from you all. And for anyone under 25 Make It, Say It, Do It Now gives you tools to get your words out into the world: drop-in writing and performance workshops, hands on craft stalls, an ethical maker’s market via Conscious Club, an open mic and Rainbow Book Club.


We’re taking authors into high schools and primary schools to inspire the next generation of writers and thinkers; offering younger readers The Great WORD Story Hunt, with readings from favourite children’s authors as prizes; creating a magical night of storytelling with Te Piki o Tāwhaki, and celebrating astronomical storytelling traditions around with world with Miriama Kamo on Matariki: Stories and Stars.

We look forward to hosting you, sparking good conversations and sending you home with a new favourite writer or three. 

Kia piki te ora,


Programme Director, WORD Christchurch

Our objective: to bring the community together through their love of words in all their forms.

Contact us

Word Christchurch Festival 2022

PO Box 29 270
Christchurch 8440

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