Further to my post yesterday about the threat to the 2010 The Press Christchurch Writer's Festival following the property and infrastructure devastation visited on Christchurch by the 7.1 magnitude earthquake on Saturday, I am sorry to say that this morning the Festival has been officially cancelled.
Initially there was some hope that it could still go ahead, but following the severe aftershocks overnight (there have been more than 100 aftershocks in total, with several in the range of 5+ on the Richter scale), combined with all the other factors and considerations, the Board of the Festival has made what must have been a very tough decision.
My thoughts go out to all of those involved who have put so much work into the planning and preparation for what would no doubt have been a truly outstanding event.
From a crime fiction perspective, this of course means that the inaugural Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel will not be presented on Friday as scheduled. However, watch this space, and hopefully I will have some news for you in the coming days about what we will now do re: the presentation of the Award. Hopefully we can do something that can benefit Christchurch and its residents.
Also, keep checking in at Crime Watch for news about some other alternative events that may be popping up, with funds raised going to the Christchurch Earthquake relief. At least one of the international authors who was going to attend the Festival will now be appearing at a replacement event in another New Zealand city this week - more to come on that this afternoon.