Monday, July 23, 2012

Christchurch Writers Festival: Fatal Attraction?

Taking a wee breather from all the Harrogate-related activity, and looking ahead to what's coming up back home in New Zealand, the programme for the 2012 The Press Christchurch Writers Festival has now been released, and it's great to see a handful of crime fiction-related events in the line-up. As many of you know, the 2010 Christchurch Writers Festival was cancelled because of the September earthquake, so it's great to see it return after a four-year absence. Venues in the city are still limited, so the organisers have done a terrific job to bring together the smorgasboard of events that are on offer this year.

I'll highlight all of the crime writing related events at a later time (including the big event where the 2012 Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel will be presented), but for now I thought I'd let you know about the crime fiction panel that I will be chairing at the festival. Here's the official blurb:

According to W.H. Auden, detective stories – and thrillers, he would surely have added – have nothing to do with works of art. And as blogger Dorothy James has pointed out, Dan Kavanagh, Julian Barnes’ crime writing alter ago, would never be shortlisted for, let alone win, the Man Booker Prize. So why are these literary distinctions made, between crime and thrillers, and so-called ‘literary fiction’? Are books that turn on a mystery, even when brilliantly written, victims of their genre? Is Julian Barnes right to say that life is not a detective story? Acclaimed crime writers Michael Robotham and Ben Sanders, and Julian Novitz, whose new novel revolves around a murder and a mystery, talk about the attraction of evil and the perils of genre fiction.

Christchurch-born Julian Novitz won the Bank of New Zealand Katherine Mansfield Award for short fiction in 2008, and held the Buddle Findlay Sargeson Fellowship in 2009. His absorbing new novel, Little Sister, is about absent fathers, identity and motivation.

Australian Michael Robotham spent 14 years as an international journalist before becoming a ghostwriter in 1993. His first novel, The Suspect, was chosen as only the fifth International Book of the Month. His second, Lost, won the Ned Kelly Award in 2005; Shatter did the same in 2008. Say You’re Sorry was published this year.

Ben Sanders has been a keen writer since his early teens and his debut novel, The Fallen, was published to high acclaim in 2010, as was By Any Means, which appeared in 2011 and spent some weeks on the bestseller list. His next novel, Only the Dead, will be published in November.

Chair: Crime fiction enthusiast and blogger Craig Sisterson is the deputy editor of NZ Lawyer and the organiser of the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel.

Saturday, 1 September 2012 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM $16/14
Geo Dome, Hagley Park, North Hagley Park Events Village

Book here.

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