The second Blackball Readers and Writers Festival will take place at Queen’s Birthday Weekend, running from midday Saturday 30th May to Sunday evening. Part of the transition of the Coast from extraction, the festival uses the underground mine as a model to apply to literature. This year’s theme is activists, renegades and recluses. It will take place once again in the beautiful setting of the local school.
Pat White and David Young will ‘recover’ the work of Greymouth born, Peter Hooper, poet, teacher, novelist, environmentalist and mentor to young writers. Choosing to stay and write on the Coast, he was in some ways, a tragic figure. Pat White will then read some of his own poems. After dinner, Paul Maunder’s Waiting for Greta, a remake of the theatre classic Waiting for Godot will be performed. Sunday morning, Paddy Richardson will talk with Becky Manawatu, whose first novel, Auē, dealing with ‘kids, gangs and curdled masculinity’, has been very well received. Elspeth Sandys will then speak with David Young about her extensive writing life with a focus on her last work A Communist in the Family: Searching for Rewi Alley, a story that combines family memoir, biography, history and travelogue. After lunch Paul Maunder will talk with Nicky Hager, NZ’s best known investigative Journalist, whose books have covered environmental, political and military skulduggery. How did his work begin? What is the role of the journalist-writer, what is the methodology, what are the ethical issues? The afternoon will conclude with a panel discussion of writers, their source material and their motivation, chaired by Kennedy Warne. Tim Jones, whose latest novel is a Cli-Fi book, Where we land will be joined by Kathleen Gallagher, whose recent novel Inangahua Gold is inspired by local history and environment and Sandra Arnold, whose work ranges from the description of a mother daughter relationship during a battle with cancer to her recent historical novel, The ash, the well and the bluebell which begins with the Christchurch earthquake. The festival will include with a dinner at which people can read a letter of importance in their lives, as part of the festival’s aim to resurrect the art of the letter.
Full festival: $80, including lunches and Saturday dinner.