Irvine Welsh and AJ Finn are coming to the WORD Christchurch Festival 2018

by The Listener / 17 July, 2018
RelatedArticlesModule - WORD Christchurch festival 2018 lineup

Irvine Welsh. Photo/Jeffrey Delannoy

This year’s WORD Christchurch Festival is boasting some big international and local names in its lineup of writers coming to the city for the biennial event.

Among a squad of prominent Scottish authors is Irvine Welsh, whose latest offering Dead Men’s Trousers is his fourth sequel to his 1993 breakthrough novel Trainspotting.

Other Scots coming to Christchurch include Shaun Bythell, who wrote last year’s hit memoir Diary of a Bookseller, Glaswegian crime writer Denise Mina, and poets Michael Pedersen, Hollie McNish and Robin Robertson.

From the United States the festival is bringing AJ Finn (the pen name of Dan Mallory), whose thriller The Woman in the Window has become a global bestseller since its release earlier this year.

Among prominent non-fiction writer guests will be US investigative journalist David Neiwert, who is the author of Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Time of Trump and whose session is presented by the Listener.

British former radical Islamist Ed Husain, whose latest The House of Islam: A Global History is just out and is interviewed in this week’s Listener, will also be appearing.

Denise Mina. Photo/Ollie Grove


As well as attending festival sessions, Philip Hoare, the English author of 2017’s The Sea Inside and Leviathan, or the Whale will accompany a whale-watching expedition in Kaikōura.

One of the festival’s themes is adventure with the programme including endurance athletes Nathan Fa’avae and John Hellemans; Hollie Woodhouse, who recently trekked across Greenland and tells her story in the closing night event Adventurous Women; and Robyn Davidson, author of the classic story Tracks, who at the age of 27 walked 2700km across Australia’s western desert with a dog and four camels for company.

Davidson will present the opening night Adventurous keynote address on August 29.

The festival’s 120 writers and speakers also include British YA author and LGBTQI+ activist Juno Dawson; American activist and poet Sonya Renee Taylor; American sci-fi writer Ted Chiang; Australian rapper-poet and novelist Omar Musa; New Zealand poets Hera Lindsay Bird and Chris Tse; satirist Tom Scott and, in a session about songwriting, his musician son Samuel Flynn Scott; comedian Michele A’Court; historian Dame Anne Salmond; and novelists Catherine Chidgey, Charlotte Grimshaw, Tina Makereti, Paula Morris, Lloyd JonesPip Adam, Annaleese Jochems and Brannavan Gnanalingam.

AJ Finn.

AJ Finn.


The Listener’s own Diana Wichtel will be talking about her award-winning Driving to Treblinka at the festival.

The event is also hosting the 2018 Ngaio Marsh Awards on Saturday September 1 with overseas guests Denise Mina and AJ Finn presenting the prizes for best local crime writing.

WORD Christchurch runs from August 29 to September 2. 

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