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The festival go-round

Back from the archives of England and cemeteries of France, the ideal might have been some concentrated time to focus on the new novel. Instead I went into a hectic round of festivals and events that has at times felt non-stop.

Two days after arriving in NZ (back to back long-hauls: why would you?) I was back on a plane heading for Christchurch's WORD Writers and Readers Festival. Diving in at the deep end I did my first Pecha Kucha a few hours after arriving (and what an experience it was: crazy, funky format; I might be a convert).

After a day bingeing on author chat, I shared a session with NZ authors Jane Higgins, Ted Dawe and Rachel Craw followed by a fantastic panel on writing war stories with 2016 Ockham winner Stephen Daisley and multi award winning David Hill. The three day event offered great opportunities to catch up with old friends and to meet some new writers from the fantastic line-up - well done festival organisers!

Mid September I taught a workshop on writing historic fiction at the inaugural National Writers' Forum in Auckland, and joined Kate Pullinger and Stephen Daisley for a live editing session - and what a fantastic, inspiring, energising weekend it was. For a taste, read the wonderful Chris Cleave's superb keynote address.

Early October saw another round of festivalling at the Harcourts Hawke's Bay Festival. My session on WWI Voices was at the MTG rather than in the Spiegeltent, so that I could make the most of my images on the giant screen - and they did look amazing. I took the opportunity to attend a range of events in the festival, notably Under Milk Wood (Guy Masterson offering a rendition every bit as compelling as that by Richard Burton which enraptured me decades ago) and No Holds Bard by Michael Hurst.

And the fun is far from over: I'm off to Wellington tomorrow for a panel at our capital's central library, in support of the travelling 'What Lies Beneath' exhibition, on ANZAC war stories, Evie included, and soon after I'll be winging off to Hamilton for the annual Waikato Children's Literature Association seminar, where I'll be speaking alongside Bob Kerr and David Hill. Hope to see you somewhere along the way!

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