My national radio debut

I was thrilled but also terrified to be invited to speak in the book critic slot on Jesse Mulligan's programme on Radio NZ National. It was my first time speaking live on national radio and, although I was horribly nervous, once I got going I relaxed and started enjoying myself. Here I am speaking about copyright in the digital age - one of my hobby horses. Frankly they're lucky to have shut me up after only a quarter of an hour.

Book review: Home: New Writing edited by Thom Conroy

Book review: Home: New Writing edited by Thom Conroy

Editor Thom Conroy begins this anthology, Home: New Writing, by noting in his introduction that "home" has been in the news a lot lately: "From… news of New Zealanders living in their cars, to the crashing of the Canadian immigration site following the US election".

Book review: Frantumaglia - A Writer's Journey by Elena Ferrante

Book review: Frantumaglia - A Writer's Journey by Elena Ferrante

Ferrante’s new book about writing is a journey through the fragments of experience. 

Two big things happened while I was reading this book: the US elections and the Kaikoura earthquakes. They bashed my reading sideways. Suddenly, everything – even an esoteric ­discussion about the nature of literature, translated from Italian – was about politics and disaster.

WORD: Work / Sex, with Kate Holden, Leigh Hopkinson, Jodi Sh. Doff and Julie Hill

WORD: Work / Sex, with Kate Holden, Leigh Hopkinson, Jodi Sh. Doff and Julie Hill

Review of Work / Sex, with Kate Holden, Leigh Hopkinson, Jodi Sh. Doff and Julie Hill, from WORD Christchurch, 2016

If Ivan E. Coyote did one of the best things a literary festival can do – broke my heart and then put it back together again made better – this session did another: forced me to examine my own unconscious bias and realise I was wrong.

WORD: Ask a Mortician: Caitlin Doughty interviewed by Marcus Elliott

WORD: Ask a Mortician: Caitlin Doughty interviewed by Marcus Elliott

Review of Marcus Elliott's interview with mortician and author Caitlin Doughty at WORD Christchurch, 2016

Death is an odd thing to be chipper about. LA-based mortician, ‘death positive’ advocate and YouTube star Caitlin Doughty is definitely chipper, though: she has that extreme chirpiness that I’m going to assume is compulsory for anyone living in Los Angeles.

WORD: Speaking Out – Tara Moss interviewed by Joanna Norris

WORD: Speaking Out – Tara Moss interviewed by Joanna Norris

Review of Joanna Norris' interview with Tara Moss at WORD Christchurch 2016

At the 2050 session yesterday about climate chaos, panellists spoke about the danger of going from denial to despair. I was thinking about that a lot as I watched author and feminist activist Tara Moss give a presentation on sexism in the media, politics and society. 

Strangely Human: Michel Faber at #AWF16

Strangely Human: Michel Faber at #AWF16

For me, literary festivals are a massive intellectual high. I like to pour myself into them and demand stimulation. They fizz me up; I start bouncing around, talking very quickly, and gesticulating as energetically as I can (given that I am usually holding a bag, a laptop, a coffee and several books). I arrived at the Strangely Human session in a state of high excitement, keen to hear Paula Morris interview Michel Faber. And then something happened.