“People always assume that because I am involved in literary events and pursuits that I am a writer, I’m not. I’m a dedicated reader and enthusiastic supporter of writers.”
How would you describe what you do?
I am largely retired now but have worked for many years organising literary events and was the co-literary director of the Christchurch Writers Festival from its inception until 2012.
I am still a trustee on the WORD Christchurch Trust Board.
I have been involved in two radio programmes on Plains FM – Women on Air which ran from 1994 until 2014 and Bookenz which started in 1994 and is still running today. I was also co-presenter/producer on Bookmarks programme on RNZ for about 8 years. I was one of the founders of the Hagley Writers Institute which I ran as director from 2008 until 2020. I am now the patron of the institute and acting as mentor for the new director. I have been a judge for the Montana Book Awards and been on the assessment panel for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards for a number of years.
What was your most recent project?
Co-ordinating the publication of the Hagley Writer’s Institute literary journal, QBD in 2020
What project have you worked on that you’re most proud of?
It’s a tie between the establishment and development of the Christchurch Writers’ Festival and the Hagley Writers Institute
What is essential for creatives to have in their lives?
Artistic, emotional and financial support for their work, recognition for their achievements and opportunities to communicate about what they do and why they do it.
What inspires you about Ōtautahi?
What piece of advice about your creative work has served you well?
Probably not advice given to me but something I have learned over the years is that no experience is useless – you never know when something you have done, however futile it may seem, can be of use.
What’s the biggest misconception about your creative work?
People always assume that because I am involved in literary events and pursuits that I am a writer, I’m not. I’m a dedicated reader and enthusiastic supporter of writers.
What Christchurch artists do you most admire?
Frankie McMillan, Bernadette Hall, Carl Nixon, Gavin Bishop, Margaret Mahy, Glenn Busch, Cheryl Lucas, Nicola Shanley, Marie le Lievre, Bill Hammond, Delaney Davidson, and Marlon Williams
What artwork has taken your breath away?
Most of the exhibitions at The National
What do you wish you’d known about creative work when you were younger?
That I could participate without being a practitioner – being a broadcaster, event organiser, director of a creative writing programme has allowed me to support, encourage and promote NZ writers and literature.
What’s your favourite hidden secret in Ōtautahi?
Whakaraupo and the beaches of Banks Peninsula – naming would mean that the hidden secret was out.