WORD Christchurch is pleased to announce the appointment of Nic Low as Programme Co-Director


Nic Low is a Ngāi Tahu author and arts organiser, originally from Christchurch, who has recently returned home after close to two decades in Melbourne. He will be sharing the role of curating this year’s WORD Christchurch Festival (25 – 29 August) with Rachael King – who will devote more time to her own writing in 2021 – and will oversee a programme of digital events.

Nic brings a wealth of relevant experience to the role. He has co-directed Australia’s National Young Writers Festival, sat on the Melbourne Writers Festival programming committee, and in 2020 was a judge for both the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards and the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. He also ran the University of Melbourne’s International Writing Programme at the Asialink institute, organising tours, collaborations and publications across the Asia region.

Nic is known for original events: he created Bookwallah, a roving writers festival which toured India and Australia by train; and was the founder of CRACK, Australia’s live performance festival, which grew out of a project to hire theatre troupes to infiltrate and creatively sabotage existing events at the iconic This Is Not Art festival.

The WORD Christchurch Spring festival in 2020 featured an all New Zealand line-up to great success, and this focusis set to be repeated in 2021. Nic says, “Compared to the rest of the world, we’re in the unique position of being able to run a live festival, with all the buzz that comes from sharing stories kanohi ki te kanohi: face-to-face.”

“So the plan is to build the festival around our best and brightest talent here on the ground, and then provide global context through a game-changing programme of hybrid live + digital events to include the overseas writers we know and love. I’m also focussed te reo Māori, oral storytelling, and events that speak to our southern landscapes. I can’t wait to get stuck into the programming with Rachael and [Executive Director] Marianne [Hargreaves].”

“Australia’s loss is our gain,” says Rachael. “I am so excited to be sharing the responsibility of programming WORD festivals and events equally with Nic. He brings a bulging notebook of brilliant ideas, connections and a knowledge of te ao Māori, which will all add a fresh perspective to our ever-evolving festival.”

    WORD Christchurch Festival: 25 – 29 August 2021


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