Billed as ‘a small-town festival with big ideas’, Kyogle Writers Festival is shaping up to be a great celebration of writing.
The theme for the inaugural festival is ‘Country’. It will take place in the NSW Northern Rivers town of Kyogle, on the traditional lands of the Bundjalung and Gidhabal peoples, between 14 and 16 May.
Over forty writers are participating (including novelists, short-story writers, poets, non-fiction writers, local historians and song writers).
The festival programme includes conversations with authors, panel discussions on topics such as Indigenous writing (anchored by Daniel Browning, host of RN’s Awaye! Indigenous arts and culture programme), writing in a time of climate change, and poetry readings.
Integral to the Festival is an array of workshops that will enable writers at all stages of their careers to hone their craft.
Workshops cover writing young adult fiction, narrative pod-casting, song-writing, writing children’s stories as well as writing for the media.
Local writer and poet, Katinka Smit, will run a workshop on writing local history. ‘The best historical writing imagines what it was like for those who lived then; it is the day to day lives of the past that fascinate most,’ said Ms Smit.
Other authors at the festival include acclaimed Aboriginal writer of Goori and European heritage, Melissa Lucashenko, whose novel, Too Much Lip, earned her the Miles Franklin Award for literature in 2019; Stuart Rees, human rights activist and founder of the Sydney Peace Foundation, who will be discussing his latest book, Cruelty or Humanity: Challenges, Opportunities and Responsibilities.
Former ABC journalist (7.30; Foreign Correspondent), Scott Bevan, will be reflecting on the set of three non-fiction books he has written while kayaking on the Hunter River (The Hunter), Sydney Harbour (The Harbour) and Lake Macquarie (The Lake).
Paul Shields, one of the festival organisers, said ‘Writers’ festivals expand horizons, stimulate thinking and engage people in ideas they may not have really considered before.
‘We hope the festival becomes a sustainable annual addition to Kyogle’s event calendar, helping to contribute to the town’s cultural landscape while at the same time showcasing this extraordinary area to visitors.’
Organisers say the tickets have been kept deliberately affordable. They can be purchased via the Festival’s website, www.kyoglewritersfestival.com.
The full program, and information about each of the authors, is also available on the website.