Bellingen Readers & Writers Festival 2015

is happening again on the Queens Birthday long weekend

Thursday 4th June to Monday 8th June 2015

Welcome to the Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival 2015 – taking place on and around the Queen’s Birthday weekend, 4-7 June. In 2013 the festival theme was ‘Women’s Writing’ and this year it’s ‘Politics and Society’. On Saturday and Sunday 6 and 7 June a range of celebrated fiction, non-fiction, poets and young adult writers will explore the theme in magical and unexpected ways.

This year’s guests include former NSW Premier and Foreign Minister Bob Carr and ex-politician Rob Oakeshott who (along with Tony Windsor) allowed former Prime Minister Gillard to govern after the 2010 ‘hung parliament’ election.

Multiple Walkley award-winning journalists David Marr and Paul Daley will discuss their role as journalists in holding government to account, the impact of the new meta-data legislation on their work, and more. Paul Daley, whose gripping novel Challenge is set in the midst of federal politics, and local multiple award-winning screenwriter Shelley Birse, creator of the gripping ABC TV drama The Code, will discuss whether fiction is better than non-fiction at showing the truth of what really happens in politics.

Australian Slam poetry winner Zohab Zee Khan will guest at a festival highlight, the Saturday night Poetry Slam, and award-winning poet Samuel Wagan Watson, celebrated performance and local Rob Simpson, creator of the musical Power Play, will discuss protest in poetry and song. Local elder Michael Jarrett will introduce festival-goers to Gumbaynggirr poetry and song.

Rising literary star novelist Jessie Cole and award-winning young adult fiction author Diana Sweeney have written about social issues including parental abuse, single mothers with children from a succession of departed men, and sexual abuse and teenage pregnancy respectively in their novels Deeper Water and The Minnow. Renowned novelist and memoirist Robert Drewe will also be appearing, as well as Prime Minister’s award-winning YA Novelist Felicity Castagna.

Celebrated comedian Mandy Nolan and novelist Lisa Walker show in their books how social issues can be addressed in humorous ways, and David Roland and Jayne Newling show in their memoirs how it is possible to go on after tragic events that may threaten us physically and mentally.

An exciting new initiative from the founders of the festival is the new Coffs Coast Writers Centre, situated at the Bayldon Community Centre in Toormina. Renowned author Robert Drewe will launch the Centre in a special night on Thursday June 4th.

There is something for everyone at this year’s festival – we hope you will join us!