Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival main program and special events.

PDF of Program

Thursday 9 June
5.30 – 8pm

Coffs Harbour Library
27 Duke St, Coffs Harbour

A gripping evening with Graham Potts, soldier and thriller writer

Bellingen Readers & Writers Festival Director Irina Dunn will interview Renaissance man Graham Potts, a classically trained, serving member of the Australian Air Force who writes thrillers.

Graham’s action-packed style throws you into international conflicts closer to home than you think. He tells stories that captivate, thrill and touch on the truth. And if you buy him a scotch, he might tell you a tall one or two. Graham is author of No Free Man (Pantera January 2016) a fast-paced and gripping spy thriller that will hold you riveted until the last page.

Free entry RSVPs essential to Skye Ravenscroft

Festival special event


Friday 10 June
10.00 – 12.00pm

Dorrigo Rainforest Centre
Dorrigo National Park
Dome Road Dorrigo

Mary White Address – Janet Richardson

“Flying low – a bird’s eye view of conservation”

Pilot and conservationist Janet Richardson turned to fiction to get her conservation views across to the reading public.

In The Lemongrass Project (2014), Janet’s debut novel, the heroine finds herself at the centre of a battle between developers and local groups when she inherits valuable land in a small fishing village on the north coast of New South Wales.

The controversial resort proposal that is dividing the small community reflects many such developments occurring not only all along the NSW coast but throughout Australia.

A trained and accredited pilot, Janet thought of writing the novel when she was flying low over the coast a few years ago and saw from a bird’s eye view the potential destruction that could be caused by unchecked urban growth in coastal areas.

Janet will discuss why she decided to use fiction to get her conservation point across and will be very happy to take questions from the audience about her action-packed life and views on conservation.

$5 includes morning tea
RSVPs essential: Phone 02 6657 5913 or email

Festival special event


Friday 10 June
2.00 – 3.00pm

Meet at Maam Gaduying (Meeting Place park)
opposite the Memorial Hall in Hyde Street

Eating and drinking and writing about It

Local historian Ross Macleay takes you on a walk through Bellingen’s food and drink landscape, from gleaning and foraging to affogato. He provides a social history of eating and drinking in Bellingen, with readings from the literature as we take the tour.

Ross Macleay has written on natural and social history, narrative art, film and philosophy. He spends a lot of time in the bush. He has recently completed a book — The Narrative — about the strange way we talk about our most recent political history.
Free. RSVP essential to Ross at

Festival special event


Friday 10 June
7.00 – 10.00pm

The Brewery
3/5 Church Street, Bellingen

Opening night party

Gumbaynggirr elder Uncle Gary Williams will offer guests the “Welcome to Country”.

There will be a musical performance by Michael Jarrett and Larry Hancock, and Steve Morelli will talk about the recently published Gumbaynggirr Dictionary.

After this you will be entertained by Lee Kofman, the Russian-born Jewish author of The Dangerous Bride, a memoir of love, gods and geography, in which Lee describes her attempts at an open marriage, and by Josh Donellan, a national Poetry Slam finalist in 2015, who will knock your socks off with his verbal dexterity.

Individual Event entry fee $30 (includes nibbles and two glasses of wine/beer/soft drink)

Festival special event