There’s a common misconception that you need to be a writer in order be a part of the Bendigo Writers Festival. Not true. Not at all.
You see, the festival is all about introducing you, the reader, to a whole bunch of fabulous writers. And not just fancy literary writers either (although, there is a few of those about; if that’s your thing, that is) – I’m talking political writers, crime writers, food writers, romance writers, young adult writers, science fiction writers, comic book…well, you get the point. If there is a genre of story you are interested in reading, you will find someone wonderful to listen to at the Writers Festival.
For me, as a reader, writer AND someone who is curious about the world we live in, an entire weekend to delve in to all of my favourite things is wonderfully indulgent. Each year I get my pass and program early and circle all the things that take my fancy. Of course, over the weekend, I do tend to just go where my mood takes me and sometimes I discover something I never even imagined I might have enjoyed!
This year marks the sixth annual Bendigo Writers Festival and it’s bigger than ever. There are over 90 events being held over the 11th, 12th and 13th of August in venues all over Bendigo and throughout country Victoria.
The ‘heart’ of the Festival is Bendigo’s arts precinct, View Street. It comes alive with people wandering from session to session (your pass lets you into a variety of venues and events, everything is within walking distance and you simply choose what strikes your interest each time a session is due to commence), chatting and enjoying the cafes and restaurants in between discovering new writers and new stories. I think everyone can agree there’s something quite magical about the buildings in the centre of Bendigo – their history and beauty – and it’s a privilege to be able to make them your home over these few days.
Each festival starts with a theme (this year is ‘Where We’re At’) and many of the sessions, particularly the evening events at our beautiful Ulumbarra Theatre, are designed to discuss or relate to the theme. Discussions – and this is really what the events are – will cover identity and politics, health and wellbeing, growing up and growing old, food, fashion, comedy, music, design, art and the books we are all loving.
It’s such a wonderful insight into the minds of some seriously creative authors, the chance to meet loads of like-minded people and the opportunity to discover new writers, new books and new ideas. I cannot wait!
There’s some incredible names at the festival this year: bestselling authors such as Elizabeth Kostova, Dava Sobel and Caroline Baum alongside celebrity writers such as Susan Carland, Clementine Ford and John Saffran, will ensure these sessions are hugely popular.
Personally, I love a little crime fiction and I’m looking forward to seeing Robert Gott, Ray Mooney and Claire Corbett speak on the Friday. I also enjoy Young Adult Fiction and the YA Super Session on Saturday at Ulumbarra has some incredible authors including Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff who created the Illuminae series, and Will Kostakis, who wrote the fabulous book, The Sidekicks.
I can also recommend at few sessions on the Sunday, but that may be me being bias…Sonia Anthony, from Masons of Bendigo, is launching her book – A Sense Of Place – all about local food and local produce from 10.15am at Ulumbarra, and a little session at 2.30pm in the Engine Room at the Old Fire Station might just be worth checking out too! Hopefully, I will see you there.
When: Friday 11th August – Sunday 13th August 2017
Where: Bendigo’s View Street arts precinct
For more info head to bendigowritersfestival.com.au