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The stories behind a festival

7 March 2018 | Posted in: News

Pictured: Newcastle Writers Festival 2017                                                              Written by: Rayannon Innes | Photography: Liam Driver

With less than a month until the Newcastle Writers Festival is in full motion, this year’s program promises another literary lollapalooza for the city of Newcastle. In its sixth year, the festival will be showcasing the likes of Joanne McCarthy, Bruce Pascoe, Kitty Flanagan, Jimmy Barnes and Richard Fidler, with a host of many other renowned writers and literary professionals, a large proportion of which hail from Newcastle and the Hunter.

One particular author, Port Stephens’ Joanna Atherfold Finn, will be launching her anthology of short stories over the festival, alongside respected novelist and mentor Robert Drewe. Having connected over their mutual love for coastal writing and following an offer from Joanna to drive Robert from the airport back in the festival’s beginnings in 2013, the then PhD student, through Robert’s friendship and guidance, would eventually earn herself a book deal.

“To have a collection of short stories published today in Australia is extremely rare if you’re not an established writer” says journalist and festival director Rosemarie Milsom.

“The Writers Festival is enabling this talent to have a platform” she said.

With the theme of this year’s festival being ‘the stories behind the stories’, it’s compelling anecdotes like that of Joanna and Robert that Rosemarie believes is central to the Writers Festival. When comparing the Newcastle Writers Festival to other festival events, it stands alone in enabling the artist – or author – to delve into their work and create meaningful dialogue with their audience.

To close the festival weekend, a special event in association with Idea Bombing Newcastle called ‘What Is Your Newcastle Story?’ will be held in Wheeler Place. On the Sunday evening, guests are invited to share their stories with a diverse panel of influential locals.

The Newcastle Writers Festival will take place on the 6th – 8th of April. You can start planning your weekend by viewing the 2018 event program on the festival website.