Newcastle Writers Festival

INKWELL AND QUILL

 We’re massive fans of the Arts here at Pugnacious George. Our people can often be found by the fireside, dressed in velour and murmuring approvingly over the well-thumbed pages of an Austen, Thoreau or Camus novel – such are the occasional lives we lead. And we’re keener still on unearthing up-and-coming writers and events.

When we heard that the Newcastle Writers Festival would run again this year (4-6 April), we simple couldn’t resist touting the swathe of high profile Australian talent, including: Wendy Harmer, Philip Nitschke, Jane Caro, Tim Ferguson, Hugh Mackay and Kirstie Clements. Shining a spotlight on Newcastle, at the kernel of the region’s literary production, the festival will feature award winning poetry and book readings, a book club, writing workshops, and debates centred on ethical dilemmas.

The Newcastle Writers Festival Program Manager, Ms Rosemarie Milsom, said: "Last year’s inaugural Festival attracted attendees from not just across the Hunter, but all over New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. This year, with the number of authors involved having almost doubled and a program of events with national appeal, we are anticipating attendance to go from strength to strength."

"For families and groups wishing to keep costs down, but who still want to enjoy the Festival, more than half of the events are absolutely free – and this is something we are committed to ensuring in the future as the Newcastle Writers Festival continues to grow,” added Ms Milsom.

In a period of dour economic news, punctuated by the decline in Australian manufacturing, events such as the Newcastle Writers Festival provide a welcome reprieve from the otherwise unforgiving sentiment. And, what’s more, the notion that everyone has a book in them takes on a whole new guise. Those considering making a career out of writing ought not to overlook the festival considering its writers, broadcasters and poets who have made a livelihood out the carefully crafted sentence. For those simply wanting to listen to the thoughts of some of Australia’s foremost opinion leaders, the Newcastle Writers Festival provides opportunities to sit back, relax and soak up candid tales and accounts from our finest storytellers. The City of Newcastle’s Manager of Tourism and Economic Development Services, Ms Jan Ross, said: "The Newcastle Writers Festival is a celebration of the City and its people, and of the writers, poets, journalists and all cultural producers who inform, entertain and persuade us.

Newcastle has long had a culture of great literature and this Festival is a celebration of this - not just for Novocastrians, but for all Australians and international visitors.” "Everyone can remember a book, poem, article or movie that's made a mark, and the Newcastle Writers Festival highlights the colourful contribution literature makes to our lives. From tiny toddlers to teens, young adults through to baby boomers there's something for all to enjoy," Ms Ross added.

Newcastle Writers Festival program highlights:

From 7pm on Friday 4 April, Wendy Harmer, one of the nation's most respected and versatile entertainers, will mark the beginning of the Festival with an opening night event held at The University of NewcastleConservatorium of Music.

On Saturday 5 April, hear the views of five eclectic thinkers, including Clementine Ford and Antony Loewenstein, at Newcastle City Hall from 10am as they battle it out in a tussle about “Dangerous ideas: challenging the status quo”.

Or, listen as with three best-selling contemporary crime writers as they present “It’s Complicated: Dissecting the hero in crime novels” - unravelling the complexity of their flawed but ironically likeable heroes and heroines - with Garry Disher, Adrian McKinty and Angela Savage from 11:45am at the City Hall's Concert Hall.

From 2:30pm at Reserve Wine Bar, listen to the insight of fashion maven and editor of Vogue from 1985 to 2012, Kirstie Clements, as she discusses “Vogue and Beyond” - a must-see if you regularly thumb the pages of lifestyle magazines.

On Sunday 6 April, join local writer Wendy James at Agosti Espresso from 10am for “An NWF Book Club Event” to discuss her new suburban suspense novel The Lost Girls over a cup of quality coffee. If you've always been perplexed by the veneer of white picket fence suburbia, then this free event is right up your street.

Also from 10am, history buffs are invited to join one of ABC's flagship journalists, Scott Bevan at the Newcastle Concert Hall as he hosts a conversation with James Brown, Michael Caulfield and Clare Wright wrapped around “1914: The glory and horror of the ANZAC legend” to mark the centenary of the start of one of the bloodiest battles the world has ever known – The Great War.

While from 1:30pm in the Cummings Room at Newcastle City Hall, learn the history of “Radical Newcastle” - the city’s communist underbelly and those heritage radicals who will form the centrepieces of a new book set to be published later this year (free event).

For a full list of events at the Newcastle Writers Festival, head over to here.

01 April 2014
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