Bellingen Readers & Writers Festival
By Adam Norris
The 12th Bellingen Readers & Writers Festival explodes across the June Long Weekend with the most colourful conversations and thought-provoking panels (not to mention the best coffee and cocktails) this side of Narnia.
Better still, following a run of record-breaking festivals in ‘21 and ‘22, this year is already on track to be their biggest yet, with dozens of the biggest names in literature, comedy, politics and journalism along for the ride.
It is certain to be one of the most engaging events of the festival, the BRWF is excited to welcome the return of Kerry O’Brien, who is joined by Indigenous leader Thomas Mayo to share their timely new release, ‘The Voice to Parliament Handbook’.
And as though that wasn’t enough, Kerry and Paul will also take to the stage with Anton Enus for a cutting-edge session on democracy and the media.
But it isn’t all politics! Where else will you find bestsellers like Pip Williams – author of ‘The Dictionary of Lost Words’ – rubbing shoulders with comic legends like Wil Anderson? (pictured middle). Or find renown muso Holly Throsby (pictured bottom) and Matthew Spencer sitting down for a spot of murder with Radio National’s Kate Evans?
You’ll also find Book of the Year-winner Behrouz Boochani (pictured top), held for years in detention on Manus Island, in conversation with former Socceroos captain and human rights activist Craig Foster; meanwhile, beloved Australian actress Heather Mitchell will be sharing her life and career with international bestseller Isobelle Carmody, while just next door cartoonist First Dog on the Moon takes us on a trip through political absurdity.
In another highlight session, comedian Zoë Coombs Marr will share her exploration of Australian’s queer history from the new ABC documentary series, Queerstralia. Before that, of course, you’ll be able to stop by the hugely popular (and totally free!) Local Author Marquee to hear the very best of Coffs Coast writing, or stop by the Bellingen Brewery on-site bar… Or the Book Warehouse pop-up bookshop… Or one of the many mouth-watering food vendors…
In fact, you’re going to be spoilt for choice this year, with a huge variety of topics, events, activities – you name it.
You’ll find African- Australian authors Maxine Beneba Clarke, Akuch Kuol Anyiteth and Eugen Bacon discussing their hugely varied writing passions, as speculative fiction authors Rhett Davis, Angela Meyer and Shaun Prescott speak with Youtube literary star Christy Anne Jones (with over ten million views!).
And did we mention Heather Rose is coming? Fiona Kelly McGregor? Robert freakin’ Dessaix?
Did we mention that we’re launching BookWiz – our hilarious closing night spectacular?
So yes. This year’s BRWF is big. It’s… really big. The program is out now. Go check it out for yourself.
Many sessions sell out fast so be sure to grab your tickets now at: www.bellingenwritersfestival.com.au.
What Bellingen Readers & Writers Festival
Where Bellingen Showground
When 9-11 June
TIX bellingenwriters festival.com.au