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Local talent shines at South Coast Readers and Writers Festival

The Bugle App

Danielle Woolage

26 June 2024, 11:48 PM

Local talent shines at South Coast Readers and Writers Festival

From Greek mythology to rock music, fairytales to family drama, the South Coast Readers and Writers Festival has it all, including an insider’s look at the publishing business for aspiring scribes trying to break into the industry.

The festival, at Thirroul Community Centre from July 13-14, features award-winning local novelist Helena Fox, lawyer-turned-author Bri Lee discussing her debut as a fiction writer, legendary Australian music writers Stuart Coupe and Jeff Apter and journalists Caroline Baum, Malcolm Knox and Mitch Jennings.

The jam-packed weekend, with over 22 sessions, will cover genres including poetry, literary fiction, suspense, biography, memoir, historical fiction and First Nations writing, says festival director Sarah Nicholson.

Dr Nicholson, who is head of the South Coast Writers Centre and a former University of Wollongong academic, says 60 percent of writers talking at the festival are locals. 

“We are excited to showcase more than 40 authors, poets, academics and journalists, who will cover everything from the literary classics to the pressing issues of current affairs," she says. "It will be a weekend filled with captivating stories, thought-provoking discussions, and inspiring conversations. We encourage people to come along and discover some of the local literary talent hiding on the coast."

Australian historical fantasy author Kell Woods, Emma Darragh, who has a PhD in creative writing from the University of Wollongong, and Illawarra Mercury journalist Mitch Jennings will all debut new books at the festival. Established award-winning writers including Catherine McKinnon, Kirli Saunders and Helena Fox will also host talks. Dr Nicholson, co-author of Heroines An Anthology of Short Fiction and Poetry, will discuss her writing in the Crimes of the Cross session. 

The festival will be held in the Thirroul Community Centre for the first time this year. 

“It’s close to a public transport hub and gives festival guests easy access to Thirroul’s great cafés,” she says. “We’ve partnered with Wollongong City Libraries to present two free Young Readers and Writers sessions in Thirroul Library and Collins Booksellers will also feature festival books for sale.”

Dr Nicholson said the festival is a community event, with organisers giving it a rebrand in its third year to include readers in the title.  

“We renamed ourselves the South Coast Readers and Writers Festival so that it is clear to the many readers in our community that this festival is for them,” she says. “This isn’t a festival only for writers; it is a festival with writers that is designed for their readers. It’s a place for book lovers to hear writer’s insights, to learn about and find new books, and to hear about the process behind their creations.”

The full festival program and tickets are available here