The best thing to look forward to at the start of every year is the release of the Newcastle Writers Festival program. For the past three years Newcastle has put on a fantastic festival that celebrates local, Australian, and overseas authors that has been an absolute joy to attend. Now in its fourth year, Festival Director Rosemarie Milsom and her team have planned a wonderful program once more that’s filled with a range of subjects and attendees. While Rosemarie states she did not have any one idea in mind when creating the program this year, she was guided by two themes – how did we get to where we are, and where are we going? As a result, history, memoir, and climate change have had a strong influence on this year’s program and looking at who is attending and what sessions are on offer it looks like it’s going to be a lively and fascinating festival.
If you have never been to a NWF before this could be a great first visit. If you’ve been in past years, or have been coming since its inaugural year like me then you know just how wonderful this weekend can be. Meeting other like-minded people, discussing books with strangers and finding friends unexpectedly in the crowd; there is a great atmosphere with the festival that pulls you into a great mood. Opening night sees Tim Flannery discussing his excellent adventures with anecdotes and details from his new book, Atmosphere of Hope. Accompanied by the great James Valentine as MC and John Doyle as host. Opening night does not start the festival however, with sessions on throughout the day before the opening night.
The program has officially been released which you can download from here, or if you would like a physical copy you now have to request a copy via the website (why I’m not entirely sure), but you can fill out the form here. Or if you’re patient, hard copies will be available next week from Hunter libraries and cafes. Visit the newly designed NWF website to see all the other great things on at the festival as well, including the special children’s program, you can also volunteer to be part of the festival if you wish, or simply learn more about Newcastle and the area.
With 140 writers, 70 sessions, across 5 venues, it’s going to an amazing weekend. The festival countdown is slowly ticking down (literally, see the website), and with just 41 days until this year’s festival kicks off there’s just enough time to study the program, find fabulous sessions you want to attend, buy your tickets, and then sit back and wait (im)patiently for 1 April to arrive for the start of a fantastic writing and book filled three days!
Tickets go on sale Mon 22 Feb 2016 9:00AM (AEDT).