Literary feast to draw in visitors

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Pierra WillixAugusta Margaret River Times
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An event during the 2018 Reader’s and Writers Festival.
Camera IconAn event during the 2018 Reader’s and Writers Festival. Credit: Michelle Troop

Writers and bibliophiles are set to flock to the region this weekend for the 11th annual Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival.

The theme of this year’s festival is Wild, Weird and Wonderful, with headliners including Germaine Greer, William McInnes, Liz Byrski, Michael Leunig and Anna Funder.

Starting as a community project run entirely by Arts Margaret River volunteers, the festival has grown to include almost 60 speakers — which, in past years have included international guests such as Michael Palin and Geraldine Brooks, among many others — as well as a large cohort of Australian-based literary talents and local writers.

Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival creative director Tanya Perdue said this year’s theme had made way for some interesting authors and speakers to take to the stage.

“We have speakers with warm, wonderful stories like Liz Byrski with A Month of Sundays, and the Riveting Reads session in which some of our top authors tell us about their favourite books to read,” she said.

“Then we have authors like Dr Gregory Peel Smith, who was once a mysterious man who roamed the forest and is now a university lecturer; local writer and photographer Tom de Souza, who lost his teenage years to ice addiction; and a session called Strange Things in Small Towns where Chris Hammer, Dave Warner and Tanya Heaslip discuss what is it about small towns that inspire writers to create weird and wonderful stories that so aptly capture our imaginations.”

Headliner sessions have sold out, but Ms Perdue said there were still tickets available to other events, including Coffee & Papers, which features the latest news and hot topics; Aussie 2.0 which features William McInnes and Dave Warner “having a yarn about the Aussie things that make us cringe with recognition and laugh with affection”; Seeking Love and Revenge, with Minnie Darke and Pip Drysdale; and many others.

There are also free activities as part of the festival, which include a storytelling tent for children and the Curious Creations sculpture walk by local artists.

Encouraging members of the community to attend festival events, Ms Perdue said the events appealed to a wide audience.

“The festival isn’t only for people who love books — it’s for anyone who loves current affairs, arts and culture, new ideas, being challenged to see the world in a new way — or just for some entertainment,” Ms Perdue said.

“It’s fabulous to see the event continue to grow each year and to contribute to Margaret River’s reputation as a hub for culture and the arts.”

For more information on speakers and events, or to buy tickets, go to mrrwfestival.com.

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