Next March, something pretty exciting will be happening on my small island. We are a creative people down here. The arts community is tight-knit, supportive and doing amazing things. The writing community is particularly strong. We already have some wonderful festivals that celebrate our writing talent. The Tasmanian Writers Festival, last March, was a fantastic event, with Phillip Adams and Anita Heiss amongst many luminaries who popped down to the island to share their skills with us. The Tasmanian Poetry Festival, run by the incomparable Cameron Hindrum, is always a highlight of the literary year.
And next year, thanks to the incredibly hard word of Stephen Dando Collins, we’re getting another festival. And it’s going to be a cracker. The Beaconsfield Festival Of Golden Words will be held in March, in a small town not far from Launceston, most famous up until this point for its mining activities. After March, though, I doubt that’s why people will be talking about Beaconsfield.
The festival line-up is enormous – over seventy writers and others associated with the publishing game. I’m thrilled to say the children’s and YA programme is particularly strong, but there are huge names in literary fiction, food writing, poetry, travel writing and others, like doctor, humanist, philosopher and author, Philip Nitschke, whose session I’m very much hoping to attend.
Other big names coming to the festival include Nick Earls, Andy Griffiths, Maggie Beer, Sherryl Clark, Tristan Bancks, Carrie Tiffany, Nikki Gemmell, Wendy Harmer, Hannah Kent, Romy Ash, Graeme Simsion, Rachel Ward, Steve Bisley …
And, with pride, I see that the local contingent is also strong and fabulous: Lian Tanner, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Heather Rose, Danielle Wood, Cameron Hindrum, Christina Booth, Rachael Treasure, Rohan Wilson, and of course a certain Mr Dando Collins himself …
And more and more and more! Seventy writers, descending on a tiny town on a tiny island, to fill it with life and words and wonder. Stephen, what you’re doing for our state is astonishing. It’s going to be the most magical festival and I just can’t wait.
For more information on the festival, go to http://www.festivalofgoldenwords.com.au/index.html