Writ­ers fes­ti­val ‘best yet’

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

SO­CIAL me­dia, po­etry and even mu­sic, were all fea­tures of this year’s Whit­sun­day Writ­ers Fes­ti­val, which or­gan­is­ers are hail­ing the best yet.

Tak­ing place at the Can­non­vale Marine Club over the week­end, the fes­ti­val at­tracted over 100 peo­ple from across the re­gion and as far afield as Townsville, and in­cluded greater au­di­ence par­tic­i­pa­tion than ever be­fore.

How to be a travel writer, the art of writ­ing short sto­ries and tips for cre­at­ing a brand, formed the ba­sis for a se­ries of work­shops that kicked the fes­ti­val off on Fri­day.

Through­out the course of the day, par­tic­i­pants were able to learn from some of the best in the business, with the likes of ABC Open pro­duc­ers Dan Bat­t­ley and Michael Bro­mage and Aus­tralian So­ci­ety of Travel Writ­ers pres­i­dent Kerry Heaney, shar­ing the se­crets of their craft.

Ms Heaney, whose blog ‘eat, drink and be Kerry’ is in the top 10 for food and travel in Aus­tralia, said in her opin­ion the fes­ti­val was a great op­por­tu­nity for peo­ple who were in­ter­ested in writ­ing to ex­plore dif­fer­ent gen­res.

Her ad­vice for bud­ding au­thors was to “follow your pas­sion” and for those par­tic­u­larly in­ter­ested in travel writ­ing, to re­mem­ber “it’s a life­style choice”.

This year’s undis­puted star was Peter FitzSimons, who re­galed the au­di­ence with his com­i­cal and in­sight­ful talks.

The for­mer Wal­la­bies player, turned non-fic­tion au­thor and jour­nal­ist with the Syd­ney Morn­ing Her­ald, cap­ti­vated those who at­tended his pre­sen­ta­tion on Satur­day and charmed the guests at the evening’s gourmet din­ner. The fes­ti­val wrapped up on Sun­day with a po­ets and pi­rates long-ta­ble lunch, which com­mit­tee mem­ber Rachael Smith de­scribed as “a fun af­ter­noon”

“There were lots of peo­ple dressed up, a few kids came along, and the po­etry was fan­tas­tic,” she said.

“There were some sea­soned po­ets, plus a few first-timers, who were re­ally brave and it was great to see them get up.”

Fes­ti­val founder Glo­ria Bur­ley thanked the com­mit­tee for their ef­forts in mak­ing this year’s event such an in­ter­ac­tive suc­cess.

She also ex­tended a spe­cial thanks to the Re­gional Arts De­vel­op­ment Fund (RADF) for their on­go­ing fund­ing support.

GROUP EF­FORT: Whit­sun­day Writ­ers Fes­ti­val com­mit­tee mem­bers and guest speak­ers alike had a ball at the gourmet din­ner, hosted by Peter FitzSimons on Satur­day night. Pic­tured are: Cap'n Dan Van Blar­com, Vanessa Har­tle, Alice Greenup, Jan Smith, Glo­ria Bur­ley, Jenni Og­den, Peter FitzSimons, Rachael Smith, Liz Down and Deb­o­rah Friend.

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