Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - De­broah Friend

IN­SPI­RA­TION, tal­ent, pas­sion, self-be­lief, de­ter­mi­na­tion and dis­ci­pline – this is what it takes to be a writer, ac­cord­ing to the guest speak­ers at last week­end’s Whit­sun­day Writ­ers Fes­ti­val.

And in­spi­ra­tion abounded at the three-day event, as pub­lished au­thors shared their sto­ries with as­pir­ing writ­ers and peo­ple who just love read­ing books and the writ­ten word.

Some of the au­thors had only writ­ten one book – feel­ing a need to cap­ture their life’s work or ad­ven­tures in words – while others were ca­reer au­thors, pub­lish­ing many books in their lives.

All agreed that pas­sion was a vi­tal in­gre­di­ent in the writ­ing recipe – along with a healthy dose of self-be­lief.

Lo­cal res­i­dent Jess Rossi, from Air­lie Beach, said she had been in­spired by the au­thors’ talks and work­shops, and she hoped to one day write her story.

“It’s been re­ally great, ex­cel­lent,” the 34-year-old English teacher said, adding she par­tic­u­larly en­joyed Pro­fes­sor Iain McCal­man’s talk about the Great Bar­rier Reef and his book ‘The Reef, a Pas­sion­ate His­tory, from Cap­tain Cook to Cli­mate Change’.

“Every­one should own Prof McCal­man’s book about the reef – peo­ple who live up here need to read it – the his­tory in it is amaz­ing,” she said. “It has been fun chat­ting with ev­ery­body and every­one is very pos­i­tive, en­cour­ag­ing and sup­port­ive. I also re­ally en­joyed An­nie Seaton’s work­shop about what to do with your man­u­script once it’s writ­ten, which was very use­ful – I didn’t re­alise how much was in­volved with mar­ket­ing and pub­lish­ing your book.”

Com­mit­tee mem­ber Deb­o­rah Friend said the writ­ers fes­ti­val – held at Lure, Abell Point Ma­rina – was a run­away suc­cess.

“We al­ways pitch the fes­ti­val as an in­ti­mate event where at­ten­dees can min­gle and talk with the au­thors but it’s only when you look around the room and ac­tu­ally see this hap­pen­ing that it re­ally hits home,” Ms Friend said.

“It’s not just about the au­thors’ work­shops and talks - although these were fas­ci­nat­ing and in­sight­ful – it’s also about the con­ver­sa­tions in be­tween and the life­long friend­ships that are made over the de­li­cious food, courtesy of Fish D’Vine Cater­ing, while enjoying gor­geous views. We couldn’t have asked for more with our new venue (Lure) and we are al­ready dis­cussing next year’s event.”

Lo­cal fes­ti­val goer San­dra Clark has a love of words and said the work­shops of­fered her teach­ing on more than just writ­ing.

“When you first go to some­thing new you learn a lot about some­thing you didn’t ex­pect,” she said.

“I had to let go of my ex­pec­ta­tions, go with the flow and ab­sorb the in­for­ma­tion.”

I had to let go of my ex­pec­ta­tions, go with the flow and ab­sorb the in­for­ma­tion. — San­dra Clark


WRITE RIGHT: The Whit­sun­day Writ­ers Fes­ti­val com­mi­tee are: Maria Ca­vanagh, Liz Robin­son, Deb­o­rah Friend, Glo­ria Bur­ley, (back) Vanessa Har­tle, Jan Smith and Rachael Thack­ray.

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