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Contemporary crime, rock ‘n’ roll history and high-heeled drama take centre stage at Newcastle Writers Festival

March 22, 2014 Destination Global No Comments Email Email

Following its successful inaugural year, Newcastle Writers Festival is back in 2014 – shining a spotlight on the Hunter region’s cultural heart in a celebration of Australian literature showcasing award winning poetry and book readings, a Festival book club, writing workshops, ethical dilemmas and debates and much more.
From the best contemporary crime writing to high voltage Aussie rock ’n’ roll history, poetry, blogging, sex addiction, World War I, motherhood, high adventure and high-heeled drama at a fashion magazine, the program presents a one-stop literary shop through a combination of ticketed and free events.

This year’s talented Festival line-up includes broadcaster, author, humourist, editor, journalist and stage performer Wendy Harmer (editor of online news site The Hoopla); medical doctor and humanist Philip Nitschke (founder of the pro-euthanasia group Exit International); comedian, writer and producer Tim Ferguson (member of the Doug Anthony All Stars); social researcher and author Hugh Mackay (author of The Good Life and Infidelity, both published in 2013); Newcastle’s own crime fiction writer and winner of
the Ned Kelly Award Wendy James (author of The Lost Girls, published in March 2014); fashion aficionado eGlobal Media-ÃÇÁ
and author Kirstie Clements (former editor of Vogue Australia), and many more.

The City of Newcastle’s Manager of Tourism and Economic Development Services, Ms Jan Ross, said: “The Newcastle Writers Festival is a celebration of the City and its people, and of the writers, poets, journalists and all cultural producers who inform, entertain and persuade us. Newcastle has long had a culture of great literature and this Festival is a celebration of this – not just for Novocastrians, but for all Australians and international visitors.”

“Everyone can remember a book, poem, article or movie that’s made a mark, and the Newcastle Writers Festival highlights the colourful contribution literature makes to our lives. From tiny toddlers to teens, young adults through to baby boomers there’s something for all to enjoy,” Ms Ross added.

The Newcastle Writers Festival Program Manager, Ms Rosemarie Milsom, said: “Last year’s inaugural Festival attracted attendees from not just across the Hunter, but all over New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. This year, with the number of authors involved having almost doubled and a program of events with national appeal, we are anticipating attendance to go from strength to strength.”

“For families and groups wishing to keep costs down, but who still want to enjoy the Festival, more than half of the events are absolutely free – and this is something we are committed to ensuring in the future as the Newcastle Writers Festival continues to grow,” added Ms Milsom.

Preceding the main Writers Festival program, a series of children’s events are scheduled to take place at Newcastle Library from Wednesday 2 April to Friday 4 April. For details of the children’s program, visit

Newcastle Writers Festival program highlights
From 7pm on Friday 4 April, Wendy Harmer, one of the nation’s most respected and versatile entertainers, will mark the beginning of the Festival with an opening night event held at The University of Newcastle Conservatorium of Music.

On Saturday 5 April, hear the views of five eclectic thinkers, including Clementine Ford and Antony Loewenstein, at Newcastle City Hall from 10am as they battle it out in a tussle about “Dangerous ideas: challenging the status quo”. Or, listen as with three best-selling contemporary crime writers as they present “It’s Complicated: Dissecting the hero in crime novels” – unravelling the complexity of their flawed but ironically likeable heroes and heroines – with Garry Disher, Adrian McKinty and Angela Savage from 11:45am at the City Hall’s Concert Hall.

From 2:30pm at Reserve Wine Bar, listen to the insight of fashion maven and editor of Vogue from 1985 to 2012, Kirstie Clements, as she discusses “Vogue and Beyond” – a must-see if you regularly thumb the pages of lifestyle magazines.

If poetry is your forte, pencil in “Celebrating the Newcastle Poetry Prize” at the Newcastle Art Gallery from 5pm in your diary – a free event shining the spotlight on one of Australia’s most prestigious literary honours, and the acclaimed poets it has honoured.

Remember those wistful words from your childhood diary entries? “Dear Diary” with Tim Ferguson, Jeff Apter, Monica Dux, Linda Jaivin and Summer Land at The Edwards bar and restaurant from 8pm will have you cringing with awkwardness and shrieking with laughter as festival guests read extracts from their childhood diaries.

Audience participation encouraged.
On Sunday 6 April, join local writer Wendy James at Agosti Espresso from 10am for “An NWF Book Club Event” to discuss her new suburban suspense novel The Lost Girls over a cup of quality coffee. If you’ve always been perplexed by the veneer of white picket fence suburbia, then this free event is right up your street.

Also from 10am, history buffs are invited to join one of ABC’s flagship journalists, Scott Bevan at the Newcastle Concert Hall as he hosts a conversation with James Brown, Michael Caulfield and Clare Wright wrapped around “1914: The glory and horror of the ANZAC legend” to mark the centenary of the start of one of the bloodiest battles the world has ever known – The Great War. While from 1:30pm in the Cummings Room at Newcastle City Hall, learn the history of “Radical Newcastle” – the city’s communist underbelly and those heritage radicals who will form the centrepieces of a new book set to be published later this year (free event).

It’s often said that everyone ‘has a book in them’ and the “Art and Carpentry of Making Fiction” seminar in the Hunter Room at Newcastle City Hall from 2:45pm goes beyond the proverbial in a workshop designed by acclaimed novelist and director of the Faber Academy, Kathryn Heyman, to teach the key elements of writing fiction; from creating the first line to the very last, and everything in between. Notepads and eager minds essential.

To view the full program of Newcastle Writers Festival events, visit 

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