Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival 2021- It’s A Wrap

By June 14, 2021 In Focus 2 Comments
Head of Programming at Bellingen readers and Writers Festival 2021 gives us his final wrap up of the successful event and thanks all involved.

By Adam Norris, Head of Programming

What an unbelievable weekend! I think everyone connected to the festival – the organisers, the authors, the volunteers, even the audiences – were blown away by just how exciting and varied this year’s event turned out to be.

Coming on the heels of the Victorian lockdown – and only a day after Covid threatened to show its face in Western NSW – I think many folk had their heart in their throat right up until Opening Night. Would the festival find itself cancelled at the last moment?

Instead, we saw a weekend that people will be talking about for ages. We knew some of our bigger names – those like Bob Brown, Jess Hill, Rhoda Roberts, William McInnes, Michael Robotham, the Good News Week posse – would likely draw warm and welcoming crowds. But seeing the reception that our lesser-known, but equally engaging guests received was probably my favourite part of the weekend; Mohammed Massoud Morsi, Alison Gibbs, Erna Walraven, Rohan Wilson, Mirandi Riwoe, B P Marshall and a host of other writers and journalists who really captured our imagination and earned some truly enthusiastic audiences. And that’s not to mention the live music, the local authors, the vendors, the bar, the 2BBB FM onsite broadcast, so many elements that all came together in a perfect literary storm.

We’d had an unbelievable response from across the region, with a lot of festival records broken along the way. If it weren’t for such heartfelt and humbling support from so many in the local community (and beyond!), well, we just couldn’t have done it without them.

But now it’s time to sleep for a solid 24-hours before we start drawing up plans for BRWF 2022 …


  • Ruth Holmes says:

    Congratulations to the Committee.

    A great Venue with plenty of parking.

    We enjoyed the session with Callum Clayton-Dixon talking about the resistance & resilience of his indigeneous family the Anaiwan people. Great hearing how he researched for the book “Surviving in New England” & why their language base is low compared with coastal indigeneous communities.
    The interaction with his tutors from UNE at the session worked well.

    Also loved the outdoor venue with local authors.

    Hope the Showground will be used again next year.

  • Pete Smith says:

    What an awesome vibe and so needed after some stressful times in the past months. Loved the poetry slam, so much local talent and open hearts. The support for local authors was so appreciated. I didn’t know who the others were, but have now made some new friends! Much gratitude to all the volunteers, especially the committee who had the vision and passion to make this weekend really special.

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