By Pyari Pathania
Weeeee! It’s that time of year! It’s all snuggly and cold, and the air has that smoky smell, and there’s nothing quite like curling up by the fire with a tea and a good book. Well! What a perfect time for a Readers and Writers Festival, am I right? Lucky for us, The Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival is back in full swing this year, and I spoke with The Festivals’ very own Head of Programming Adam Norris for a full rundown on what to expect.
Can you tell me a bit about the festival this year? What’s new? What’s the same? Why does it matter?!
Well, it’s a very different beast from anything you’ve seen in Bellingen before! This is the first time we’re holding the festival at the Bellingen Showground, spread out across three venues with a smorgasbord of food vans, a bar and several coffee carts thrown in for good measure. It will have a real festive feel this year. It’s also one of the most exciting lineups we’ve ever seen, with some great headline names and a program full of really fascinating special guests. After the Covid-cancelled 2020 festival, it’s been a great feeling to see the whole thing come together in such an exciting way.
Aside from the incredible line-up of guests – what are three reasons people should come along to the festival this year?
The conversations that you’re going to hear will be truly memorable. Not only are these some of the best writers in the country, a lot of them are talking about very timely things – so it’s conversation that’s entertaining, but also closely related to many of our lives. It also doesn’t hurt that the whole festival is unfolding here in Bellingen, which is simply one of the most picturesque places on the map. You’ll also find live music (both as part of the main festival, and as free entertainment throughout the day), a pop-up bookstore, delicious food, a bar operated by the legends from Sanctus Brewery. It’s going to be a hell of a long weekend.
What do you feel that readers and writers festivals bring to the community? (And vice-versa)
The festival is now in its 11th year, so it’s been bringing thought-provoking ideas and discussion to the region for a while now. As the festival’s reputation has grown, so too has the number of truly outstanding guests, and I think it’s such a remarkable community that not only gets to experience all of these novelists and journalists, playwrights, politicians and poets – but that all of these guests get to welcomed into such a warmly welcoming town. It’s a two-way street, and the overwhelming response we get from the authors who have visited in the past is just how much they’ve enjoyed being part of such a vibrant, yet intimate festival. It really is a unique event, and this year, we’re pulling out all the stops!
The Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival kicks off on the June long weekend (that’s this upcoming weekend, everyone! The 11th-13thof June.)
Passes and sessions are on sale here: https://www.bellingenwritersfestival.com.au– jump in, don’t miss out!