“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” — Frederick Douglass
Those of us awaiting the Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival (BRWF) 2019 with baited breath know the truth to this statement. And being able to inspire a love of reading in our youth is surely a noble thing.
The BRWF 2019 Schools Program has been an integral component of the Bellingen Readers & Writers Festival from the beginning. In recent years over 600 students attending schools throughout the Coffs Coast and Bellingen areas have benefited from the festival’s visiting authors and poets.
The Schools Program is part of the festival’s commitment to promoting literacy and inspiring a passion for reading, literature and cultural production among the youth of our region.
This year there are 18 schools across the region participating with a 50% increase in the number of schools hosting author workshop sessions. “That is 32 sessions providing an experience for around 1000 students,” says Festival volunteer and School’s Program Co-ordinator Lynn Phillips.
There are six acclaimed authors participating in the School’s Program this year.
Aleesah Darlison is a multi-published and award-winning children’s author. She has written 45 books for children including picture books, chapter books and novels and has won numerous awards.
Anna Fienberg is the author of many popular and award-winning books for children of all ages. A storyteller with a special talent for fantasy and things magical, her work includes the Tashi series.
Katrina McKelvey is a children’s author and a former primary school teacher. Her first picture book was Dandelions (EK Books, 2015).
Lachlan Philpott is a graduate of the University of NSW in theatre and English; Sydney University in education; NIDA’s Playwright’s Studio; and directing at the Victorian College of the Arts. His plays have been produced in Australia, England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and the USA.
Oliver Phommavanh loves to make people laugh, whether it’s on the page writing humour for kids or on stage as a stand-up comedian. He also shares his passion for writing with children, using his experience as a primary school teacher.
Shivaun Plozza is an award-winning children’s and YA writer. Her critically acclaimed debut novel, Frankie was a CBCA Notable Book shortlisted for the Inky Awards.
“We are so lucky to have secured six authors so passionate about writing, who are really inspirational presenters. For students to have access to their creative skills and passion about literature will give students the inspiration and the tools to create their own stories,” says Lynn.
“Workshop activities will explore topics such as developing ideas for your story, narrative structure, tension, pacing character development, setting the scene and narrative resolution. Sessions are tailored between the author and teacher to suit the students’ ages and stages. So workshop activities will be quite different for each group,” says Lynn.
Local teachers and students who have participated in the BRWF Schools Program previously are eagerly awaiting this year’s Program. “I love that we don’t have to be in Sydney to get a Writers Festival Program for our students – it’s an English teachers dream!” Anonymous.