The 2017 Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival has wrapped up after an overwhelmingly popular response to its inspiring program aimed at bringing stories to life.
The 9th annual festival started spectacularly with writer and social commentator Jane Caro as MC for an evening of entertainment on Friday night. Headline international author Michael Palin drew the crowds to the launch event and to a standalone event on Saturday where he shared his adventures in the Himalayas, Africa and a Dutch town in Japan.
Renowned Australian Journalist Kerry O’Brien revealed some of the stories from his 50-year career in a feature event at Voyager Estate winery while also discussing his book Keating and participating in a discussion on Media & Politics with Jane Caro.
Stephanie Alexander, Robert Drewe and Clementine Ford all had sell-out events and Indigenous writer Bruce Pascoe held the audience in his hand, with his compelling description of aboriginal agriculture prior to colonisation. Isabelle Li spoke about her book A Chinese Affair, which is considered a novel but consists of sixteen connected short stories.
West Australian writer Rashida Murphy spoke of her novel inspired by the Iranian revolution, while Josephine Wilson spoke about her latest novel Extinctions which was recently long listed for the Miles Franklin award.
In a festival first, sessions ran in parallel for much of the weekend, as did the storytelling tent, which had young readers spilling out the door to create comics with James Foley and hear stories from many other children’s authors.
Festival Director Tanya Perdue said she was delighted that audiences had responded so well to the program. “The idea was always to encourage, challenge and inspire a diverse audience,” she said.
“This year we sold over 5,600 tickets excluding free events. We have been fortunate to retain local support while also garnering a bigger and better reputation further afield, putting the event firmly on the literary festival circuit.”
“With such a diverse and talented line-up of writers from WA, interstate and beyond, there was a feeling of excitement not only for the event in progress but also for what the future of the festival may hold,” she said.
The State Government is proud to support the Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival through Tourism WA’s Regional Events Program.
Image: Full Circle with Michael Palin by Elements Margaret River