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Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival announces new Festival Director for 2021

Arts Margret River is pleased to announce the appointment of Sian Baker as the new Festival Director for Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival 2021.

Sian will be taking over the reins from outgoing Creative Director, Tanya Perdue, and Festival Events Manager Michelle Wright who has stepped into the role of General Manager for Arts Margaret River.

Sian fell in love with the Margaret River region on her first visit many years ago and is now proud to call the region home. She has worked extensively in the festival space creating, programming and producing highly successful festivals and has run marketing and communications companies in both the UK and Australia. She is passionate about creating events that give audiences positive lasting experiences and that deliver real impact and support for local communities.

“I’m extremely honoured and excited to be offered this opportunity to work on such a fantastic high profile event, building on the amazing work that Tanya and Michelle have done to create a festival that can truly stand shoulder to shoulder with great literary events around the world”.

“In our post COVID-19 world, the opportunities to innovate and evolve the festival and to take our audience on that journey with us, presents an incredible and rewarding challenge for me and I can’t wait to get started.”

Following the cancellation of the 2020 festival due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the festival team have been hard at work creating the program for 2021 which will see a new creative theme and a packed schedule of Australian writers, journalists, poets and thinkers plus special guests musicians, artists and performers. The addition of satellite locations and new ways to attend the festival is also being explored with the aim of opening the festival up to a greater audience outside of Australia.

The Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival will be held from 14 – 16 May 2021 at the Margaret River HEART.

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Arts Margaret River are pleased to announce it has successfully secured funding for the Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival (MRRWF) for the next three years (2021-2023) through the Regional Events Scheme (RES), which is supported by the State Government through Tourism Western Australia and Royalties for Regions.

The news was a welcome relief in what has been a difficult year for Arts Margaret River, after this year’s festival along with all of Arts Margaret River’s events, spanning music, theatre, dance and more, were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Festival Organisers Tanya Perdue and Michelle Wright said they were thrilled the funding had been confirmed through the Regional Events Scheme in what they anticipated would be a tough period ahead for securing grants and sponsorships. “Having confirmation of RES Funding provides us with the basis to continue planning future festivals”, Ms Wright said. “We’re also delighted that the festival’s successes in strengthening the regional economy through visitor spend, adding vibrancy to the community and helping raise the profile of the region has been recognised.”

The festival has previously welcomed some of the country’s most ambitious and successful writers to the stage including Michael Leunig, Anna Funder, Kerry O’Brien, Clementine Ford, Rosie Batty, Jane Caro, Bruce Pascoe, Stephanie Alexander, as well as international writers Germaine Greer, Geraldine Brooks and Michael Palin. While its 2020 event was not to be, the duo confirmed there would plenty to look forward to in 2021 with a Mini Festival slated for January 23, and the full festival scheduled to take place from 14-16 May 2021 with a new and exciting program and range of literary voices.

For further information, please contact Arts Margaret River on 9758 7316 (back in the office from 2 June) or visit the festival website www.mrrwfestival.com.

The State Government is proud to support the Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival as part of its Regional Events Scheme.

The project is also supported by the Australian Governments regional arts program, the Regional Arts Fund, which gives all Australians better access to opportunities to practice and experience the arts. The Regional Arts Fund is administered in Western Australia by Regional Arts WA.

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Image Credit: Michelle Troop

Sian

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This week Arts Margaret River have made the inevitable but nonetheless devastating decision to cancel this year’s Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival which was scheduled to run from 15-17 May 2020.

In light of current public health advice regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19), and non-essential indoor public gatherings of more than 100 people, there is not a feasible way for the event to proceed given the current situation.

We are immensely proud of this year’s program, for which tickets were released just two weeks ago. While we are deeply saddened that we will not have the opportunity to deliver the festival to our reading & writing community, we must put the health and safety of our patrons, staff and guests above all else.

This is an unprecedented and challenging time for everyone and we recognise that the cancellation of this year’s festival will have a significant impact on the writers who were going to be a part of it, as well as our sponsors, many who are local businesses who so generously lend their support to our not-for-profit event each year.

We encourage our community and audiences to support the authors whose books were to be featured – head to the Margaret River Bookshop to buy them, and please support the local businesses who so generously support us. Treat yourself to some Voyager Estate and Vasse Felix Wines, head out to Cape Lodge for a scrumptious dinner, or to Morries for a yummy cocktail. The list goes on – check out our full list of 2020 Partners on our website. If you have booked accommodation, consider keeping it. Margaret River is still open for businesses and we are surrounded by so much natural beauty to enjoy.

The 2020 festival now provides a wide-ranging reading list featuring some of the country’s most ambitious and successful writers. Please follow our social media pages as we highlight, support and celebrate the work of these writers over the coming months.

Customers who purchased tickets for the 2020 Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival are currently being reimbursed for their tickets via their original payment method.

If you would like to make a tax deductible donation to the festival, you can to do so from our website, or call us on 08 9758 7316 (Mon-Fri, 10am-4pm) and you will receive a receipt as well as our heartfelt thanks. Funds received will help to assist Arts Margaret River to get through this tumultuous period after which we will again bring you engaging, inspiring and accessible arts events such as the Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival.

We are very grateful for the loyalty and understanding of the arts & literature community – and most importantly to the readers who make this event what it is – a fabulous celebration of storytelling and ideas. We wish you well during this time and look forward to seeing you at the festival in 2021.

From the Festival Team & Arts Margaret River 

For further information, please contact Arts Margaret River on 9758 7316 or visit the festival website www.mrrwfestival.com

The State Government is proud to support the Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival as part of its Regional Events Scheme.  

The project is also supported by the Australian Governments regional arts program, the Regional Arts Fund, which gives all Australians better access to opportunities to practice and experience the arts. The Regional Arts Fund is administered in Western Australia by Regional Arts WA.

Sian

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Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival (MRRWF), presented by Arts Margaret River, is geared up for an inspiring, intriguing and thought-provoking 3-day event from 15-17 May 2020, featuring Los Angeles-based Australian author Matthew Reilly.

The author who has given his readers dragons, hovering cars and ancient wonders, will visit Margaret River to talk about his latest book The Secret Runners of New York, a riveting time travel story centred on rumours of a coming global apocalypse – in sync with this year’s festival theme Future Tense.

The festival’s line up of literary talent also includes Walkley Award winning Australian columnist, author, broadcaster and social commentator Jane Caro who will speak about her latest book Accidental Feminists. Jane Caro will be joined by author and journalist Tracey Spicer AM and Russian-born, Israeli-Australian writer Dr Lee Kofman for a glimpse into the future from a female perspective and the power of the hashtag in creating social change.

Lifelong activist, acclaimed author and former leader of the Australian Greens, Bob Brown will share his inspirations and thoughts as told in Planet Earth, at a breakfast event to be held at Voyager Estate. He will also be taking the stage at the Margaret River HEART with his partner Paul Thomas, to give festival-goers the chance to see the spectacular Australian landscape through the eyes of two of our environment’s greatest activists.

Fellow Tasmanian, Heather Rose, the Australian author of eight novels including The Museum of Modern Love which won the 2017 Stella Prize, will also join the line-up to speak about her latest book Bruny. Bruny is a fictional near-future novel about family, love, loyalty and the new world order and prompts you to ask yourself what you would do to protect the place you love.

Hong Kong-based Australian writer and lawyer Antony Dapiran will share his insights on the Hong Kong riots as told in his latest book City on Fire, and Professor of Artificial Intelligence Toby Walsh will speak about 2062: The World that A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) Made.

Claire G. Coleman who wrote her black&write! fellowship-winning book Terra Nullius while travelling around Australia in a caravan will talk about her second novel The Old Lie which is set in a futuristic fictional world, where Indigenous Australian characters have one desire: to return to their home, to country.

Festival Creative Director Tanya Perdue said the program reflects on the current concerns and aspirations of many Australians with writers set to speak on a range of topics from climate change to consumerism, artificial intelligence, equality and political affairs. “This festival is a fabulously intriguing blend of fiction, fact and fiction based on fact,” she said.

“Literature and the arts has such a huge role to play in the way we look at and tackle the future and I’m thrilled that we have so many fabulous writers coming to the region to bring their books to life,” she said. “Rest assured though, if future-gazing is not your thing we have lots of exciting sessions on everything from the origin of fairy tales to crime fiction, women’s fiction and more.”

“With writers from overseas and across Australia, including top WA and local talents, this year’s program is sure to spark curiosity and ignite debate,” she said. “We look forward to welcoming festival-goers to the newly opened Margaret River HEART as well as holding feature events at much-loved venues across the region including Voyager Estate, Swings Taphouse, Morries, Riversmith Café and more.

Tickets to the 2020 Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival will be available for purchase online from 10am on Tuesday 3 March at www.mrrwfestival.com, by phone 08 9758 7316, or from the Arts Margaret River Box Office, Margaret River Community Centre, Tunbridge Street, Margaret River.

The State Government is proud to support the Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival as part of its Regional Events Scheme.  

The project is also supported by the Australian Governments regional arts program, the Regional Arts Fund, which gives all Australians better access to opportunities to practice and experience the arts. The Regional Arts Fund is administered in Western Australia by Regional Arts WA.

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Sian

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Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival (MRRWF) is pleased to announce the Governor of Western Australia, the Honourable Kim Beazley AC as the new patron of the annual literary festival which is set to take place again from 15-17 May next year.

The Honourable Kim Beazley AC succeeds long-time festival patron Barry House AM who was the President of the Legislative Council before retiring in 2017.

The Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival, which in 2020 will celebrate its twelfth year, is Arts Margaret River’s flagship annual literary event which aims to foster a love of literature, spark debate and ignite conversations amongst its audience of locals and guests from WA, interstate and overseas.

MRRWF Creative Director Tanya Perdue says it is an exciting time for the festival as the profile of the event continues to grow. “Barry House has made an outstanding contribution to the festival and has been with us the whole way, as we’ve changed the focus and direction of the event to appeal to a wider audience of arts and culture enthusiasts,” she said.

“The festival is delighted to officially welcome the Honourable Kim Beazley AC as Patron of the event going forward. We look forward to his contribution in this advocacy role, as he helps the festival to attract larger audiences from Perth and beyond, to experience Margaret River as a destination for literature and the arts.”

As an arts and culture advocate, the Governor said he was honoured to be selected as Patron for the festival, an important event that contributes significantly to the arts scene in regional WA.

“Advocating for the State as a rich and vibrant arts, cultural, educational and tourism destination is one of my priorities as Governor.  I am delighted to support the Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival which makes an important contribution in enabling access to literature and the arts in South West WA,” he said.

“The festival has grown from a grass-roots initiative to one which plays an important role in the promotion of new ideas, debate and discussion and the sharing of Western Australian stories within that.  The cultural, economic and social benefits that flow on from the Festival continue to increase”.

This week, the festival has also unveiled its theme for next year’s event which will be Future Tense, showcasing stories which look at both possible and highly imagined futures through a literary lens to explore and share visions for the future from some of Australia’s most renowned writers, speakers and thinkers. The Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival will be held from 15-17 May 2020 at the Margaret River HEART. To find out more visit www.mrrwfestival.com

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Sian