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Arts Margaret River is preparing for its 10th annual Readers & Writers Festival to be held next year and is seeking a talented Festival Director to take the reins from outgoing Director Tanya Perdue.

General Manager Andrew Frith said Arts Margaret River were looking for a proactive individual with an interest in literature and proven experience in event management. “With the upgrade of the Cultural Centre next year, this will be the first Readers & Writers Festival to be held at another location”, he said. “We are really excited about how the plans for next year are shaping up and encourage people with event management experience to apply.”

Current Festival Director Tanya Perdue said her move from the role was bittersweet. “This has been more of a lifestyle than a job for me”, she said. “I am really looking forward to settling back into family life with a new addition on the way and I hope to stay involved with Arts Margaret River and the Readers & Writers Festival in the years to come”.

The 2017 festival had an overwhelmingly popular response to its inspiring program aimed at bringing stories to life with 6,410 seats sold across the 3-day event which featured Michael Palin, Kerry O’Brien, Clementine Ford, Robert Drewe, Stephanie Alexander and many more.

Ms Perdue hinted that the program for 2018 would again feature an array of international, Australian and local talents with the new Director being responsible for the delivery of the event from booking author flights and accommodation, through to sponsorship management, marketing and managing the event itself. “The variety in this role is one of the best things about it,” Ms Perdue said. “I will be working with the new Director and the Arts Margaret River team to make sure this is one of the best festivals yet – stay tuned over the next few weeks as we will soon be announcing the 2018 dates, theme and venue. An announcement will also be made once a new Festival Director has been secured.

For more information on the Margaret Readers & Writers Festival visit www.mrrwfestival.com or to apply for the role of 2018 Festival Director visit www.artsmargaretriver.com/news/jobs



Arts Margaret River is pleased to announce it has signed a three-year agreement with Country Arts WA to help strengthen its annual Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival.

Country Arts WA will provide $25,000 per year, for three years to assist the annual Readers & Writers Festival from 2018-2020. This will be used to help cover the costs of the festival, as the scale and quality of the event grows significantly each year.

Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival Director, Tanya Perdue said “Country Arts WA have been a long standing supporter of Arts Margaret River and we are delighted to have them on board as supporters of our flagship event, the Readers & Writers Festival, for the next 3 years.”

“The Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival has become an iconic arts event in the Margaret River region and promotes the sharing of ideas, discussion, debate and storytelling,” she said. “This 3 year funding will help us to ensure the event continues to provide social, cultural, educational and economic benefits as the event builds momentum throughout the region, as well as other parts of Western Australia, interstate and overseas.”

The 2017 festival featured more than 50 writers and presenters and had a total audience of over 10,000 (including the Young Readers & Writers Festival). The festival features author talks, interviews, Q&As, panel discussions, a Festival Workshop Series, feature events at some of the region’s best loved venues as well as opportunities for emerging writers and self-published authors.

In 2018 Arts Margaret River will celebrate the tenth anniversary of the not-for-profit festival which aims to foster a love of literature and the arts.


Image: Ian Parmenter, Stephanie Alexander and Anna Gare talk ‘Food for thought’ with Amanda Smith at the 2017 Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival. Image by Elements Margaret River.



Rusty Young, author of the international bestselling book Marching Powder, is set to visit Margaret River to talk about his latest book Colombiano as an out-of-season fundraising event for the Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival, to be held at the Cultural Centre on Wednesday 9 August at 6.30pm.

When law-graduate Rusty Young was backpacking through South America, fate drew him to Bolivia. After a visit to the notorious San Pedro Prison where he met and befriended the charismatic drug-smuggler Thomas McFadden, he remained in Bolivia to write Thomas’ story – a book that became the worldwide bestseller Marching Powder.

Blending fact and fiction, Rusty Young’s second book Colombiano takes us on a heart-thumping journey into the violent and unpredictable world of post-Escobar Colombia. For seven years Rusty Young lived and worked in Colombia, interviewing special forces soldiers, snipers, undercover intelligence agents and members of two vicious terrorist organisations – the FARC and Autodefensas. During this time he was both shocked and touched by the stories of child soldiers he encountered. He vowed to one day turn their tales into a book and let their voices be heard. Colombiano is due to be released at the end of July and Rusty Young will join us here at the Margaret River Cultural Centre to talk about his writing and his latest book.

Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival Director Tanya Perdue encouraged the community to come along to meet Rusty as he reveals the stories behind his latest gripping book. “Those of you who have read Marching Powder or who have a fascination with South America simply can’t miss this event,” she said. “Rusty’s first book is extremely well-read and I’m sure a lot of people will be keen to hear him talk about his latest book in our first out-of-season event following on from this year’s festival.”

“Bring your friends, get your hands on a copy of Colombiano and meet the author. It will be a fascinating night out and a once in a lifetime chance to ask questions about Rusty’s life and writing,” she said.

Tickets to Rusty Young’s Author Talk are $10 with funds going towards the 2018 Readers & Writers Festival. Drinks will be available for purchase. Tickets available from www.mrrwfestival.com/whats-on, by phone 08 9758 7316 or in person at the Margaret River Cultural Centre Box Office, 51 Wallcliffe Road, Margaret River.




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



As Margaret River gears up for its 9th annual Readers and Writers Festival local school students are being entertained and inspired by six authors as part of the Margaret River Young Readers & Writers Festival being held from 22 May – 02 June 2017.

Over 3,500 school children are expected to participate in author talks at schools as part of the 2017 Young Readers & Writers Festival – from Busselton to Margaret River, Karridale, Nannup and Augusta.

Authors this year include author and illustrator James Foley whose books include My Dead Bunny which was shortlisted for Picture Book of the Year in the 2016 Children’s Book Council of Australia Awards and The Last Viking which won a 2012 Children’s Book Council of Australia Junior Judges Award, amongst several others.

Felice Arena’s books have topped bestseller lists and garnered several awards, including six Australian Children’s Choice Book Awards. His works include the incredibly popular Specky Magee series, the hilarious Farticus Maximus books, Whippersnapper, Wish, the Boyz-Rule and Girlz-Rock books, the action-packed bionic-hero series Andy Roid, and most recently the Sporty Kids series.

David Hunt will showcase his book The Nose Pixies, which is a hilarious picture book with a grossness that kids will love and a message that parents will adore. He will also talk on Australian history (with a good dose of humour of course), as depicted in his adult books Girt and True Girt.

Abdi Aden will share his experiences of growing up in Somalia, while Tim Baker will talk surfing and Sophie Hardcastle will speak on her experiences with bipolar 1 disorder. Sophie has written two books Running like China and Breathing Under Water and is now a mental health spokesperson for Batyr. She was recently named as one of Triple j’s ’25 Under 25 who are nailing it!’.

Festival Director Tanya Perdue said she was really pleased with the response from local schools. “Schools from Busselton to Augusta and everywhere in between are really excited about this years’ authors,” she said. “There’s something really special about giving kids the chance to meet the authors of the books they know and love – and to share a broader perspective as well.”

“This program would not be possible without the support of the Rotary Club of Margaret River, Margaret River

& Busselton Lions Clubs, Shire of Augusta-Margaret River, City of Busselton, Cowaramup Lions Club & Dunsbourough Lions Club. I would like to pass on my thanks to these organisations who help us to keep costs low and participation high. Providing opportunities for country kids to have access to such amazing writers and illustrators is what it’s all about,” she said.


Image credit: Christa Walsh