The 2019 Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival has wrapped up after an overwhelmingly popular response to its program of ‘wild, weird and wonderful’ stories.
The 11th annual festival started spectacularly as former broadcaster and radio personality Verity James MC’d the festival launch which was headlined by writer, contrarian, activist and feminist, Professor Germaine Greer. Wadandi Cultural Custodian Iszaac Webb had the audience enthralled – as well as many of the headline guests it seemed – as he welcomed festival guests to Wadandi Boodja.
The festival drew sell-out crowds to most events on Saturday and Sunday, including those of Professor Greer and Australian icon Michael Leunig, with people coming from Perth and other parts of WA to experience the event, as well as a strong cohort of locals.
Festival Creative Director Tanya Perdue said she and Event Manager Michelle Wright enjoyed staging the event and seeing it all come together. “There were fits of laughter from the crowd any time William McInnes took the stage and perhaps more laughter than may have been expected in some of Germaine Greer’s sessions – along with a dose of controversy of course,” Ms Perdue said. “There was admiration for Michael Leunig’s uncanny ability to change the emotion of a character with a single stroke of his pen and tears as local writer Tom de Souza and Dr Gregory Peel Smith from NSW, shared their deeply personal stories and their aspirations for the future.”
‘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. There was a fabulous buzz – and there is already huge anticipation for next year’s festival,” she said.
The festival continues this week as the Young Readers & Writers Program tours authors to schools in the Shire of Augusta Margaret River and the City of Busselton to inspire a love of reading and writing in young people. Children’s authors Cristy Burne and Kylie Howarth will also appear for a free book signing event at the Margaret River Bookshop after school on Wednesday 15th May at 3.30pm – all are welcome.
Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival is proudly presented by Arts Margaret River Inc.
The Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival is soon to kick off with a range of ‘wild, weird and wonderful’ stories in line with this year’s theme. Festival Creative Director Tanya Perdue has shared with us some fabulous events happening at the Voyager Estate festival hub, as well as an exclusive Cape Lodge dinner you won’t want to miss out on, and free events for the whole family.
The Writers’ Room at Voyager Estate has some fabulous local writers with some amazing stories to tell,” she said. “Dunsborough-based artist and author Ian Mutch will take the stage on Friday to talk about his book More and More and More, while Stolen Generation mother and Wadandi Elder Sandra Hill and her daughter Tracie Pushman will speak about their journey home to family, culture and community. On Saturday, festival-goers will have the chance to see William McInnes and Dave Warner talk on cultural cringe in Aussie 2.0, a panel of editors and contributors talk on Woman of a Certain Age, and more. On Sunday, Dr Gregory Peel Smith will take the stage with local writer and photographer Tom de Souza in Back from off-track,” she said.
“These are just some of the many events happening in the Writers’ Room, and with tickets just $10 it makes the festival really accessible to those who might not have attended before. Plus, pensioners can access all Friday sessions in the Writers’ Room for free,” she said.
Ms Perdue also pegged the festival finale – a grand dinner at Cape Lodge – as a not be missed event. Memories, Media and Chateaubriand is being held at 6.30pm on Sunday 05 May and will see acclaimed Australian journalist and broadcaster, Geraldine Doogue, in conversation with former journalist and local personality Ian Parmenter. The lively evening of conversation, music, and nosh-stalgia will feature a grand dinner showcasing dishes from the 1970s and 80s, paired with top wines.
Over the weekend, the festival hub at Voyager Estate will come alive with a range of free activities and events, with free lunch time sessions at 1pm each day, book signings, a sculpture walk exhibition called Curious Creations, as well as a children’s storytelling tent, roving fairy, free music and entertainment between 11am and 2pm, food vans and more. Feature events and workshops will also take place at other locations around the region including at local libraries, cafes, pubs and restaurants.
The Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival is being held from 03-05 May on the picturesque grounds of Voyager Estate and is for anyone who loves reading, writing, cultural events, current affairs and of course, Margaret River.
Images – 2018 Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival, credit: Michelle Troop.
The State Government is proud to support the Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival as part of its Regional Events Program.
This 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 Country Arts WA.
Arts Margaret River is supported by the State Government of WA, Lotterywest and Country Arts WA.
Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival is thrilled to have former Margaret River resident Tanya Heaslip as part of its line-up of literary talent for the 3-day event, which runs from 03-05 May.
In 1994, with a battered copy of Let’s Go Europe stuffed in her backpack, Tanya Heaslip left her life as a lawyer in outback Australia and travelled to the post-communist Czech Republic. Having witnessed firsthand the fall of the Berlin Wall (and taken a piece of it back to her office in Alice Springs), she couldn’t stop dreaming about the once-hidden Eastern Europe.
With no teaching experience whatsoever, Tanya headed off to work at a high school in a Czech town she’d never heard of where the winters plunged to sub-zero temperatures. In the land of castles, history, music and culture her value system was turned on its head. Falling in love with Prague and its people, Tanya learnt about lives that were very different to hers.
Returning to Australia some years later, Tanya moved to Margaret River with her husband Steve Jarrett. She wrote about her Czech experiences while there and won a place in the Australian Society of Authors’ Mentorship Program.
On Saturday 04 May at 4pm, Tanya will launch her novel Alice to Prague at Riversmith Café in conversation with Margot Edwards as a feature event at this year’s Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival. Tanya is very much looking forward to the event in which she will share the bittersweet story of her search for identity, belonging and love, set in a time, a place and with a man that filled her life with contradictions.
“I’m so excited to be coming back to Margaret River where I wrote the first draft of my book,” she said. “During our seven years in Margs, I made many wonderful friends who supported me in the writing journey, and it is such a thrill to share this book with them at last!”
Tanya will then join journalist-turned-novelist Chris Hammer, together with writer and musician Dave Warner, on Sunday 05 May at 3.30pm at the Voyager Estate festival hub, for an intriguing talk titled Strange Things in Small Towns.
Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival is running a special offer for locals to attend Tanya Heaslip’s Book Launch at Riversmith Café – simply use the code word ‘LOCAL’ to access $10 tickets and to go into the draw to win an Alice to Prague Prize Pack, including a copy of the book, a bottle of Voyager Estate wine and a $30 Riversmith Voucher. The winner will be announced at the event.
Geraldine Doogue AO will join MRRWF line-up of literary talent for the 3-day event, which runs from 03-05 May.
Born and raised in Perth, Geraldine Doogue is a renowned Australian journalist and broadcaster who has carved out an enviable reputation across print, television and radio, working on The Australian, ABC’s Nationwide, 2UE, Channel 10 news and hosting ABC TV’s Compass program.
In her ongoing role as presenter of the ABC Radio National program Saturday Extra and ABC TV’s Compass, Geraldine continues to tackle a wide range of subjects with rigour, optimism, humour and warmth.
On the Saturday of the festival, Geraldine will take the stage to interview festival headliner Professor Germaine Greer on her controversial new essay, On Rape, in which Professor Greer argues that centuries of different approaches to rape, as inflicted by men on women, have got us nowhere and there has to be a better way.
On Sunday, Geraldine will interview Professor Greer in a session titled Protecting Wild Places, which recounts Professor Greer’s experience of rehabilitating 60ha of forest in southeast Queensland.
Festival Creative Director Tanya Perdue is ecstatic that Geraldine has agreed to join the festival “Having an articulate, talented journalist like Geraldine Doogue interviewing Professor Greer adds yet another level to what’s already expected to be two outstanding events,” she said. “There is really something special about experiencing a talented interviewer draw out all sorts of interesting perspectives from an author, especially one as revered as Professor Greer. While tickets to Germaine Greer: On Rape have already sold out, a limited number of tickets to Protecting Wild Places remain,” she said.
On Sunday night, Geraldine Doogue will join local personality and former ABC journalist Ian Parmenter for an exclusive dinner at Cape Lodge, called Memories, Media, and Chateaubriand – a lively evening of conversation, music, and nosh-stalgia. Geraldine will be in conversation with Ian as they reflect on their early days in the Perth media landscape and what has happened since. The evening will feature a grand four-course dinner prepared by Chef Tony Howell showcasing dishes from the 1970s and 80s, paired with top wines. Plus, with live music and an exhibition of works by legendary cartoonist Paul Rigby, the premium event is the perfect chance to continue the celebrations once the main program concludes.
Memories, Media, and Chateaubriand tickets: $175 | Arts Hub Members: $165
Includes Pre dinner drinks, 4 Course Dinner with wines and plenty of entertainment!
Book your tickets online, call (08) 97587316 or visit Arts Margaret River Box Office at the Community Centre, Tunbridge St, Margaret River.