Hot topics to be discussed at Readers and Writers Festival

George Negus enjoys a glass of red and a good read at his Bellingen home.
George Negus enjoys a glass of red and a good read at his Bellingen home. UTE SCHULENBERG

NEXT month's Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival will continue to challenge and encourage debate in the relaxed and casual atmosphere that it is known for.

Sessions on a range of crucial topics will be held including a panel discussion on mining and nuclear energy and George Negus in conversation with David Marr exploring political leadership.

Another highlight of this year's festival will be a celebration of women writers and writing in Australia.

"Our celebration of women writers and writing is timely given the fierce debate regarding the underrepresentation of women writers in literary awards," the festival's program manager, Annette Marfording, said.

"We are very pleased to have Sophie Cunningham, Chair of the Australia Council's Literature Board as a festival guest and she will host a special session celebrating the Stella Prize, the newly created prize for women writers."

In compiling the remainder of this year's program, Ms Marfording said that in addition to drawing attention to the gender imbalances in literary culture, there were a number of other critical issues that also needed debate.

"Now in its third year, our unique Festival continues to go from strength to strength and the 2013 program will offer something for everyone interested in reading and ideas with panels and forums covering topics such as the decline of political standards, mining, nuclear energy and native title," she said.

Program highlights include:

  • Historical Events through the Lens of Fiction and Non-fiction with Bill Gammage, Drusilla Modjeska and Belinda Castles. Chair: Venero Armanno;
  • Political Leadership: Personality or Policy? George Negus in conversation with David Marr;
  • The Biggest Estate on Earth Bill Gammage talks to John Bennett about writing history and his multi-award winning book on how Aborigines made the Australian landscape;
  • Dangerous Activities: Mining and Nuclear Energy with Paul Cleary, senior writer with the Australian, researcher in public policy at the Australian National University and author of Mine-field, The Men Who Came Out of the Ground and Too Much Luck: The Mining Boom and Australia's Future, Sharyn Munro, author of Rich Land, Wasteland - how coal is killing Australia which arose from her empathy with the people and places of the Hunter Valley being devastated from runaway open-cut coalmining, and former diplomat, Richard Broinowski Chair: George Negus;
  • How to get nonfiction published in literary journals with Jessie Cole, Mette Jakobsen and Romy Ash. Chair: Sophie Cunningham;
  • Anglo-Saxon Writers' Portraits of Aboriginal People with Melissa Lucashenko in conversation with Jeanine Leane;
  • The art of writing non-fiction with David Marr and Drusilla Modjeska (Contributing chair: Stephanie Dowrick); and
  • Native Title in Fiction and Non-fiction with Melissa Lucashenko and Patti Miller (Chair: Annette Marfording)

Dorrigo will also host two events:

  • All you've ever wanted to know about mining and its impact at the Dorrigo Hall, 7pm Thursday 21 March, with Paul Cleary and Sharyn Munro; and
  • Bill Gammage, author of the multi-award winning The Biggest Estate on Earth, on how Aboriginal people made the Australian landscape at the Dorrigo Rainforest Centre, Friday 22 March at 10.15am.

The Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival takes place in Bellingen, Dorrigo and Coffs Harbour from March 22 to 24.

To purchase day and weekend passes, and for full program details and author biographies, go to www.bellingenwritersfestival.com.au

Tickets are also available in person or by telephone from Roots Records, 2/52 Hyde Street, Bellingen, phone 6655 2159.

Topics:  bellingen readers and writers festival george negus

Brave boy uncovers man's cow sex, child sexual abuse

A beast in the main arena at the 2012 Ekka.

Police praise boy for testimony of man's abuse and sex with a cow

Airport set to reach new heights

Coffs Harbour, airport terminal. 08 DECEMBER 2015. Photo Trevor Veale/Coffs Coast Advocate

Coffs Regional Airport prepares for $5 million upgrade

State Government minister to address Coffs Harbour chamber

NSW Small Business Minister John Barilaro.

Minister John Barilaro to address Coffs Harbour Chamber

Local Partners

Family's new arrival in face of tragedy

MEL Small had already gone into labour when she learned of the tragic fate of her sister Jodie Spears.

Survive and support this Pink Ribbon Day

Denise Bass, Kathy Clough and cancer survivor Dorothy Lockart at Pink Ribbon Day stall in the mall.

Cancer survivors often say the diagnosis is the toughest part.

Blooming Woolgoolga

Handmade flowers have brought colour to mental health in Woolgoolga.

HANDMADE flowers have brought colour to mental health in Woolgoolga.

Barry Gibb is coming to Bluesfest 2017

FANS: Barry Gibb talks to a fan next to a cardboard cutout of his young self.

Aged 70, Gibb has re-launched his solo music career with a new album

Taylor Swift files lawsuit over alleged groping

Taylor Swift source Bang

Swift has commenced legal action against a DJ over the incident

Kanye West threatens to boycott Grammys

West says he won't go to the Grammys if Frank Ocean's not nominated

Why this actress wasn't embarrassed by nude photo leak

Leslie Jones source Bang

'If you wanna see Leslie Jones naked, just ask,' she said

Dad's Army comic genius Jim Perry dies

Jimmy Perry, the creator of Dad's Army.

Dad's Army series captured all that British people savour

Check out some fashions from the Coast festival

FASHION: Ocean Zen range.

Images from the Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival show what's hot

Australian Survivor's magician Matt out of tricks

Australian Survivor contestant Matt Tarrant.

SHOW'S power couple looks unstoppable in race to the finish.

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

Dusit Thani finance crisis 'just a small hiccup'

ON TRACK: Springfield Land Chairman, Maha Sinnathamby, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, Developer Richard Turner and Springfield Land Deputy Chairman, Bob Sharpless, at the recent resort sod turning ceremony.

Property developer says project remains firmly on track