Literary festival a success story
FOR Brian Purcell, the opening night of the inaugural Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival was one of the best days of his life.
After months of planning and organising, the event he had dreamed of for so long was finally off the page and out in the world.
What followed – full literary sessions, open-hearted authors, engaged and curious visitors, not to mention fabulous weather – was possibly one of the best weekends of his life.
Writers, poets and participants were unanimous in pronouncing the first festival a huge success.
Linchpin of the organising team, Rod Howard, said the weekend had many highlights but a standout moment was Friday night’s poetry slam, which saw more than 300 people pack into the local bowling club to watch performances by poets from near and far.
“There is a real appetite to see this page to stage with poetry,” Mr Howard said.
“The high energy of many of the performances was really exciting.”
Another treat was crime fiction writer Michael Robotham’s highly entertaining speech at Saturday’s literary lunch.
“Talking about some of the weird and wacky experiences he’s had at other festivals, Michael showed himself to be a true master of the anecdote.”
Audiences also enjoyed George Negus and his opinions – on everything from state governments to Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi to life in the Promised Land – during the Jack Iggulden Memorial session on Saturday afternoon.
Writers and poets said they were gratified by the involvement of participants and those who made it to sessions in the rainforest and on the river were effusive about the settings and the words they heard.
Financially, organisers say they’ve stayed in the black and will be back with fresh ideas next year.