Booker Prize winner the RW patron
DUAL Booker Prize winner Peter Carey, one of Australia’s most celebrated writers, will be honorary patron of the Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival.
The inaugural event takes place from April 8 to 10.
Peter Carey’s connection with the Bellingen area stretches back to the mid-1980s when he was resident in the Promised Land.
During this time he wrote his acclaimed novel Illywhacker and forged an influential friendship with local icon and writer, the late Jack Iggulden.
From his home in New York, Mr Carey said he was delighted to be patron of the new Festival.
“The area is so deeply a part of who I am that it is a shock to realise the short period of time, three years – the time that it took to write Illywhacker – that I lived near Bellingen,” Mr Carey said.
“In that time, I made a number of good friends but none better than Jack Iggulden, who had been publishing stories and novels well before I broke my first Olivetti Letter 24.
“It was through Jack’s particular lens that I saw so much of the landscape and people of Bellingen.
“Jack and I shared the early days of the fight over the little church at Glennifer. It was Jack, of course, who did the fighting but the church he sought to protect is the church that led to Oscar and Lucinda.
“I’m sure there were writers in Bellingen before Jack but he is the one for me. He was a grand and mad old bugger.
“Together with Helen, his life-long partner, he maintained the most fantastic book-cluttered table.
“I like to think of this important new festival as an extension of that great shambolic table – a place of beauty, comradeship, wonder and joy.”
Earlybird weekend passes are available through the festival website – www. brwf.com.au – at a discounted price of $95 ($110 after the full release of tickets on February 5).
The weekend program features many popular and acclaimed Australian writers for all ages including Robert Drewe, Michael Robotham, Debra Adelaide, Leslie Cannold, Steven Herrick, Sophie Masson, Deb Abela and more. The late Jack Iggulden will be remembered through a literary lunch named in his honour and an ongoing writers’ award.