On the write track

Preparing for this month’s Bendigo Writers Festival, Barkers Creek-based festival founder Rosemary Sorensen has cause to celebrate.
After working on some of the nation’s leading metro writers’ festivals, the Castlemaine district local accurately identified the potential for a writers’ fest in Bendigo more than seven years ago.
“Now we have more than 15,000 seats during the festival,” Ms Sorensen reflects as she chats to the Midland Express from her bushland home just out of Castlemaine.
“Each year it grows a little – but we’re not interested in making it much bigger.”
To be staged over August 10-12, this year’s seventh running will welcome more than 150 notable writers for a packed program of 100 events across three days in six venues including Bendigo’s Ulumbarra Theatre.
International guests include street-farm pioneer Michael Ableman, bestselling creator of Vera and Shetland Ann Cleeves, investigative journalist Carey Gillam, novelist and essayist Matt Haig, North Korean refugee advocate Hyeonseo Lee, writer and peace advocate Sarah Sentilles and inspirational performer, poet and education ambassador Lemn Sissay.
Benjamin Law, Lindy Burns, Kitty Flanagan, Tracey Spicer and Morris Gleitzman are just a some of the Aussie creatives on the program.
“What we want to do is keep the quality of the events but we do know that people like to have either a festival pass – a three-day pass – and some want to come for just one event so we’ve got a whole lot of single events. So that could bump our numbers up this year,” Ms Sorensen says.
“We’ve got eight internationals this year – an increase in internationals because we’ve been able to collaborate with other festivals.
“Finally we’re on the map which is terrific, and because we’ve got such big venues we can get international guests.
“If you want to come just to have look at the festival and be part of it for one event we’ve got a Share Fair in Trades Hall on the Sunday which is absolutely free.
“The Small Press Network’s coming up to talk about why Small Press Publishing is so good and how to get your own book published. You can talk to experts there about starting your own project.”
More information: Bendigowritersfestival.com.au

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