Bellingen 2018 Readers and Writers Festival

The Bellingen Readers & Writers Festival is returning on the long weekend in June with a star-studded cast of contemporary Australian writers, including cartoonist/philosopher Michael Leunig, foreign correspondent Peter Greste, ABC-TV Book Club panelist Marieke Hardy and author Don Watson.

With Aboriginal historian Bruce Pascoe, author/broadcaster Caroline Baum, music biographer Stuart Coupe and an extensive lineup of talented national, regional and local writers, the festival on June 8–10 promises to be fun, intimate, thought-provoking, engaging and occasionally challenging.

The festival’s keynote address will be presented by award-winning journalist and foreign correspondent Professor Peter Greste, who along with two of his colleagues, was arrested and jailed in Egypt in 2013.

His 2017 book The First Casualty is a “first-hand account of how the war on journalism has spread from the battlefields of the Middle East to the governments of the West”. 

Following his Saturday evening address, Peter will be joined by investigative journalist Wendy Bacon, Walkley Award winner Chris Nash, and photo-journalist Tim Page in a discussion panel titled ‘Real News, Fake News and the Future of Good Journalism’.

‘An Evening with Michael Leunig’ will conclude the festival on Sunday.

The acclaimed cartoonist-philosopher-poet will present his unique views on society and creativity.

He will take part in an in-depth conversation with Caroline Baum and treat the audience to some live Leunig drawing.

This is an event not to be missed.

“The 2018 festival offers an incredibly exciting and diverse program,” committee chair Jenni Clement said.

“It includes lots of opportunities for local enthusiasts to be involved, from the opening night’s ‘Poetry Slam’ to a weekend full of stellar writers and free events for young people.”

During the days leading up to the festival, an innovative Schools Program will bring a number of writers into schools in both Bellingen and Coffs Harbour.

With the festival presenting panel discussions, individual author sessions and workshops, featured genres will include History, Romance, Journalism, Sci-Fi, Memoir and Biography, Young Adults, Fiction, Music, Poetry and Publishing.

The list of remarkable authors featured at this year’s Readers & Writers Festival also includes ABC presenter Sunil Badami, Red Room Project poet Johanna Featherstone and Indigenous spoken-word performer Lorna Munro, alongside Jesse Blackadder, JM Donnelan, Sulari Gentill, Jessie Cole, Claire Aman, Alicia Tuckerman, Steve Bell, Robyn Sheahan-Bright, Kate Cole-Adams, Jenevieve  Chang, Fiona McArthur, Alli Sinclair, Dan Findlay, Catherine McKinnon, Amal Awad and a host of regional and local writers.

The full festival program with author bios can be viewed at

Festival Weekend and Sat/Sun Day passes, as well as individual session tickets are on sale from The Waterfall Way Information Centre in Bellingen.

Weekend and day passes, as well as tickets for Greste and Leunig evenings, and workshops are available online at: www.trybooking.com357795