I love regional festivals, and they hold a special place in my heart: the very first festival I took part in as a writer was one (sadly now defunct) in Albany, where I discussed my debut novel, The Sinkings. The historic murder that is at the centre of Little Jock’s story in The Sinkings took place at a lonely campsite near Albany, and one of the thrills of my writing life was when several Albany residents introduced themselves to me at the festival as descendants of the real people who feature in the novel.
The York Festival—a diverse, family-friendly multi-arts festival held in the historic town of York—has been running for many years. But this year its program includes a one-day writers festival, curated by the wonderful William Yeoman and featuring some fabulous Western Australian writers—many of them introducing new books.
The writers festival, to be held on Saturday 2 October, is divided into several sets:
The Fiction Set: Skyglow by Leslie Thiele, Wherever You Go by Monique Mulligan and Locust Summer by David Allan-Petale, with a discussion on Truth in Fiction
The Crime Set: The River Mouth by Karen Herbert and Death Leaves the Station by Alexander Thorpe, and a panel on Criminal Speculations
The Non-Fiction Set: Isolation by Stephen Scourfield and Many Maps by Bill and Jenny Bunbury, with what sounds like a fascinating conversation entitled Westralia Triumphant?
The Children’s Set: Beneath the Trees by Cristy Burne, The Wrecker’s Curse by Norman Jorgensen and Where Do Stars Go? by Katie Stewart, and a panel on Writing for Children
The Poetry Set: John Kinsella, Caitlin Maling, Fr Robert Nixon and Rose van Son, and a discussion on Wordmusic
There’s also a Long Table Breakfast, featuring Stephen Scourfield and Will Yeoman, with proceeds going to the local River Conservation Society.
Details and bookings here (check the ‘Writers’ box).
I’m thrilled to be taking part in the festival, chairing sessions with Monique Mulligan (10.30am), Cristy Burne (11.30am) and Rose van Son (4.30pm). In this episode of the festival’s Pod Fiction podcast, Will Yeoman and I talk about these sessions and the festival in general.
York, situated on Ballardong Nyoongar land, is 98 kilometres east of Perth—a short drive for Perth residents. It is the oldest inland town in the state (established 1835), and really worth visiting, with its heritage buildings and vibrant arts scene.
I’d love to see you there.