This weekend I attended the Newcastle Writers' Festival! This year the event took place at The University of Newcastle's NUspace campus in the city, rather than Newcastle City Hall. The shift in the venue was a fitting change, with 2023 being their 10th Anniversary.
The first event I attended this year was 'Should I Quit My Day Job' featuring Isobel Beech, Shelley Burr, and George Haddad, hosted by Amy Lovatt. It was the perfect start to the festival for me, delving into deep discussions about how these traditionally published writers' lives 'changed' after receiving their first publishing deals, the positions they were in then and where they are now in their various careers after their debuts were released.
I then explored Chapter 10, an exhibition at Blackstone Gallery featuring 20 local artists who created works in response to the authors featured at NWF this year. The opening event was delightful to attend. It was interesting to read how these artists were inspired by the works of these writers.
Saturday I finished the day by listening to the poetry stylings of local poets Gillian Swain, Ellen Shelley, Jeanette Hoppe, and Magdalena Ball at the Press Book House. Unfortunately, Magdalena was unable to attend the evening, but we were still able to hear her words through a reading by a friend. The event was launching the latest edition of the 'Women of Words' poetry collection, curated by Jeanette.
On Sunday I began my day with a quick stop at the Press Book House for coffee, before heading over to listen to the panel 'Girls, Interrupted' featuring Meg Vertigan & Kate Ryan. It was an intriguing session featuring readings by the authors. After the event, I headed to the festival bookshop, run by local bookseller Maclean's Bookshop, to collect a copy of Meg's book 'The Strong Dress' for her to sign.
Afterwards, I headed to 'Short & Sweet', a panel about novellas featuring Ashley Kalagian Blunt and Susan McCreery, hosted by Michael Sala. The event explored the concept of novella writing, complete with an in-depth exploration of these writers' works.
My final event of the festival was the perfect conclusion to the festivities, 'Celebrating The Suburban Review' featuring Managing Editor, Claire Albrecht, and past contributors: Lily Cameron, Caitlin Doyle-Markwick, Bastian Fox Phelan, Andrew Menken, Erin McFadyen, Luke Patterson, and Huyen Hac Helen Tran.
Congratulations to Rosemarie Milsom and the Newcastle Writers Festival team on another amazing program! I cannot wait to see what 2024 brings.