Batemans Bay Writers Festival 2016 For all booklovers ― Share the experience

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Batemans Bay Writers Festival 2016


For all booklovers ― Share the experience

Full program

All events are at the Coachhouse Marina Resort, 49 Beach Road Batemans Bay NSW

Bookings essential for all events www.batemansbaywritersfestival.com or 0417 267 771

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Batemans Bay Writers Festival 2016

Highlight Opening Event

Friday 9 September

Special event with Tim Fischer AC ― and a fun Debate

5.30 pm for 6 pm to 7.30 pm

Festival Hub marquee

$22 (Free for Platinum Ticket holders)

Bookings essential
Opening Address: Tango in Travel and Travel Writing: Bhutan to Batemans Bay!

Tim Fischer is the author of many train books and books on Rome and Bhutan. In his opening address, Mr Fischer transports us from Outback Australia to Rome and the Vatican, and from Bhutan to Batemans Bay. And of course, he includes his passion for train travel.


Debate: Pictures speak louder than words

Words enrich our lives, entertain us and inform us. Painting, photography, film and the vast array of visual arts move us, alarm us and cast a light on the world around us. But which is the more effective medium? Do we respond more to what we see than what we read?

Opposing teams entertain while much pictorial postulating is pursued.

With Moderator: Paul Brunton OAM, historian, archivist, rare books fiend and passionate reader.


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Saturday 10 September

Session 1 My Year of Reading

8.45 am to 9.45 am

Clyde Room

Join three authors as they discuss the books that have charmed them, appalled them or they just haven’t got to yet. From prize winners to classics and in between, authors Leah Kaminsky, Rod Jones and Meredith Jaffé share what’s been on their bedside tables in 2016.

Session 2: Lifestyles

9 am to 10 am

Corrigans Room

What place does food play in our lives? Think beyond sustenance and nourishment with three authors for whom food is central to their existence.

Annabel Morley is the author of The Icing on the Cake, a memoir about her famous family that displays how her passion for theatre is matched by her love of food and family. Chef James Viles is renowned for his fresh take on food, from growing it sustainably to preparing it with imagination and flair, as showcased by his two-hatted restaurant Biota Dining and his book, Biota ― Grow Gather Cook. Simon Griffiths has photographed food for the likes of Kylie Kwong, Stephanie Alexander and Maggie Beer. From iconic kitchen gardens to lush locations, Simon has toured the world to capture exquisite food in a glorious collection of books. Facilitated by Nick Rheinberger.
Session 3: Men Behaving Badly

10.15 am to 11.15 am

Clyde Room

What’s the worst thing that can happen to a man with three secret families? He falls in love. Malcolm Knox is an award winning novelist and former literary editor for the Sydney Morning Herald. His latest novel, The Wonder Lover explores the life of John Wonder, the meaning of commitment and the power of love in a novel repeatedly described as superb. Malcolm joins Ian Campbell in a conversation ranging from the inspirations behind The Wonder Lover to what it means to be a man in these modern times.


Session 4: Artistic Revolutionaries: Arthur Boyd and John Olsen

10.30 am to 11.30 am

Corrigans Room

Biographer Darleen Bungey undertook meticulous research to produce in depth accounts of two of Australia’s iconic artists, Arthur Boyd and John Olsen.

In 2015, John Olsen, An Artist’s Life was joint winner of the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for non-fiction. Bungey graphically depicts the forces that drove John Olsen to become one of the country's greatest artists. From a child who was never taken to an art gallery, who learnt how to draw from comics, we come to see the famous artist driven by a need to depict his country's landscape as Australians had never seen it before.

Boyd’s legacy is a collection of masterpieces that define the history of Australian art in the last century. But the man himself ― enigmatic, inarticulate, modest ― has remained in the shadows until now. In 1999 Darleen began researching her seminal biography Arthur Boyd: A life, which was published to critical acclaim in 2007 and went on to win the Australian Book Industry Award for Biography of the Year.

She joins Paul Brunton historian and Emeritus Curator, Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW, in a conversation about the lives and legacies of these two great artists.

Session 5: State of the Arts


11.45 am to 12.45 pm

Clyde Room

The arts is often a political football, it’s funding a precarious and precious thing. Our three panellists have a wealth of experience in the sector and will explore what’s worked in the past and what we need to change for the future to ensure the arts remain a vital and relevant expression of our many identities.

Geoff Cousins AM is a former English teacher, a novelist and avid reader. He was the founding chairman of the Museum of Contemporary Art and a director of the Sydney Theatre Company. In 2014 he was awarded the Order of Australia for significant service to the community through the establishment of the Starlight Children’s Foundation and to the visual and performing arts.

Annabel Morley is the daughter of the renowned actor Robert Morley CBE. She grew up in a world surrounded by theatre greats such as Vivien Leigh, Laurence Olivier and Spencer Tracy. As a young girl, Annabel appeared in a number of films and has spent a life immersed in the theatre.

Dr Sarah Rice is an art-theory lecturer, visual artist and writer who teaches practice-led research in craft and design at the School of Art, ANU. Sarah is also an award winning poet, a philosopher and a former music teacher. She is particularly interested in how art forms respond to other art forms, called ekphrasis, especially how poetry responds to visual art and design.

Facilitated by Mark Dapin

Session 6: We’re All Going to Die

12.noon to 1 pm

Corrigans Room


The old saying goes that nothing is certain in life, except death and taxes. Yet many of us fear death or fear dying. Rather than face the truth that what lives must also die, we often fail to prepare for the inevitable end.

GP Leah Kaminsky spends her days intimately involved in others’ lives and deaths. What makes some of us embrace life in the face of death? Why do some of us feel uncomfortable facing our own mortality? And can confronting our inevitable death allow us to live richer fuller lives?

As a medical doctor, a poet and author, Leah Kaminsky is uniquely placed to ask the right questions as she explores the modern attitudes to dying. She joins Meredith Jaffé in what promises to be an inspiring conversation when they talk about her new book, We’re All Going to Die.




Session 7 Landscape: Capturing the Imagination


1.30 pm to 2.30 pm

Clyde Room

A sense of place can define a mood or a moment. It can inspire creativity and alter our course of action. Two creators join Meredith Jaffé in conversation about how place inspires what they do professionally and in everyday life.

Photographer Simon Griffiths is inspired by the world around him. His latest book is a pictorial essay entitled Boats. He has written and collaborated on books about shacks, interiors, gardens and food to produce a beautiful visual memory of the world around us.

Award winning poet Geoff Page has published twenty-one collections of poetry as well as two novels, five verse novels and several other works including anthologies and translations. As a teacher and practitioner, he has a wealth of knowledge about how the Australian landscape inspires writing.

Session 8: Keeping the Bastards Honest: the 2016 election in review

1.45 pm to 2.45 pm

Corrigans Room

Federal elections are full of highlights and lowlights, none more than the 2016 election. Join political and economics commentator George Megalogenis and journalists Mark Dapin and Malcolm Knox as they reveal the horrors and humour of the 2016 campaign and what questions this latest shuffling of the deck chairs raises for the immediate future.


George Megalogenis is an author and journalist with three decades' experience in the media. His books include The Australian Moment, which won the 2013 Prime Minister's Literary Award for Non-fiction and the 2012 Walkley Award for Non-fiction, and formed the basis for the ABC documentary series Making Australia Great. George is also the author of Faultlines, The Longest Decade and Quarterly Essay 40: Trivial Pursuit – Leadership and the End of the Reform Era. This year George will publish Quarterly Essay 61: Balancing Act: Australia Between Recession and Renewal.

Award winning journalist Malcolm Knox held several positions at the Sydney Morning Herald, including chief cricket correspondent, assistant sport editor and literary editor. He writes regularly for The Monthly on the state of play in Australian society on topics from politics to sport, literature to supermarket domination.

Mark Dapin wrote for The Times and the Guardian in London, and later for daily newspapers in Australia. He was the first chief subeditor of The Australian Financial Review and for many years was a features writer and columnist for the Good Weekend magazine. He is currently a PhD candidate at the Australian Defence Force Academy.

Facilitated by Nick Rheinberger

Session 9: The Royal Flying Doctor Service & Outback Life

3 pm to 4 pm

Clyde Room


Disillusioned with her life in the UK, author Deb Hunt made a life-altering decision when she moved to Australia. She landed a job as a marketing assistant with the Royal Flying Doctor Service, which saw this city girl moving to the remote NSW mining town of Broken Hill. She spent five years working for the RFDS and in that time met the love of her life ― and many amazing outback families. Both inspired her writing. Her funny warm and light-hearted memoir, Love in the Outback, chronicles her time in rural Australia and finally meeting Mr Right. Australian Farming Families explores the human aspects of life on the land and Deb met many of these families through her connection with the RFDS.

Deb talks with Ian Campbell about the important role the RFDS plays on outback life. Not only in saving lives in the medical sense but in providing a communication bridge to the rest of the country.

Session 10: Poetry Rules, OK?


3.15 pm to 4.15 pm

Corrigans Room

With three poets in a room, what could possible go wrong? Award winning poets Sarah Rice, Geoff Page and Paul Hetherington will get together to talk rhythm and rhyme. Why does poetry matter? What does poetry offer writers and readers that prose does not? How does poetry make the world a better place?

Artist, philosopher, university lecturer and poet Sarah Rice won the 2014 Ron Pretty, and Bruce Dawe poetry prizes; co-won the 2013 Winning Ventures and 2011 Gwen Harwood; and was shortlisted in the Tom Howard, New Millennium, Fish, Montreal and other poetry prizes. Her work is widely published, including in Award Winning Australian Writing, and Best Australian Poems 2012 and 2015.

Paul Hetherington is Professor of Writing at the University of Canberra. He has published ten collections of poetry, most recently Burnt Umber He won the 2014 Western Australian Premier's Book Awards (poetry) and recently returned from an Australia Council residency in the BR Whiting Studio in Rome. He was a finalist in the 2014 Aesthetica creative writing competition and shortlisted for the 2013 Montreal International Poetry Prize. He has served on the boards of a variety of literary and cultural organisations and judged various poetry prizes. He is a founding editor of the online journal Axon: Creative.

Jazz aficionado and writer, Geoff Page has published twenty-one collections of poetry as well as two novels, five verse novels, a verse biography and several other works including anthologies and translations. He has won several awards, including the ACT Poetry Award, the Grace Leven Prize, the Christopher Brennan Award, the Queensland Premier’s Prize for Poetry and the 2001 Patrick White Literary Award. Since 1994, he has run a series of monthly poetry readings in successive Canberra cafés. It's now called Poetry at the House and features poets from around Australia and overseas.

Session 11: Life after War


4.30 pm to 5.30 pm

Clyde Room

Authors Mark Dapin and Leah Kaminsky have both written about the impact of war. What their writing shares is how the ripple effect of war crosses generations and affects lives long after the conflict itself is over. Fiction and non fiction both provide vehicles for revealing truths that changes individual lives forever.

Mark Dapin is currently a PhD candidate at the Australian Defence Force Academy. He has written about war in both fiction and non fiction forms. His fiction includes the novel R&R set during the Vietnam War and is a searing study of the violence that we do to others and ourselves. His novel The Spirit House was long-listed for the 2012 Miles Franklin Literary Award. It tells an intense story of the fall of Singapore and life as a Japanese POW, of the bonds of friendship and the bonds of grief, and of a young boy making sense of growing up while old men try to live with their past.

His award winning non fiction title, The Nashos’ War dramatically deconstructs the folklore of Vietnam and national service by drawing on the accounts of more than 150 former national servicemen. Mark has also edited two collections of writings from those on the frontline of battle and those that served behind the scenes. From the Trenches is the definitive collection of World War One writing from Australia and New Zealand. The Penguin Book of Australian War Writing explores how the battlefield has shaped the way we define ourselves and includes the writings of Watkin Tench, AB Paterson, Martin Boyd, Patrick White and Kenneth Slessor.

Leah Kaminsky is a physician and award-winning writer. Her debut fiction novel The Waiting Room is the story of Dina, a family doctor, who is living in the melting-pot city of Haifa, Israel. Born in a Jewish enclave of Melbourne to Holocaust survivors, Dina left behind a childhood marred by misery and the tragedies of the past to build a new life for herself in the Promised Land. But she finds her life falling apart beneath the demands of her eccentric patients, a marriage starting to fray, the ever-present threat of terrorist attack and the ghost of her mother, haunting her with memories that Dina would prefer to leave on the other side of the world.

Facilitated by Suzanne Leal, author of Border Street, a novel exploring the war time experiences of a Czech couple and how the past changes us forever. Suzanne is a lawyer experienced in criminal and refugee law and a former legal commentator for ABC radio.

Session 12: The Devil in a Silken Cloak

4.45 pm to 5.45 pm

Corrigans Room


Businessman Geoff Cousins never intended to turn eco-warrior but in 2007 the controversial Gunns billion dollar pulp mill changed all that. Teaming up with unlikely fellow travellers, Man Booker prize winning author Richard Flanagan and former Greens leader Bob Brown, resulted in a national campaign that saw the pulp mill kyboshed and the Tasmanian forests saved.


In 2012, Cousins turned his attention to the Kimberley in Western Australia where Woodside Petroleum planned to build a massive gas hub at James Price Point. Since then, Cousins spends much of his time trying to save some of the last great remaining wilderness areas from "rampant capitalist greed".

He’s been described as a rich bully, a corporate hitman and a man not afraid to play outside the rules of the rich and powerful. But to many Australians, Geoff Cousins actions are nothing short of heroic. Geoff Cousins joins journalist Malcolm Knox in a conversation about the environment, his part in saving it and his passion for preserving and championing our natural resources.

In 2014, Geoff Cousins was appointed President of the Australian Conservation Foundation, the nation’s largest environmental lobby group. Geoff’s corporate career includes leading the advertising firm George Patterson Company and overseeing the building of the Optus network. He was a consultant to former Prime Minister John Howard and has served on many public company boards. He founded the Starlight Children’s Foundation in Australia and was founding chairman of Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art and former director of the Sydney Theatre Company. In 2014, he was awarded an Order of Australia for his service to the community.

Malcolm Knox is a Walkley award winning journalist who writes regularly on a range of social and environmental issues for publications such as The Monthly and the Sydney Morning Herald. His book Boom: The Underground History of Australia, From Goldrush to GFC won the 2014 Ashurst Business Literature Prize. In 2015, Malcolm published Supermarket Monsters: The Price of Coles and Woolworths' Dominance.

Free Saturday evening event

4 X 5 ― Four authors, four readings, four sets of literary trivia

5.30 pm for 6 pm to 7 pm

Festival Hub Marquee

Join us in the Festival Hub Marquee for drinks, trivia and readings. Authors Deb Hunt, Meredith Jaffe, Paul Hetherington and Rod Jones, will give short readings from a work of their choice and in between you can tease your brain with four sets of literary trivia. Prizes to be won

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Sunday 11 September

Session 13: Local Authors Let Loose On Literature


9.15 am to 10.15 am

Clyde Room


The Eurobodalla Shire is rich with writing talent. Join five authors as they talk about, and read from, their latest works with Eurobodalla Fellowship of Australian Writers President, Rosie Toth.

Rhonda Casey began life in the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales, but has been a resident of the South Coast for over thirty years. Her first manuscript, Hessian, traces the life stories of two women as they travel the turbulent years at the turn of the Twentieth Century. Seemingly worlds apart, they are irrevocably connected. What is joy for one brings only fear to the other. From war torn Greece to the outback of New South Wales, their journey of discovery is a heartfelt story of hope and new beginnings.

Timothy S Collins has been a writer for more than 40 years, though only a select few have ever read his works, as his career has always been focused on technical writing. He has always had a desire to write a fictional novel but ‘life got in the way’. Tim is now a semi-retired consulting engineer. With time enough to revisit some of his non-published earlier works, Tim is now concentrating on developing fictional novels.

Stafford Ray’s concern for the environment and social issues has always driven his writing — from poetry, plays to fiction. His first novel, Cull, reads as a page turner but beneath this a deeper tension is revealed. His latest novel, Australian Gulag - A Love Story, deals with the issues surrounding offshore detention and the personal tragedies of those caught up in the system.

Debbie Richardson is a bestselling writer of speculative fiction for Young Adults. The book trailer for her young adult paranormal romance novel, Little Red Gem, was featured on USA Today website. She is a member of the Eurobodalla Writers Group and she regularly conducts writers’ workshops.


Cassandra Webb is a chocaholic from Narooma who writes children’s and young adult fiction, fantasy and picture books. Cassandra’s picture book, Take Ted Instead, has recently been accepted at Bologna Children’s Bookfair and she is looking at contracts in Vietnam, USA, China, Poland and others. She also has several YA fantasy novels out this year, as well as another picture book The Bigger Digger.
Session 14: Memoir ― Telling true stories

9.30 am to 10.30 am

Corrigans Room
Although regarded as non fiction, memoir can easily merge with fiction. How does a writer distinguish memory from fact or determine truths long buried with their teller? Three authors discuss the telling of family tales and the process of discovering the emotional truths of their stories. Facilitated by Meredith Jaffé.

Deb Hunt had a variety of jobs from a librarian in Saudi Arabia, a teacher in Spain, an actress, journalist, theatre producer and publicist in London. Her true story Dream Wheeler led to a commission to write her memoir, Love in the Outback. Landing a job with the Royal Flying Doctor Service saw Deb leave London and a string of unsuccessful relationships behind for a new life in Broken Hill. Here she met a man who was a legend of the RFDS. Practical, steady, financially responsible and conservative ― everything Deb was not. He wanted a relationship. She wanted to flee.

Rod Jones’ novel The Mothers is a book about secrets. It interweaves the intimate lives of three generations of Australian women who learn that it’s the stories we can’t tell that continue to shape us and make us who we are. Rod began this novel as a memoir before realising that fiction allowed him to tell a greater truth about the mothers in his life than memoir made possible.
Annabel Morley is the daughter of renowned actor Robert Morley and granddaughter of the society beauty Dame Gladys Cooper. She grew up in a bohemian artistic and quintessentially English family surrounded by theatre greats such as Vivien Leigh, Laurence Olivier and Spencer Tracy. Her memoir, The Icing on the Cake, brings to life an exceptional childhood during the glamorous 1940s and 50s and features unpublished photos, private letters and personal memories.
Session 15: Crossing the Boundaries

10.45 am to 11.45 am

Clyde Room

Join authors Meredith Jaffe and Suzanne Leal as they talk about their recent novels The Fence and The Teacher’s Secret. Both deal with crossing boundaries, physical and moral, and the implications of our social transgressions.


The Teacher’s Secret centres around a popular teacher with something to hide. The new principal is determined to uncover the truth. A young mother, suddenly single, struggles to rebuild her life. A grieving daughter must learn to face the world again. A family forced to flee their homeland must start afresh. A small town can be a refuge, but while its secrets are held, it’s hard to know who to trust and what to believe. The Teacher’s Secret is a tender and compelling story of scandal, rumour and dislocation, and the search for grace and dignity in the midst of dishonour and humiliation.

Suzanne Leal is a lawyer experienced in child protection, criminal law and refugee law. A former legal commentator on ABC Radio, Suzanne is a regular interviewer at Sydney Writers’ Festival and other literary functions.  She is the senior judge for the 2017 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. Curiosity about hidden stories and secret lives drives Suzanne’s writing. It sparked her interest in the lives of her Czech landlords, Fred and Eva Perger, who inspired her first novel, Border Street, commended in the Asher Literary Award. Curiosity, too, prompted Suzanne to explore the intrigues of the schoolyard and bring them to life in her second novel, The Teacher’s Secret.

The Fence, has been described as a ‘green thumbed social satire of suburban neighbourly conflict.’ It explores the lives of two women, separated by a forty-odd year age gap. How much have women’s lives changed in that time? Has feminism given us a good hand or are we still missing a few cards? Was it ever possible to have it all ― career, family, economic freedom ― at the same time? Building a fence is only the start of the conflict.
Meredith Jaffé is a writer and occasional book critic. For four years she wrote the weekly literary column The Bookshelf for the online women’s magazine The Hoopla, sharing literary news, reviewing books and interviewing writers. Meredith regularly chairs panels, presents workshops and interviews fellow authors for various literary events and writers festivals. As a keen believer in the power of literacy, Meredith volunteers at The Footpath Library where she manages their annual EPIC! writing competition for school children.

Session 16: Australia’s Second Chance

11 am to 12 noon

Corrigans Room

Australia was the only OECD country not to have gone into recession during the GFC. Our standard of living is one of the highest in the world, and we are a multicultural mix of talented migrants from all over the world.

For the best part of the nineteenth century, Australia was the world's richest country, a pioneer for democracy and a magnet for migrants. Yet our last big boom was followed by a fifty-year bust as we lost our luck, our riches and our nerve, and shut our doors on the world. Now we're back on top, in the position where history tells us we made our biggest mistakes. Can we learn from our past and cement our place as one of the world's great nations?

With newly available economic data and fresh interviews with former leaders (including the last major interview with Malcolm Fraser), George Megalogenis crunches the numbers and weaves our history into a riveting argument, brilliantly chronicling our dialogue with the world and bringing welcome insight into the urgent question of who we are, and what we can become.

George Megalogenis is an author and journalist with three decades' experience in the media. His books include The Australian Moment, which won the 2013 Prime Minister's Literary Award for Non-fiction and the 2012 Walkley Award for Non-fiction, and formed the basis for the ABC documentary series Making Australia Great. George is also the author of Faultlines, The Longest Decade and Quarterly Essay 40: Trivial Pursuit – Leadership and the End of the Reform Era. His most recent book Australia’s Second Chance was launched by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. This year George will publish Quarterly Essay 61: Balancing Act: Australia Between Recession and Renewal.. He joins Paul Brunton, historian and Emeritus Curator, Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW, in what promises to be a fascinating conversation about where we have been and where our nation is heading.
Sunday 11 September 2016
Batemans Bay Writers and Readers Festival Literary Lunch

with Tim Fischer AC

Turning points in our great country: Bean, Melba, Monash, Menzies and Molly Meldrum ― more to come!

Hosted by Ian Campbell

Time: 12 for 12.30 pm

Venue: Festival Hub marquee CoachHouse Marina Resort

49 Beach Road Batemans Bay NSW

Cost: $60 ($40 for Platinum Ticket-holders)

Includes a two course meal and a glass of bubbly on arrival

And there could be an author at your table ― one of the authors or presenters involved with the festival

Turning points in our great country: Bean, Melba, Monash, Menzies and Molly Meldrum ― more to come!

Tim Fischer, who is now mainly an author of non-fiction books, is set to present a lively summation of ever changing Australia with a focus on the period of Federation to this day and what might lie ahead.

Join consummate and extremely versatile speaker Tim Fischer, who draws on his broad range of experience in public and private life to deliver illuminating and informative presentations.
The Honourable Tim Fischer AC is the former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia and was the Australian Ambassador to the Holy See for three years until January 2012. A former Australian Army Officer, NSW State Parliamentarian, Leader of the National Party and Minister for Trade, Tim Fischer is also a consultant, company director, author, broadcaster, and multiple patron.
We are in for a treat! Share the experience.

Bookings now open for Earlybird Platinum Pass Ticket-holders


www.batemansbaywritersfestival.com or phone 0417 267 771
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