Festival must for would-be writers

THE Derwent Valley’s first Writers Festival begins this Friday, May 27, with a packed three-day schedule that will draw kids and adults, readers and writers, the public and professionals alike.

The crowded calendar of events is at The Barracks, part of the Willow Court complex, throughout the weekend. Festival Director Sophie Reid has scheduled a series of conversations with authors to provide an understanding of what publishers are looking for in new writers, and get an understanding of how a writer shifts to becoming an author.

“What makes a ‘good read’ from the consumer’s perspective? That’s something we all want to know,” said Ms Reid, who is also secretary of Derwent Valley Arts. Through the weekend, there are workshops on oral story-telling; other sessions get stuck into food writing, others are candid conversations with writers, and examinations of preferences for language, character and plot.

A series of films drawn from books is being screened through the three days. Look for Paddington, Charlotte’s Web, Bran Nue Dae, and the Australian classic, Storm Boy. Local historians Alison Alexander, Dr Dianne Snowden and Ros Escott will introduce a number of the remarkable New Norfolk stories.

The major drawcard for the festival is a rare opportunity for writers to pitch their work directly to a publisher. “Allen & Unwin’s Annette Barlow is looking for new talent at this festival, so we’ve arranged a total of 12 face-to-face author pitches of 10-minutes’ duration,” Ms Reid said.

Writers will put their name in a hat for an opportunity for the pitch sessions on the afternoons of both Saturday May 28 and Sunday May 29. For a detailed program: http://www.derwentvalley.art/program