“COME on up” is the catch cry of the Upper Hunter valley.
And, the rural town of Scone wants you to “come on up”, not just to experience great country hospitality and marvel at the glorious landscape, but to be stimulated and refreshed by making new connections at the annual Scone Literary Festival.
Now in its fourth year, the festival – on November 11 and 12 – boasts a stellar line up of big names worthy of being on the bill of any major city event.
It is the only writer’s festival in the Upper Hunter and is growing in audience size and reputation at breakneck speed.
One of the stars is Peter FitzSimons and significantly, as November 11 is Remembrance Day, his many books have relevance, covering various conflicts including Fromelles and Villiers-Bretonneux.
He will be in conversation with our local literary treasure Phillip Adams.
“We may be a small festival in a small town, but we have big ideas and a real desire to grow this wonderful event into one of the region’s biggest events,” festival committee president Jan Sinclair said.
“We are so thrilled to have the likes of Peter FitzSimons on this year’s program.
“Attracting such names really takes the festival into a different league.
“We would like to think that in the next few years we could grow in size and become similar to the Byron Bay Writers Festival.”
And, with a line up like the 2017 event there is no reason that this might not eventuate.
Mr Adams will discuss his most recent book called Insights and Reflections, recounting topics he has examined in his columns.
He will also talk with Don Watson, ex-Prime Minister Paul Keating’s speechwriter and screenwriter of The Man Who Sued God, about his latest book, There It Goes Again.
Tom Thompson (publisher, collector and valuer) and local Peter Haydon will launch To Beersheba 1917, a book celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Australian Light Horse and the Charge at Beersheba.
Another star attraction this year is Rosalie Ham, whose great book The Dressmaker was made into a very successful movie.
The producer of the film, Sue Maslin, will also be there and both will speak at the soiree on Saturday evening, after which there will be a screening of the movie under the stars.
The audience is being encouraged to dress up in 1950s attire and also be inspired by the photographic exhibition from the making of the film which will be on display.
On Sunday, November 12, Phillip Adams will be in conversation again, this time with Gold Walkley winner and Newcastle Herald journalist Joanne McCarthy, who’ll be part of a panel talking about ‘The dark art of writing domestic drama’.
She will be joined by Mel Jacobs, Paul Mitchell and yet another Walkley Award winner, Melissa Lucashenko.
The list of authors continues with the likes of Red Dog photographer and locally-based artist David Darcy along with Cathryn Hein, Kim Kelly, Ilka Tampke, Annette Marfording and local Upper Hunter author Leonie Rogers.
The weekend wraps up with a creative writing workshop, supported by Arts Upper Hunter, with Paul Mitchell and a laid back, lazy Sunday afternoon Book Club where you are invited to discuss your latest reads with fellow book lovers.
Tickets are on sale now and will go fast, so book now and see the full program at www.sconewritersfestival.com.au