IN another first, the Scone Literary Festival (SLF) will host a short story writing competition for farmers in the Upper Hunter; all farmers, be it sheep, cattle, horses, chooks, dogs, camels, dairy.
The event is supported by farmer and successful author Richard Anderson as judge and Bengalla with prizemoney.
"No literary festival is complete without a writing competition," says president Janie Jordan.
"And, with the drought and bushfire devastation we thought writing could be a good release from the everyday challenges.
"Writing down your thoughts can be very therapeutic, so turn that angst or joy into an anecdote, poem or long joke."
The competition is very much in line with SLF's strategy to be inclusive, diverse and have something for everyone.
It follows on from last year's 'Check-it-Out' competition, which was designed to give people from a less academically-trained background an opportunity to showcase their writing talents.
The 2020 short story comp for famers is no exception.
Aspiring writers from the Upper Hunter farming community and that's a wide range of potential stories, from horses and cattle to wine and food, sheep and dogs, are encouraged to write their yarn in 750-1500 words.
The style can be fiction or non-fiction, an anecdote, a funny story, a sad story, a personal story, a story about family or animals, crime, romance.
"This is your opportunity to express yourself in a heartfelt way," says competition coordinator and SLF committee member Robert Thurgood.
The festival executive is hoping that this competition, which has prizes of $500 and $200, will inspire a new generation of successful regional writers to follow in the footsteps of not only successful author, Quirindi-based, second generation farmer Richard Anderson but Judith Wright and even Patrick White, who spent a few years living and working in the Hunter Valley.
"We'd like to think that this writing competition will be the forerunner to a whole new crop of writers from regional and rural Australia," Mr Thurgood added.
"And, it's one way that we can give back to the community with this prizemoney.
"The money could help a family with its feed for stock or even a short break away from the everyday challenges."
Entry forms are available online at www.sconeliteraryfestival.com.au and also in person from MacCallum Inglis in Scone.
The winners will be announced at the Bush Poets' Breakfast on Sunday, March 15.