What's On

Bathurst Writers' & Readers' Festival

Bathurst Writers’ & Readers’ Festival, May 20 – 26, 2024

This year we present over 30 events across seven days making it our biggest festival ever!

Some things have changed for 2024 from previous years. Almost all sessions now have a small ticket price of just $10 (cheaper for BMEC Members) as we simply cannot afford to continue to run this as a free festival. We have a couple of free sessions including the Official Opening on the Friday night. We are offering a Multipack option when you book for 5 or more events at once – save 10%. BMEC Members automatically receive a 20% discount regardless of how many sessions are booked, so consider becoming a BMEC Member to receive all sorts of benefits.

   

BMEC Members can access a Festival Pass for $120 which gives them access to all sessions (excluding live performances and workshops). Call or visit the Box Office to purchase this.

Bookings are required for all sessions and we ask that you plan and book ahead to avoid missing out as capacity is limited especially for those at the Bathurst Library. The Box Office will be open throughout the Festival so if you spontaneously decide to attend a session you can.

Bathurst Writers’ & Readers’ Festival is produced by BMEC through our Local Stages program with the invaluable collaboration of volunteer Jen Barry, Arts OutWest, Bathurst Library, Books Plus Bathurst and Sydney Writers’ Festival.

Monday 20 May 2024 - Tuesday 21 May 2024 BMEC Education 2024

Creative Writing Workshops 2024

An incredible opportunity to spend a full day accessing some of the best Australian Young Adult authors for potential young authors of the future. Suitable for students in years 10, 11 and 12, these workshops are not HSC or curriculum based but focused on the creative writing process with ample opportunity for students to write during the workshops. The focus is for students to have the opportunity to be immersed in the writing process.

Tuesday 21 May 2024 Bathurst Writers' & Readers' Festival

Human Library

A Human Library is a library where real people are on loan, creating a safe, conversational space where topics are discussed openly between a 'human book' and a reader (community member). Each human book is a distinctive story that details their lived experience of belonging, diversity and inclusion. Come find out first-hand about some of the unique life stories of people living in your Bathurst community.

Tuesday 21 - Wednesday 22 May 2024 Shake & Stir Theatre Co

Fourteen

By Shannon Molloy, Adapted by Shake & Stir with Shannon Molloy

Based on the best-selling memoir by award-winning journalist Shannon Molloy, Fourteen is the inspirational true story of growing up in central Queensland (it could be Bathurst), transformed into a powerful must-see theatre production by nationally acclaimed Shake & Stir Theatre Co.

Wednesday 22 May, 2024 BMEC Education 2024

Fourteen

Shake & Stir Theatre Co

Shannon Molloy is a year 9 student at an all-boys, rugby-mad Catholic school in regional Queensland (it could be Bathurst), with a secret that no one can ever find out. This performance is for secondary schools - Stages 5 and 6.

Thursday 23 May 2024 BMEC Education 2024

Sharp Short Story

Humans have been sharing stories with one another for forever. The kind of stories we have told have taken many forms full of imagination and creativity. As storytelling is a performance, Sharp Short Story aims to encourage not only the writing of new stories but also the theatrical presentation of those stories. Suitable for Stages 3 – 6.

Thursday 23 May 2024 A Sydney Writers’ Festival Live & Local Livestream event

Julia Baird

Bright Shining

Hear from broadcaster and Phosphorescence author Julia Baird, whose latest book, Bright Shining, is a beautiful, timely exploration of that most mysterious but necessary human quality: grace. With Jacqueline Maley.

Thursday 23 May 2024 A Sydney Writers’ Festival Live & Local Livestream event

Viet Thanh
Nguyen

A Man of Two Faces

Hear celebrated author Viet Thanh Nguyen, hailed as “a conscience of American literature” (The New Yorker), discuss his new work with writer and broadcaster Benjamin Law.

Thursday 23 May 2024 A Sydney Writers’ Festival Live & Local Livestream event

Suzie Miller:
Prima Facie

Hosted by Nicole Abadee

Put the courts on trial with lawyer turned Olivier Award–winning playwright Suzie Miller as she discusses novelising her theatrical triumph that tackles sexual assault. In conversation with Nicole Abadee. Suzie Miller is an Australian contemporary international playwright, screenwriter and novelist. Prima Facie is her first novel. Her work has been produced around the world, winning multiple prestigious awards, including the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play 2023 for her smash hit one-woman play Prima Facie, which had a sold out season on London's West End and Broadway New York.

Thursday 23 May 2024 A Sydney Writers’ Festival Live & Local Livestream event

Julian Borger

I Seek a Kind Person

“I seek a kind person who will educate my intelligent boy, aged 11.” An extraordinary 1938 personal advertisement that started Julian Borger’s quest into his father’s past and the story of Holocaust survival. With Michaela Kalowski.

Thursday 23 May 2024 A Sydney Writers’ Festival Live & Local Livestream event

Fantastical Worlds

Garth Nix, Shelley Parker-Chan, Samantha Shannon hosted by Aimée Lindorff

Imagine another world with popular fantasy authors Garth Nix (The Old Kingdom series), Shelley Parker-Chan (The Radiant Emperor duology) and Samantha Shannon (The Roots of Chaos series). Hosted by Aimée Lindorff. 

Thursday 23 May 2024 Bathurst Writers' & Readers' Festival

Sophie Hansen

In Conversation - What Can I Bring?

Enjoy an evening with bestselling author and beloved country cook, Sophie Hansen, in-conversation with Peter Harrison (Fish River Roasters), about her latest cookbook, What Can I Bring?. Hear about the beautiful, seasonal recipes from the book, the local friends and cooks who inspired them, the process behind bringing the book together, and lots more!

Thursday 23 May 2024 A Sydney Writers’ Festival Live & Local Livestream event

Love and Longing

Christos Tsiolkas and K Patrick hosted by Madeleine Gray

Swoon with K Patrick (Mrs S) and Christos Tsiolkas (The In-Between) in this beautiful discussion of romance, desire and the pleasures of writing queer love stories. With Madeleine Gray.

Friday 24 May 2024 A Sydney Writers’ Festival Live & Local Livestream event

A.C. Grayling

The Meaning of Life in a Technological Age

The quest for a life worth living has been the business of philosophers for millennia. How can we pursue answers to life’s big questions in an increasingly unstable technological age? Join pre-eminent philosopher A.C. Grayling for this special talk.

Friday 24 May 2024 A Sydney Writers’ Festival Live & Local Livestream event

The War on Journalists

Julian Borger, John Lyons, Alisa Sopova and Anastasia Taylor-Lind. Hosted by Hamish Macdonald

With conflict continuing in Ukraine, and the death toll of journalists in Gaza reaching alarming proportions, we look at the role of journalists in war. Featuring Julian Borger, John Lyons, Alisa Sopova and Anastasia Taylor-Lind. Hosted by Hamish Macdonald.

Friday 24 May 2024 A Sydney Writers’ Festival Live & Local Livestream event

Abdulrazak
Gurnah

Afterlives

Explore his writing and unpack the legacies of empire with acclaimed writer Abdulrazak Gurnah, whose 10th novel explores displacement, loss and love during and after German occupation of East Africa. With Sisonke Msimang.

Friday 24 May 2024 A Sydney Writers’ Festival Live & Local Livestream event

Feminist
Firebrands

Sisonke Msimang, Hannah Ferguson and Jennifer Robinson. Hosted by Jo Dyer

Four waves in, the feminist fight for gender equality is far from over. This panel brings together the powerful and incendiary feminist voices of Hannah Ferguson, Sisonke Msimang and Jennifer Robinson. Hear from these leading writers and activists who between them offer daring feminist opinions on topics ranging from freedom of speech, right-wing politics, racism, xenophobia, belonging and identity, taboos around sex and pleasure, as well as the legal judgements that continue to silence and disadvantage women.

Friday 24 May 2024 Bathurst Writers' & Readers' Festival

Sky Country

Official Opening

Sky Country: Join us for an evening with Gamilaroi astrophysicist Karlie Noon as she shares captivating insights into Aboriginal Sky Country. Karlie will lead us on a journey through the Indigenous cosmos, unveiling the profound relevance of ancient wisdom in navigating modern-day problems.

Friday 24 May 2024 A Sydney Writers’ Festival Live & Local Livestream event

Queerstories

Maeve Marsden, J.M. Field, George Haddad, Bebe Oliver, K Patrick and Samantha Shannon

Celebrating the culture and creativity of the LGBTQI+ community one true story at a time, Queerstories has played to crowds big and small, from Mudgee to Murwillumbah, Albury to Adelaide, Brisbane and beyond. Featuring J.M. Field, George Haddad, Bebe Oliver, K Patrick and Samantha Shannon.

Saturday 25 May 2024 A Sydney Writers’ Festival Live & Local Livestream event

Celeste Ng: Our Missing Hearts

Hosted by Claire Nichols

Sit down with New York Times bestselling author Celeste Ng, whose smash hit Little Fires Everywhere was adapted into a miniseries starring Reese Witherspoon. Listen in as she discusses her new dystopian novel with Claire Nichols.

Saturday 25 May 2024 Bathurst Writers' & Readers' Festival

Charmaine Ledden-Lewis Children’s Illustrator

Children’s illustrator Charmaine Ledden-Lewis is a proud Bundjalung woman, artist and illustrator. Her new illustrated book Ask Aunty - Seasons is a delightful and educational picture book for children aged 5 to 10 years that introduces First Nations seasonal calendars. Join Charmaine for a fun, creative and passionate family friendly session at the library, with live illustration demonstrations!

Saturday 25 May 2024 Bathurst Writers' & Readers' Festival

Great Books You Might Have Missed

Jen Barry and Lisa Holloway

There’s always so many terrific books that pass us by whilst we’re reading other wonderful books. Enjoy hearing Jen Barry and Lisa Holloway chatting about some of the great books you may have missed in the last year and some to look forward to later this year.

Saturday 25 May 2024 A Sydney Writers’ Festival Live & Local Livestream event

Trent Dalton:
From Eli to Lola

Hosted by Cassie McCullagh

Trent Dalton, award-winning author of Boy Swallows Universe (now a hit Netflix series) returns with Lola in the Mirror, a big, beautiful novel about grappling with our past, present and possible futures. In conversation with Cassie McCullagh.

Saturday 25 May 2024 Bathurst Writers' & Readers' Festival

Rural Crime
Fiction

A Cross Examination

Three wonderful crime writers, whose books are set in the Central West and Far West areas, explore why rural crime novels are so popular, and what makes them so good to write! Hear authors Aoife Clifford (It Takes A Town); James McKenzie Watson (Denizen), and Rhys Gard (Four Dogs Missing), as they chat with Jen Barry.

Saturday 25 May 2024 A Sydney Writers’ Festival Live & Local Livestream event

Storytellers

Leigh Sales and Lisa Millar

ABC legends Leigh Sales (Storytellers) and Lisa Millar (Muster Dogs) unpack the craft of turning real life events into narrative, drawing from their recent books and a combined 65 years in journalism.

Saturday 25 May 2024 Bathurst Writers' & Readers' Festival

Writing

From Journalism to Fiction

Hear authors Tracy Sorensen and Kirsty Jagger discuss the ways in which their work as journalists has informed their successful writing journeys, and what lies behind their desire to write fiction.

Saturday 25 May 2024 A Sydney Writers’ Festival Live & Local Livestream event

Bringing the
Past to Life

Francesca de Tores, Mirandi Riwoe and Abraham Verghese

Be transported by authors Francesca de Tores (Saltblood), Mirandi Riwoe (Sunbirds) and Abraham Verghese (The Covenant of Water) as they discuss the power of historical fiction. With ABC RN’s Kate Evans.

Saturday 25 May 2024 Bathurst Writers' & Readers' Festival

Unstoppable Stories

Wiradyuri Resistance and Aboriginal Political Activism

This year 2024 marks 200 years since Gudyarra (the Bathurst War) and the declaration of martial law on Wiradyuri Homelands, as well as 100 years since the formation of the Australian Aboriginal Progressive Association, the countries first politically organised Aboriginal activist group. As part of “Dhuluny 1824-2024 - 200 years of Wiradyuri resistance”, the Wiradyuri Traditional Owners Central West Aboriginal Corporation (WTOCWAC) invite you to reflect on stories of Wiradyuri resistance and Aboriginal political activism, with a panel featuring several important First Nations Elders, historians and activists who will consider how the long political resistance to colonisation should be commemorated, and how it continues to this day.

Saturday 25 May 2024 A Sydney Writers’ Festival Live & Local Livestream event

Sebastian
Barry

Old God's Time

Sit down with Ireland’s Fiction Laureate Sebastian Barry and host Kate Evans to discuss the Booker Prize longlisted Old God’s Time, followed by a live performance of Kol Nidrei, Op. 47 by Max Bruch arranged for cello and piano with Melissa Barnard and Lee Dionne from the ACO. Sebastian appears via video link

Sunday 26 May 2024 Bathurst Writers' & Readers' Festival

Great Festival Read

And In Conversation with Kylie Needham

This hugely popular feature of the local program sees booklovers reading the same book in the lead-up to the Festival weekend. Read the book then attend the event where a panel discusses the book selected for each year. For 2024, the Great Festival Read title is Girl in a Pink Dress by Kylie Needham. The panellists are Genevieve Carroll (artist); Maryanne Jacques (Arts OutWest); Paul Stafford (author and educator), and Jac Underwood (journalist and CSU Alumni). Hosted by Jen Barry. This session is followed by an In Conversation session with the author Kylie Needham at 10:30am.

Sunday 26 May 2024 A Sydney Writers’ Festival Live & Local Livestream event

Play Like a Girl

Chloe Dalton, Anna Meares and Jana Pittman hosted by Tracey Holmes

Cheer on the athletes kicking goals for women’s sport. Olympic rugby gold medalist Chloe Dalton (Girls Don’t Play Sport), Australia’s most decorated cycling Olympian Anna Meares, and world champion pro-athlete Jana Pittman (Enough) chat with host Tracey Holmes.

Sunday 26 May 2024 Bathurst Writers' & Readers' Festival

Let’s Talk

An In Conversation About Powerful Conversations

Since publishing her book, Rebel Talk, The Art of Powerful Conversations in 2020 Jane Hutcheon is on a mission to talk about difficult conversations. In this invigorating, in-person, in-conversation group chat, the former ABC journalist and creator/presenter of One Plus One needs audience participation to help her unpack some difficult conversations with warmth, humour, candour and curiosity for an in-conversation about what it means to be human today.

Sunday 26 May 2024 Bathurst Writers' & Readers' Festival

Kickstarting Your Creative Drive

Creative Writing Workshop with Kim Kelly

Whether you’re well advanced with your writing project or at the beginning, this workshop will be fun and inspiring, and will give you a handy set of writing tools to take away, to use whenever you need a kickstart again.

Sunday 26 May 2024 A Sydney Writers’ Festival Live & Local Livestream event

David Wengrow

The Dawn of Everything

Transform your understanding of human evolution with professor of archaeology David Wengrow, whose groundbreaking work with the late David Graeber overturns theories on the origins of farming, cities, democracy, slavery and civilisation itself. In conversation with ABC RN’s Richard Fidler.

Sunday 26 May 2024 Bathurst Writers' & Readers' Festival

Audiobooks Panel

'Reading' for the Ears

The listening experience is such a rich one when you have a great audiobook. Find out what‘s involved in bringing them to life, what makes or breaks a book for both a listener and an author, and why they are so popular.

Sunday 26 May 2024 A Sydney Writers’ Festival Live & Local Livestream event

Dark Technologies

Exposing the Technology of Modern Warfare

Hear about the role of emerging technologies in conflict and occupation with Walkley Award–winning journalist Antony Loewenstein (The Palestine Laboratory), artificial intelligence expert Toby Walsh (Faking It) and host Michael Richardson.

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