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 is Girl in a Pink Dress by Kylie Needham. The panellists are Genevieve Carroll (Hill End 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.


Kylie Needham is an award-winning screenwriter. She holds a Bachelor of Arts/Communications (Theatre/Media) from Charles Sturt University and both a Master of Arts (English Literature) and a Master of Creative Writing from Macquarie University. Kylie has won two AWGIE (Australian Writers’ Guild) Awards for television scriptwriting. Her work has been published in the Better Read Than Dead Writing Anthology 2019 and The Quarry Journal. Girl in a Pink Dress is her first book, which won the 2024 MUD Literary Prize for Best Debut Literary Fiction Novel. She lives in the Southern Highlands of NSW.


Is it possible for one relationship to survive two ambitious artists?

Far away from the glittering lights and famous personalities of the Sydney art world she once knew, Frances now lives a quiet life in a remote mountain town, pursuing her art. When an invitation arrives from a former lover to attend his painting exhibition at a celebrated gallery, Frances is plunged back into the past, when a single act changed the course of her life.

Told across two time periods, Girl in a Pink Dress is a sharp-eyed and compelling story about love and art, about sacrifice and ambition, and the often-damaging relationship between artist and muse.

Grab your copy at Books Plus Bathurst or Bathurst Library.


Jen Barry is a passionate reader and former bookseller, who has been involved with the Bathurst Writers’ & Readers’ Festival since its inception.

Event and Ticket Details

Hearing Aid Loop Wheelchair Access
City Hall 105 William St, Bathurst NSW 2795 Get Directions

BMEC Members
$8 per session
Festival Pass $120 – phone or counter sale only**

$10 per session
$9 per session for 5 or more Multipack Tickets

* A $3 transaction fee applies

**As capacity is limited, patrons are required to book their seat for every session they wish to attend even if purchasing a Festival Pass.

Local Stages
Bathurst Library
Books Plus
Borrow Box
Good Reading

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