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Festival fun with a real literary twist

By Mark Beale

EXCITEMENT is building for the fifth annual Whitsunday Writers Festival, which opens tomorrow (Friday, October 10), at Cannonvale’s Volunteer Marine Clubhouse (VMR).

This year’s festival has a new format and is filled with a wide variety of events for the entire community to enjoy.

Social events throughout the weekend include an opening night function, complete with music by Taylor and Silk, canapés courtesy of Fish D’Vine and live theatrical storytelling.

On Saturday night there’s a gourmet dinner, hosted by former rugby player-turned-journalist Peter Fitzsimons and on Sunday afternoon, a ‘Pirates and Poets’ long-table lunch will wrap the festival up.

Festival founder Gloria Burley said people could expect a re-invigorated and modernised event.

“I really feel that people will get a lot more out of this one and it might be something they’ve never thought of before – it’s not just about writing and it’s not just about books anymore – it’s about blogging and it’s about how we communicate,” she said.

Ms Burley said she expected festival elements such as the blogging and travel workshops and ‘Pirates and Poets’ lunch, to have universal appeal.

“People love to travel, I know I do, and you can make it pay – come and learn how. And poetry – people may not have been exposed to much poetry in the past and they might really like it – plus who in Airlie Beach does not have a pirate outfit,” she said.

The festival starts at 8.30am tomorrow, with day one featuring workshops on a variety of topics including marketing, self-publishing and travel writing.

Saturday’s agenda includes presentations by an array of speakers including Fitzsimons, who is one of Australia’s best-selling non-fiction authors and a journalist with the Sydney Morning Herald.

Sunday is a chance to hear from local authors before the poetry kicks in with a reading of David Reiter’s award-winning poem, ‘Hemingway in Spain’, complete with a film clip.

Tickets are available for individual events or as day or full-weekend passes and can be bought online at

To see the full program with author bio’s, visit


Peter Fitzsimons – Former rugby player-turned-journalist with the Sydney Morning Herald. Now one of Australia’s best-selling non-fiction authors.

Alice Greenup – Author of the memoir Educating Alice, a number one best-selling biography in Australia and a national top ten best seller.

Ronni Kahn – Founder of Oz Harvest and driving force behind the Oz Harvest Cookbook.

Kerry Heaney – President of the Australian Society of Travel Writers (ASTW).

Jenni Ogden – Neuro psychologist and author of several books.

John Ogden – Author of over 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers and co-author of a number of books.

Gloria Burley – Founder of the Whitsunday Writers Festival and author of two autobiographical books.

Anna Derham – Author of the book Go Home and Grow Tomatoes about overcoming cancer with positive thinking techniques.

Diana Hinschen – Self publisher of the magazine Australian Hair & Beauty.

Dan Battley – ABC open workshops co-ordinator


When: October 10-12

Where: Cannonvale Marine Club, Altmann Avenue

Ticket options: Individual events or day / weekend passes

To book:

For more information:

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