Find out the latest news for the 2014 Newcastle WritersFestival, 4-6 April.

2014 is already off to an intense start for the NWF committee as we finalise logistics for the second festival in April.

I am thrilled to let you know that except for a couple of minor details, this year’s program is complete and ready to be sent to the graphic designer. There are more sessions and a greater variety. Once again, there will be a number of free events and the main festival hub during April 5 and 6 will be Newcastle City Hall.

The program can be downloaded from the festival website from midnight on 22 February and tickets go on sale from 9am via Ticketek. I urge you to book ahead to take advantage of early-bird prices as door sales will incur an additional fee.

In the meantime, our kids program is available at and tickets are now on sale - check out some of the highlights below. This is a vibrant and exciting program that will inspire children of all ages, encouraging them to enjoy the rich heritage of literature available to them. Children’s literacy is the foundation of a dynamic community and an area close to my heart.

Creating this year’s program has been a lot of fun mixed with hard work. I am excited about the range of guests who will be participating. All of them – including our talented local writers – are looking forward to the festival. One of the most frequently received comments from last year’s guests was how friendly and engaged the festival audiences were. I have no doubt that won’t change.

While awaiting the program launch, follow the festival on Facebook where announcements will be made about some of the guest writers such as Angela Savage. I look forward to receiving your feedback.

All the best,

Rosemarie Milsom
Festival Director

Guest writer Angela Savage in 2014 line-up

The Newcastle Writers Festival welcomes Melbourne writer Angela Savage, who has gained a loyal following thanks to her crime series, which traces the mysteries and mishaps of Australian ex-pat P.I. Jayne Keeney.

In the most recent instalment, The Dying Beach, Jayne and her business partner/lover Rajiv tackle injustice in Thailand. Angela will participate in three events at the festival, including as host of an “in conversation” session with another of Australia’s leading crime writers.

Stay tuned.

Sean Tan exhibition

Launching 2 April is an exhibition of original artwork from The Lost Thing by Australia’s internationally award-winning author and illustrator, Shaun Tan. It runs until 30 June 2014 at the Lovett Gallery.

The Lost Thing started life in 1999 as an idea sketched at Shaun’s kitchen table. The picture book was published in 2000. His work also includes The ArrivalThe Red TreeTales from Outer SuburbiaThe Bird King and Rules of Summer.

Boys writing workshops

As part of a program of workshops for primary-school age kids (3-4 April), Creative Writing for Boys is presented by actor, filmmaker and author Tristan Bancks who aims to give boys the inspiration needed to release the wild beasts of their imagination.

Tristan is a children’s and middle-grade author with a back- ground in acting and filmmaking. His short films as writer and director have won a number of awards and have screened widely in festivals and on TV.

Multi-sensory creative fun

Artist Bliss Cavanagh has composed a multi-sensory kids writing zone for the festival that will inspire young writers to create a world where all things are possible. Children can indulge their senses at Newcastle Region Library in a colourful world of furry fun and delightful hands-on-art works.

Diagnosed with Tourettes at age six, her passion for drawing, painting and all aspects of art provides Bliss with freedom and purpose beyond the stress of the overload of nervous tension, abnormal tics and sensory disturbances.

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