Sunshine Coast International Readers and Writers Festival just six weeks away

MORE than 100 international, national and regional creatives will converge on Coolum on August 12 and 13 for the 2nd annual Sunshine Coast International Readers and Writers Festival.

The festival runs over two days and one night in five venues including the Coolum Civic Centre and major presentation marquees in the precinct’s Jack Morgan Park.

Festival founder and director Wendy O’Hanlon said the extensive festival program has something for everyone with writers of all genres including fiction and non-fiction, slam poets and singer-songwriters, a world-class children’s and YA writers’ program, children’s storytelling and craft activities plus a variety of Artisan Market stalls and information stalls manned by regional environmental groups. Buskers and poets will be performing in the park throughout the weekend to create a lively atmosphere.

“As an international festival, our focus this year is on Papua New Guinean writers,” Ms O’Hanlon said. “We are proud to present a number of the authors who wrote PNG’s very first anthology of women writers, My Walk To Equality, which was launched a few months ago in Port Moresby. The book’s editor Rashmii Amoah Bell will be here with some of her writers. Plus, long-time PNG journalist and author Daniel Kumbon will launch his new book, I Can See My Country Clearly Now – a traveler’s tribute to PNG.

“Exciting news is the launch of our region’s first-ever official Sunshine Coast Slam Poetry Championships in association with Queensland Poetry Festival and Australian Poetry Slam,” she said. “The championships will be held on Saturday night, August 12 and we are hosting two workshops prior – the first at Yandina’s The Shared on Friday, July 28. Australian poetry slam champion Zohab Zee Khan, from New South Wales, will be hosting the workshops and championships with Sunshine Coast slam poet Gabriella Salmon.

“We had to lobby hard to win the right to host these championships as three other events were vying to host this heat which is one of 10 across Queensland,” Ms O’Hanlon said. “The winner from our heat will compete at the State titles in Brisbane in late August and possibly go on to the national championships in Sydney in August.”

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The festival also features a rich range of writing and publishing workshops, a songwriting workshop and children’s storytelling and craft workshops. The festival places a strong emphasis on region’s rich Aboriginal and South Sea Islander culture, surfing culture and global environmental concerns.

“We have panels talking about our surfing culture, global environmental issues and social issues. There really will be some big-idea, light-bulb moments for sure,” Ms O’Hanlon said. “Plus we will be the platform for more than a dozen book launches.

“We have guest presenters literally from all over Australia and the world including PNG, Brazil, New Zealand, Europe and Bali. The festival is all about bringing these minds to the Sunshine Coast and opening up discussions and forging networks with creatives from around the world.

“Tickets are very affordable and this year we are offering a number of ticket options to suit all festival-goers,” Ms O’Hanlon said.

Details and tickets available at www.sunshinecoastreadersandwritersfestival.com.  Aspiring slam poets should register for the workshops by emailing the festival office at enjoy@sunshinecoastreadersandwritersfestival.com  or phone 0435 877 617 for more details.

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