Ever thought about writing a novel?
Do you love books, storytelling, poetry or podcasts?
If you answered yes to any of the above, the Write Around the Murray Festival in Albury-Wodonga is one place you, or your children, might want to be between 13 and 17 September.
Get set to be inspired through a range of talks, workshops, panel discussions and live performances brought to you by world-class Australian authors, illustrators, poets and artists.
Now in its 17th year, Write Around the Murray brings together a stellar cast of talent including Pip Williams, Debra Dank, Kathryn Heyman, Margaret Hickey, Shelley Burr, Joel McKerrow, Megan J Riedl and Luke Patterson.
Festival director Ann-maree Ellis said the event was more than a literary festival, with a great diversity of events that showcased storytelling in its broadest form.
“Obviously the books are central to the event but the festival features performances, spoken word, music, visual art and more,” she said.
“We’ve purposely tried to build the program in a way that reaches the broadest possible audience.
“There are 40 events as part of the public program and another 30 sessions that are held as part of the schools program.”
The majority of events are held at the Albury Library Museum with the Murray Art Museum Albury, Hyphen Wodonga, the Lavington Library and the Public House staging selected events.
It’s no mean feat bringing a program such as this to fruition and it’s a 12-month process behind the scenes co-ordinating, planning and pulling together the range of presenters.
“It’s a lot of work, yes, but it’s really rewarding and the festival trades on a really good reputation,” said Ann-maree.
“Authors have heard about it; they want to be involved and they are often approaching us first. When we approach them they generally say yes.
“I have been told that for the size of the festival and our community, we punch well above our weight!”
The book of the festival this year is Pip Williams’ The Bookbinder of Jericho.
Pip Williams was born in London, grew up in Sydney, and now lives in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia. Her first novel, The Dictionary of Lost Words, was published in 2020 and became an international bestseller. Its much-anticipated companion novel, The Bookbinder of Jericho, became an instant number one bestseller when it was published in April 2023.
You can hear Pip talk with interviewer Jason Steger at the Library Museum on Sunday 17 September at 3 – 4 pm (tickets $10/$5 conc, book online).
Other program highlights include the Stereo Stories in Concert – a unique event that weaves together the performance of songs with the narration of personal stories centred around those songs. An audience fave, it features Paul Dalgarno, Irma Gold, Debra Dank and Rijn Collins.
There is also the Radical Book Club Open Night where you can join a cohort of radical readers who reflect on books that challenge conventions and, back by popular demand this year, is the Dungeons and Dragons event.
“I’m pretty proud we are doing this Dungeons and Dragons event,” said Ann-maree.
“We did it last year for the first time. It is a very playful form of storytelling and it has a big following, it’s such a creative and improvised way of storytelling really.
“I think it’s great that we’ve been able to experiment with the program and that we found a way to do something like this that is live and really fun.”
Lovers of verse, rhyme, lyric or sonnet take note, there is a poetry slam at Hyphen Wodonga where you have two minutes to wow judges and the audience with your prose.
“We’re really excited about this year’s program,” said Ann-maree.
“It’s jam-packed. Audiences can expect to explore science fiction, crime fiction, literary fiction, memoir, spoken word, art and history walking tours, exhibition talks and of course a few yarn bombs by local First Nations storytellers.”
Write Around the Murray Festival, Albury-Wodonga, between 13 and 17 September.