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Five Minutes with Annabel Morley

Annabel MorleyAnnabel Morley has a rich and fascinating heritage. Her father was the renowned British actor Robert Morley CBE, her grandmother the society beauty Dame Gladys Cooper. She counts actor Joanna Lumley (The New Avengers, Absolutely Fabulous)  as a cousin and as a child enjoyed the company of such iconic stars as Vivien Leigh, Laurence Olivier and Spencer Tracey.

Annabel’s recount of a childhood growing up in the English countryside, almost seems as if it has been ripped from quintessential English novels.  She now calls Australia home and we are delighted that Annabel will be joining us for the 2016 Batemans Bay Writers Festival to talk about food, the arts and her memoir about that amazing childhood, The Icing on the Cake.

Your memoir, The Icing on the Cake, is a fascinating insight into a life that seems straight out of fiction. What prompted you to put pen to paper?

I was first prompted by a low impulse – my elder brother Sheridan (who died in 2007) was a prolific writer (26 books about the theatre, plus14 books he edited and 4 stage shows) and when my father died in 1992, Sherry took over the telling of the family stories. But the problem was he would get them slightly wrong, if it was a joke of my father’s the punch line would be changed (and not for the better). I thought: I want to tell those stories – and get them right.

The other trigger was my mother’s death and the selling and dismantling of the family house. The book was a thank you letter to my parents, my father was so wonderfully buoyant and never really seemed old so I wasn’t prepared for him to die, with my mother it was a long, gentle decline and I did write her a letter telling her how wonderful she had been as a mother.

Basic CMYKI started writing the book about 5 years before it was published (in 2008) and every Christmas I would self-publish a section and sell it through our theatre groups and the response was very positive but there were several pitfalls – one was how long is a book (or a piece of string)? What in a life do you include or exclude? How to structure it?  Will the combination of memoir and recipes work? And will anybody ‘get’ it ?

By chance I met Jane Curry (who published Icing) and I had the little booklets and so I could say: this is it in embryo. And she being English and from a similar background to me (but much younger) ‘got’ it. So when she agreed to publish it, I had about half written it and I wrote the rest very quickly. The most difficult part to write was Big Brother, Little Brother.

In contrast, the section on my mother’s funeral Funeral Blues I wrote very quickly and easily. I tried it out at a library talk I gave (before the book was finished) and a man came up to me and said “Well, we certainly know a lot about you and your family now” and the inference was: Rather too much !

And I could hear my mother saying “Really, darling !” in the way she did when she thought one of us had gone a bit too far but I think she would have loved the book and I think my Pa would have been very proud – he wanted me to be a writer. (Sorry I took so long, Pa)

Food is central to your life. You love entertaining family and friends. I’m coming over for lunch on Sunday. What are we likely to be feasting upon.

As I write this I have half an eye on the clock, neighbours for supper. What are we having?

Anti pasto which we will eat on our laps – hummus and taramaslata, some Manchengo cheese and marinated artichokes, figs and dried pears, Aldi’s cheese biscuits. Then orange and oregano roast chicken with olive and fetta relish served with little potatoes roasted in olive oil and watercress salad. Crème caramel covered with sliced strawberries for pud.

Last dinner party ― I think I am one of the last people who still has dinner parties ― was Italian Wedding Soup (Recipe in Volume II), my fish pie (recipe in Icing) and an olive oil and chocolate cake for pud.

AnnabelMorley2Your father was the renowned actor Robert Morley CBE. You were an actress yourself. The theatre is still important to you but why should it matter to us? What draws people to your tours?

I have a confession to make – most of the time I would rather see a film than a play. In a bad film, there is always something to look at. Perversely, in the theatre I still feel that thrill when the house lights go down and the stage lights come up (once it was a curtain rising – very rare these days.) But oh ! The sense of growing horror if it’s going to be a dud night in the theatre. And I’m spoilt – I’ve seen the best. So I leave at the interval if I’m not enjoying myself – I have never walked out mid performance –although I was in a play when the audience did that, and asked for their money back.

But what draws people to the theatre in our groups I think is that compact that you enter into as an audience member in a theatre. The cinema says: this is real (although of course, it isn’t. )The playwright says:  all aboard the train, we applaud at the same time, laugh, weep, shudder – this disparate group of people becomes one entity. Extraordinary! And to think people have been doing this since the Greeks went to see plays about their gods; when I go to the Globe in London and sit as the dusk falls and think, people have been listening to these words of Shakespeare’s here or very near here for 400 years….well, it’s incredible. It’s story-telling.

(Also in our groups, we organise the tickets, we all go together, to matinees and Charlie, my husband, is so amazing that if you are hard of hearing he puts you down the front and if you have a gippy knee he puts you where there aren’t any stairs and if you are claustrophobic, you are on the end of a row. And we tell you about the play before we see it and we might have one of the cast or the director to tell us about the production and we discuss it afterwards.)

What unexpected delights did publishing The Icing on the Cake deliver? Did old friends reappear or new ones made?

The biggest thrill when I wrote Icing ( apart from a great friend here in Australia and another great friend in London ‘launching’ it at two fabulous parties) was such a sweet note from Anna Volska (John Bell’s wife) congratulating me, also walking past an unknown man in Bondi Junction who just said out of the corner of his mouth “Great  book”. A dear friend of mine who I have known since I was sixteen saying it made him cry. Because he knew all the cast and misses them as I do.

We are so looking forward to welcoming you to the 2016 Batemans Bay Writers Festival. What are you plans whilst you’re with us next weekend?

I’ve never been to Bateman’s Bay. I love seaside places. I love being away for the weekend and not having to shop or cook or wash up and I love talking about myself, plus I’m always fascinated to meet the other writers at Literary events and the audience.

You can meet Annabel at the following events:

Saturday September 10 9am to 10pm

Lifestyles

What place does food play in our lives? Think beyond sustenance and nourishment with three authors for whom food is central to their existence. With Annabel Morley, chef James Viles and food photographer Simon Griffiths. Facilitated by Nick Rheinberger.

Saturday September 10 11.45 am to 12.45 pm

State of the Arts

Geoff Cousins, Annabel Morley and Sarah Rice have a wealth of experience in the arts sector. They explore how the arts can remain a vital and relevant expression of our many identities.

Sunday September 11 9.30am to 10.30am

Memoir—Telling True Stories

Although regarded as non fiction, memoir can easily merge with fiction. How does a writer distinguish memory from fact or determine truths long buried with their teller? Three authors, Annabel Morley, Deb Hunt and Rod Jones, discuss the telling of family tales and the process of discovering the emotional truths of their stories. Facilitated by Meredith Jaffé.

Buy Tickets OnLine or in Person

Book for individual sessions or as many sessions as you want
Hit the blue BBWF Session Tickets button or click here

Cash sales available at

  • Hooked on BooksThe Village Centre Batemans Bay during business hours; and
  • Batemans Bay Library Hanging Rock Place Batehaven on Monday 5 September from 12 noon to 5 pm 

Highlight opening event

Download (PDF, 1MB)

Festival Program for you to download

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Book lovers! Give the Festival a go!

BATEMANS BAY WRITERS FESTIVAL 9 to 11 September 2016

A festival for book lovers, budding writers, authors and readers

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We are thrilled to announce an exciting line up for the 2016 Festival. If you haven’t been to a festival before, then give it a go! You will be sure to enjoy the weekend, and if you can’t make it to the whole weekend, then there will certainly be some individual sessions which will appeal.

The Festival opens on Friday 9 September with the Honourable Tim Fisher AC talking: Tango in Travel and Travel Writing ― Bhutan to Batemans Bay!

Special guest and former Australian polititian Tim Fischer celebrates as he shows the number 10 in Alice Springs during The Ghan 10th anniversary trip from Adelaide to Darwin.

Special guest and former Australian politician Tim Fischer celebrates as he shows the number 10 in Alice Springs during The Ghan 10th anniversary trip from Adelaide to Darwin.

His talk is followed by a fun debate: Pictures Speak Louder Than Words moderated by Paul Brunton

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Buy a Platinum Pass ticket and this session is free.

There are sixteen sessions for book lovers over the weekend as well as five workshops. Here are some of the highlights.

  • For foodies, meet James Viles chef and owner of the two-hatted restaurant Biota Dining, and photographer Simon Griffiths who has worked with celebrated chefs including Maggie Beer and Kylie Kwong. They are joined by Annabel Morley, daughter of the renowned actor Robert Morley CBE. Annabel’s memoir is The Icing on the Cake.
  • Lovers of art cannot miss hearing Darleen Bungey in conversation with Paul Brunton about her biographies of John Olsen and Arthur Boyd.
  • Dr Leah Kaminsky has written the fascinating We’re All Going to Die, a book that asks why some of us fear dying and others embrace it.
  • Award winning journalists George Megalogenis, Malcolm Knox and Mark Dapin discuss the horror and humour of the 2016 election.
  • For lovers of fiction there’s Malcolm Knox author of The Wonder Lover chatting with Ian Campbell.
  • Award winning poets, Sarah Rice, Geoff Page and Paul Hetherington discuss rhythm and rhyme and read from their poems.
  • Deb Hunt talks about her books and the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

The festival closes with a Literary Lunch featuring Tim Fischer talking about Turning Points in our Great Country. We are in for a treat! And it all happens at the CoachHouse Marina Resort, Beach Road, Batemans Bay.

Bookings are open for all sessions including the Opening Night event, Platinum Pass tickets, individual sessions and the Literary Lunch.

For more information and to purchase your tickets: www.batemansbaywritersfestival.com or phone 0417 267 771

Marion Roubos-Bennett, Festival Director

Five minutes with James Viles

James-Viles 

Five Minutes with James Viles …

 James Viles has made a name for himself as one of Australia’s most innovative and respected chefs and restaurateurs. His two-hatted Southern Highlands restaurant Biota Dining, situated in the picturesque town of Bowral, has a list of accolades to its name. In 2015 alone, it was listed in the Australian Financial Review’s Top 100 Restaurants and named as the Sydney Morning Herald’s Regional Restaurant of the Year.

All this from a man with a very simple philosophy—take inspiration from the place that surrounds you.

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James is joining us at the Batemans Bay Writers Festival in September. We spent five minutes finding out a little bit more about the man and what motivates him.

How old were you when you started to cook and how soon did you realise you wanted food to have a central place in your life?

I was 14 when I started to cook and about 15 when I started my apprenticeship. I really enjoyed the kitchen environment. It was addictive and energising and still is. I just felt like I belonged.
Your two-hatted restaurant Biota Dining and the accompanying cook book Biota are all about showcasing seasonal, ethical produce and delicious dishes from the surrounding region. Why is this important to you, as a chef, and to us at-home cooks?

It’s important because it’s simple and real. Why chase the globe for obscure ingredients when the best ingredients are on our doorstep? By using our ingredients, in our country, we are supporting our farmers and growers.
Chefs are always asked which three ingredients they can’t live without so how about we ask instead, which three ingredients do you think are the most underrated?

Easy one – duck tongues – fish throats and a controversial one, but – unpasteurised milk … SHHHH
Australians buy more cook books than any other nation in the world. What is it about our relationship with food that makes us such avid consumers?

We are curious and not bound by tradition, it makes us adventurous in our approach and savvy on what’s around us.
We are thrilled to have you as a guest at the 2016 Batemans Bay Writers Festival. What are you looking forward to on this visit to the South Coast?

I’m going to enjoy meeting all the people and learning about the regions produce.

Meet James at the following events:!cid_DFA2E465-0286-40E1-A82E-8ADBBD8DA535

Highlight opening event

Friday 9 September: 5.30pm for 6pm

Debate: Pictures speak louder than words

Words enrich our lives, entertain us and inform us. Painting, photography, film and the vast array of visual arts move us, alarm us and cast a light on the world around us. But which is the more effective medium? Do we respond more to what we see than what we read?

Saturday 10 September: Time: 9.00 am to 10 am

Lifestyles

Nick Rheinberger leads a discussion with three authors for whom food is central to their existence: Annabel Morley (The Icing on the Cake), Chef James Viles (Biota ― Grow Gather Cook) and photographer Simon Griffiths (Salute! Stephanie Alexander and Maggie Beer’s Tuscan Cookbook and Boat).

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Festival Program 2016

All in One Festival Brochure

Download (PDF, 442KB)

Program at a Glance

Download (DOCX, 85KB)

The 2016 Full Festival Program

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The 2016 Festival Workshops

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BBWF Session Tickets

Literary Lunch with Tim Fischer – Festival 2016

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ALL FESTIVAL SEATS are now on sale. Literary lunch tickets $60 ($40 for Platinum ticket holders) Tickets are available on EventBrite

Platinum Ticket holders can use their PROMOTION CODE to book 9 SESSIONS, and also as their Seat Discount Code for the Literary Lunch. These codes are available on EventBrite when you access your Platinum ticket information. You can request these be sent to you again here.

When you have your Promotion Code, click the button below, Enter the Promotion code, click View Event and purchase your seats. You will be able to select the seats you want, and ‘enter a promo code’ (your seat discount code) to get your discount.

Please Note: The Literary Lunch consists of a Two Course Meal with Tim Fischer AC as the Guest Speaker (incorrectly listed as a three course meal in recent newsletter).

Literary Lunch Tickets

Join consummate and extremely versatile speaker Tim Fischer at the Festival Literary LunchTim draws on his broad range of experience in public and private life to deliver illuminating and informative presentations on everything from Gross National Happiness to Military Civilian Leadership and Infrastructure Excellence. He may even talk about his obsession with trains and travel. More details to follow when the Festival Program is announced.

 The Honourable Tim Fischer AC is the former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia and was the Australian Ambassador to the Holy See for three years until January 2012. A former Australian Army Officer, NSW State Parliamentarian, Leader of the National Party and Minister for Trade, Tim Fischer is also a consultant, company director, author, broadcaster, and multiple patron.

Batemans Bay Writers and Readers Festival Literary Lunch

Date: Sunday 11 September 2016

Time: 12 for 12.30 pm

Venue: Festival Hub marquee CoachHouse Marina Resort

49 Beach Road Batemans Bay NSW

Cost: $60 ($40 for Platinum Ticket-holders)

Includes a two course meal and a glass of bubbly on arrival

Tickets are currently available for ALL FESTIVAL ACTIVITIES. Click below and purchase your Platinum Pass Ticket or on Ticket Links on every page.

Get Festival Platinum Tickets

Batemans Bay Writers Festival 2016 Launched

FullSizeRender-2Batemans Bay Writers Festival is thrilled to announce an exciting line up for the 2016 Festival. In its third year, the Festival welcomes a number of eminent Australian writers and leaders across a diverse range of interests. Lifestyle, history, health and the arts share centre stage with some of the best writers of fiction, poetry, non-fiction and memoir.

Federal Member for Gilmore, Anne Sudmalis MP officially launched the Festival at an event held Friday evening at the Coachhouse Marina Resort where the festival will take place over the weekend of September 9 to 11. Other guests included well known locals Eurobodalla Shire Mayor CR Lindsay Brown, author and musician Stafford Ray and Fellowship of Australian Writers President and author Rosie Toth. In a speech acknowledging the power of creativity, Ms Sudmalis said, “what youre doing now is youre nurturing people who are going to go the festival and you are going to be inspiring your friends to come to the festival and were going to be encouraging as many other people to come into the Festival in September.”

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The Honourable Tim Fischer AC will open the Festival 2016 on 9 September and will be VIP celebrity speaker at the literary lunch on 11 September.

The Festival will be bookended with drinks on Friday 9 September and a literary lunch on Sunday 11, both featuring the Honourable Tim Fischer ACformer Deputy Prime Minister, and Australian Ambassador to the Vatican Holy See and travel writer. Other highlights include award winning writer and GP, Dr Leah Kaminsky who will talk about her latest book, Were All Going to Die, a book that challenges our fears about death and dying. Journalist and author Malcolm Knox will be talking about his latest fiction work The Wonder Lover as well as joining renowned environmental activist and business leader Geoff Cousins AM in a post election conversation about our changing attitudes to the environment. Darleen Bungey will feature in conversation about her two award winning biographies on the artists John Olson and Arthur Boyd. 

At the launch, Festival Director, Marion Roubos-Bennett said, “a writers festival enriches us all with the coming together of readers and ideas. We are diversifying our program to cover the vast range of readers tastes and our popular workshops will have a new stimulating series as well.

For the foodies among us, we welcome Annabel Morley, photographer Simon Griffiths and Biota Dining chef James Viles. Authors Mark Dapin, Meredith Jaffé and Rod Jones will be talking about their most recent books and offering a thoughtful commentary on Australian fiction this year. For poetry lovers, we welcome three wonderful local poets in Sarah Rice, Geoff Page and Paul Hetherington. And author of Love in the Outback and Australian Farming Families Deb Hunt will talk about the challenges of rural life.’

Earlybird Platinum Pass tickets are on sale now: www.batemansbaywritersfestival.com

or phone 0417 267 771 Check the website for program updates

For further information visit www.batemansbaywritersfestival.com

Media inquiries: Marion Roubos-Bennett 0417 267 771

Download (DOCX, 97KB)

Platinum Pass on Sale

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Marion Roubos- Bennett, Festival Director, made many announcements at the Batemans Bay Writers Festival Launch on 27 May, including details of the terrific line-up of authors. The Festival will be held at the Coachhouse Marina Resort Batemans Bay from Friday 9 September to Sunday 11 September 2016.

PLEASE NOTE: Early Bird Platinum Tickets are no longer on Sale. BUT all the benefits listed below apply to Platinum Tickets, and for only $185.

Download (DOCX, 165KB)

Platinum Ticket Benefits include:

 

  • Preferential booking for Festival for up to 9 sessions or workshops.
  • Reserved session seating for all nominated events.
  • Free entry to the Saturday evening event.
  • 10% discount on accommodation at Coachhouse Marina Resort (minimum stay 2 nights)
  • Exclusive Platinum Pass priority parking close to the venues
  • 5% discount on Festival authors’ books bought at Hooked on Books Batemans Bay and at the Festival bookshop

In addition:

• Discounted Literary Lunch with Tim Fischer AC ($40 instead of $60) on Sunday –  book online

What does this mean for you?

Well, Platinum Pass Holders will get preferential seating at each Session, and Priority parking close to the event, a discount on the Literary Lunch. And, they can attend any sessions that are not booked out, whether they have booked or not.

When you book your ticket, an email will be sent to you indicating a promotion code for Platinum discounts on sessions and workshops, and the Literary Lunch. Go back to the website to book your sessions and enter the code at the top of the pop-up page once you have pressed the ‘Tickets’ button. If you need help press the ‘contact’ button at the top of the festival web homepage and enter your request.

Get Festival Platinum Tickets

Sponsorship Arrangements for 2016

BBWF Logo TransMWe gratefully acknowledge our fabulous Sponsors and Supporters whose support is so critical to the success of our festival.

For 2016, the Batemans Bay Writers Festival is offering significantly improved Sponsor and Supporter exposure and facilities on our website.

Typically the site is well used most days, but site visits really take off in the lead up to the BBWF Festival, this year in September. This increased site visitation rate usually starts with the announcements of Authors, Presenters, Sessions and Workshops for the coming Festival. The main announcement this year is on 27 May.

See the list of this years Authors and Presenters

With a large number of locals and visitors planning their festival activities, this site becomes a great place to showcase your services and products. Not all Festival visitors will want to be at all sessions of the Festival, so there are opportunities to promote your business or service on or around Festival time.

We have now added facilities to the site to showcase your organisation, service or product.

We will add categories suitable for your needs (i.e. food, accommodation, entertainment, activity, shopping) so your listing will be easily found. And appropriate listings will feature prominently on relevant pages of the site to help our clients, and you get the most from the festival.

We are offering three levels of sponsorship for your consideration.
  1. $75 for a logo or picture and link displayed on several pages of the web site as a Supporter of the Festival.
  2. Sponsors pay $250 for 250 words, a logo or business card pic and a photo (eg a product photo, a menu, a price list, whatever you need), your address linked to a map, and web link, a contact link, a phone number, all effectively displayed as a web page, and your first photo will be included in a page linked slider image (or random display list of sponsors) together with other festival sponsors, showing in the information section of each page of the festival web site; and
  3. $500 for everything listed in 2 above, plus up to 5 pictures, up to 600 words, featured on the home page slider. No more than 15 of these type 3 sponsorships will be sold, and they will be left in place until at least April 2017. These listings will feature on every page, and on relevant pages also.

Your patronage will help support the non profit festival organisation.

We are also keen to recognise and help sponsors and supporters who can contribute to the Festival in other ways. If you want to propose a special for Festival attendees, a discount or other offer, we would be very happy to hear your proposal.

All Supporters and Sponsors information is included in site searches and discoverable through Google.

To see examples of the type of coverage you can expect see our Sponsors and Supporters sections at the bottom of each of our web pages.

If you are interested, please fill in the form below with some detail of your requirements and expectations. We will get back to you.
Thanks for supporting the Festival.

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IN PRAISE OF SMALL FESTIVALS

Quoted from the Sydney Morning Herald’s article of 13 June 2015 by Susan Wyndham

“I spent last weekend at the Batemans Bay Writers Festival and I want to praise the entrepreneurial organisers. In its second year, the festival attracted a small but happy audience of South Coast locals plus some from Canberra and a few from Sydney and Melbourne.

Held on two bright days in a seaside resort with cabins for guests and a central hub for talks and book sales, it felt like Byron Bay Writers’ Festival in its early days 20 years ago – interesting, intimate and relaxed, if less bohemian. Festival Director Marion Roubos-Bennett put together a great program of talks and workshops by 20 writers including Graeme Simsion, James Bradley, Linda Jaivin, Mark Henshaw and Gabrielle Lord, as well as new and local names.

With just two sessions going at once I could see speakers I have missed at bigger festivals and discover others, and have dinner or coffee with them. Authors and audience members had a chance to talk. Roubos-Bennett and her volunteers were well-organised, generous and attentive hosts, and her husband Henk manned the green room, making excellent coffee and soup.

I urge any writer to accept an invitation, book lovers to plan a weekend there, and businesses to support a cultural event that enriches the region.”

Thanks Susan