Festival 2016 Opening Event Highlights


Festival Director Marion Roubos-Bennett welcomes guests to the opening of Festival 2016.

The opening was held in the Festival Hub Marquee.



Tim Fischer AC gives the opening address, Tango in Travel and Travel Writing: Bhutan to Batemans Bay!



Opening address is followed by a fun debate, Pictures Speak Louder than Words. Moderated by Paul Brunton OAM.


debate-guests-gather  debate-guests

Festival-goers enjoy the opening event

debate debaters-and-the-winner-is

And vote for the winning team in the debate.



Five Minutes With Mark Dapin

Five Minutes With Mark Dapin

Mark Dapin is a man who wears many hats. He’s been a magazine editor for publications such as Ralph and the Australian Financial Review and a regular columnist for the Good Weekend magazine. He is also a writer of fiction and non fiction books. His novel King of the Cross won the 2010 Ned Kelly award for best first fiction and his 2012 novel Spirit House was longlisted for the Miles Franklin award. His recent works have a very different flavour as Mark explores the impact of war.

Mark-Dapin        spirit-house      king-of-the-cross

Mark is joining us at the 2016 Batemans Bay Writers Festival where we will have a chance to hear him talk about war, politics and the importance of the arts.

You’re currently completing your PhD at ADFA. You’ve written and edited several books around the impact of war. Most of us think of you as a pretty knockabout funny bloke. Where does such a serious passion come from?

I never intended to be a “funny” writer. At first, I was surprised people thought my stories were funny because they were often just descriptions of the world as it looked to me. I was a serious journalist (of a sort) before I began to write first-person humour columns, and real journalism was always more important to me. That said, I like my serious work to surprise the reader with moments of (inappropriate) humour. As for the war thing, I’m not sure how that came about. I think I just got old and boring and interested in military history, in the way that old and boring men do.


The Vietnam War has been the subject  of both a fiction and a nonfiction books for you,  R&R and The Nasho’s War respectively. What is it about that particular conflict that makes you put pen to paper?

R&R came out of my research for the Nashos’ War. I just wanted to make sure that some of the ideas I could not use in non-fiction (because they weren’t true) did not go to waste. I wrote my novel Spirit House about the Burma Railway. I considered using the research for Spirit House to write a non-fiction book – and as the basis for a PhD – so it could have gone either way, I suppose.


You’re a journalist by trade, when you’re not writing books, your teaching others how to write them. Why is teaching about writing important to you?

I enjoy it. I like the sound of my own voice – except on tape, of course. Also, I like the idea of helping people, My life can seem a bit selfish at times.

You’ve interviewed some pretty cool celebrities in your time, from Nick Cave to Lee Kernaghan to Frederick Forsyth. Any funny stories to share?

Kostya Tszyu once punched me and broke my rib. But I’ll save the other stories for the festival.

We’re looking forward to welcoming you at the 2016 Batemans Bay Festival. We’ve got you chatting about everything from life after war to the state of Australian politics to the state of the arts. What are you most looking forward to at the Festival?

Hearing myself speak. Selling and signing loads of books. Eating stuff.

You can meet Mark at the following events:

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. Facilitated by Mark Dapin

Saturday September 10 1.45 pm to 2.45 pm

Keeping the Bastards Honest: the 2016 election in review

Join political and economics commentator George Megalogenis, and journalists Mark Dapin and Malcolm Knox as they reveal the horrors and humour of the 2016 campaign and what questions this latest shuffling of the deck chairs raises for the immediate future.


Saturday September 10 4.30 pm to 5.30 pm

Life after War

Authors Mark Dapin (R&R and The Nashos’ War) and Leah Kaminsky (The Waiting Room) have written about the impact of war and how the effect of war crosses generations and affects lives long after the conflict itself is over. Facilitated by Suzanne Leal, a lawyer experienced in child protection, criminal law and refugee law.


Help with purchasing tickets

Help with purchasing Platinum tickets

Remember, Platinum ticket-holders can come to 9 sessions, and the opening event is free as are any of the workshops. The literary lunch is $40 instead of $60.

You will need to go to the Festival website twice:

  • firstly to purchase and pay for your platinum ticket
  • secondly to book your preferred sessions

1) Buy your ticket

  • hit the Festival Platinum button under Get Tickets on the Festival home page.

This takes you to the Eventbrite ticket page.

  • Hit the green Tickets button
  • A drop-down menu comes up saying ‘Select Tickets’.
  • enter the number of Platinum tickets you want to buy
  • Hit the green Get Tickets button

Your initial confirmation ticket/s will be emailed to you.

Within a day or so you will be re-emailed your ticket(s), with a three digit promotional code included, for booking your preferred sessions: ‘Your personal Lunch and Discount Code: xxx’

2) Ready to book your preferred sessions:

  • hit the BBWF Get Session Tickets button under Get Tickets on the Festival home page.

This takes you to the Eventbrite ticket page.

  • Hit the green Tickets button
  • A drop-down menu comes up saying ‘Select Tickets’. At the top of that menu is a link saying ‘Enter promotional code’.
  • Enter your three digit code and hit the Apply Code button
  • top left of the drop-down menu will say: ‘xxx applied. A 100% discount is available’. (You have already paid for your ticket/s)
  • Hit the green Get Tickets button
  • book your preferred sessions
  • agree to the waiver
  • hit Complete registration

If you are booking for the Literary Lunch with Tim Fischer AC as well, you will need to go back to the festival website

  • hit the Literary Lunch button under Get Tickets on the Festival home page.

This takes you to the Eventbrite ticket page.

  • Hit the green Tickets button
  • A drop-down menu comes up saying ‘Select Tickets’.

At the top of that menu is a link saying ‘Enter promotional code’.

  • Enter your three digit code and hit the Apply Code button

Once the code has been entered, and your seats booked, hit ‘checkout’ to see that the total order is $40.

Still need help? email [email protected]

Bring your tickets, grab your book-spending money, pack your reading glasses and enjoy the Festival. What better way to spend a Spring weekend.

Share the experience


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Highlight opening event

Download (PDF, 1MB)

Festival Program for you to download

Download (PDF, 442KB)

Five minutes with Deb Hunt

Five Minutes with Deb Hunt

English born Deb Hunt has been a librarian, teacher, event manager, PR executive, actress and journalist. She has worked with Shakespeare in the Park in London, Australian House & Garden magazine in Sydney and for the past five years as a writer with the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Her memoir,  Love in the Outback, reveals Deb’s experience of discovering an unimagined land and true love far from the green fields of home.  Her latest book, Australian Farming Families explores what it is that binds Australians to the land. Travelling tens of thousands of kilometres, Deb met farming families who are challenged every day by the weather, economic ups and downs and isolation and yet remain passionate and determined.

Deb is joining us at the 2016 Batemans Bay Writers Festival in September. We spent five minutes with Deb to find out a little more about her.


The summary of your 2014 memoir, Love in the Outback, goes along these lines: “The true story of a tree-hugging vegetarian from a small English village who gave up a job she hated, stopped stalking a man who wasn’t interested and moved to Australia to work for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.”  What were some of the culture shock moments in that transition that make you laugh now?

I had so much to learn about the Outback. A single property in Australia can be the size of several English counties so it can take a couple of hours to drive across. I could never admit that I used to stop for a nap mid-way through a two-hour drive in England. That was considered a long way! I remember one time I found a mouse at home in Broken Hill so I captured it, thinking I might keep it as a pet or maybe release it. Then I heard about an epic plague of mice causing havoc in town, so I kept very quiet about the one I’d tried to save. And until I lived in Broken Hill I’d never heard of anyone having all their teeth removed when they got married. Apparently it saves having to visit a dentist.


Before you came to Australia, did you have any idea of what the RFDS was and how important it was to outback life?

My only understanding of the RFDS was through watching that old TV series about the Flying Doctor from the 1970s and I’ve learnt so much since about the incredible work they do. I fully appreciate that tyranny of distance now, which is an ever-present threat in the Outback. I had no idea how vital the service is for survival in rural and remote areas.

Your experiences in rural Australia have also led to a collection of true stories called Australian Farming Families. Is it possible to sum up what you learned from them about life on the land?

I learnt it takes grit and determination to be a farmer in Australia. It’s not a question of if disaster strike, it’s when. Farmers, graziers and pastoralists cope with drought, fire, flood, debt, disease and the invasion of pests on a regular basis. Add to that the lack of schools, hospitals, dentists, libraries, shops, mechanics and all the other services the rest of us take for granted and you begin to understand how hard it is to operate in a remote area. Yet the people I interviewed wouldn’t live anywhere else; they’re passionate about what they do.


Where to next with your writing? Are you sticking with non-fiction or is there a novel lurking in there?

I love non-fiction but I’ve always been an avid reader of fiction so right now I’m exploring an idea for a novel – set in the Outback of course!

We’re so looking forward to welcoming you to the 2016 Batemans Bay Writers Festival. But what are you looking forward to when you visit in September?

You’ve got a great line-up of speakers so I’m looking forward to hearing as many as I can. Tim Fischer was influential during his time as Chairman of the RFDS so I’m really looking forward to hearing what he’s got to say. And I’ve heard the coastline around Bateman’s Bay is spectacular.

Meet Deb at the following events:

Saturday September 10: Time 3 pm to 4 pm

The Royal Flying Doctor Service & Outback Life

Deb Hunt (Love in the Outback and Australian Farming Families) talks with Ian Campbell about the important role the RFDS plays on outback life.

Saturday September 10: Time 5.30 pm for 6pm to 7 pm

Free event

4 X 5 minutes

Four authors, four readings, four sets of literary trivia. Join us for drinks, trivia and book-readings. Authors Deb Hunt, Meredith Jaffé, Paul Hetherington and Rod Jones, give short readings from a work of their choice. In between, tease your brain with four sets of literary trivia. Prizes to be won.

Sunday September 11: Time: 9.30 am to 10.30 am

Memoir: Telling true stories

How does a writer distinguish memory from fact or determine truths long buried with their teller? Author Meredith Jaffé facilitates a lively discussion with Annabel Morley, Deb Hunt and Rod Jones.




Book lovers! Give the Festival a go!


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


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


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: or phone 0417 267 771

Marion Roubos-Bennett, Festival Director

Five minutes with 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.


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


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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Stay Another Day in Batemans Bay

BBWFBoatLogoThings to see and do in the bay.

Read More…

Venue: Coachhouse Marina Resort, Batemans Bay

Batemans Bay

Enjoy winter walks along stunning beaches

Enjoy winter walks along stunning beaches

What better way to spend a Spring weekend than at Beautiful Batemans Bay. Bring your reading glasses, grab your book-spending money, pack for the weekend and enjoy the Writers Festival and other delights Batemans Bay has to offer. Enjoy winter walks along the many stunning beaches; Clyde River oysters in the regional restaurants; fishing and bushwalking; views to the rocky islands and weathered headlands; or a cruise past the oyster beds along the river.

Getting There

Batemans Bay is four hours drive south from Sydney, two hours drive east from Canberra and two hours drive north from Merimbula.

Our Venue

The venue for the Bateman’s Bay Writers Festival is the Coachhouse Marina Resort 49 Beach Road Batemans Bay NSW

Map 1 Batemans Bay and the Coachhouse Marina Resort

Map 2: At our venue

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Looking towards our venue

Looking towards our venue


Refreshments will be available in the Festival Hub marquee
Espresso coffee, cakes and snacks will be available for sale all day Saturday and Sunday morning.
Lunch details will be available closer to the event.

You can also buy a drink from the bar at the Hub. Free tea and coffee is served near the Corrigans Room and Clyde Room each session.

The Coachhouse Marina Resort has a restaurant open for dinner Friday and Saturday from 6 pm and is situated opposite the 27-hole Club Catalina Golf Course which also has a restaurant.

Both are 20 minutes walk from central Batemans Bay and many excellent restaurants.


Adequate parking is available on site at the Coachhouse Marina Resort during the Festival and for the Literary Lunch. Platinum pass holders will get priority parking.

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New Sponsorship Arrangements for 2016

We gratefully acknowledge our fabulous Sponsors whose support is so critical to the success of our festival.

For 2016, the Batemans Bay Writers Festival will be seriously supporting those businesses and sponsors that support us. Here are some of the ideas we are considering.

Example Sponsors Page

Example of a Sponsors Page

New arrangements will allow Sponsors to have a tailored web page on our site that will feature their business, their event, their organisation and / or their sponsorship / support for our festival.

Depending on the Sponsorship Package you choose, details that you can add to your listing include Name or Business Name, address, phone, email, website, a detailed description of your business and / or products, pictures and images. As well as a main picture, others on your exclusive webpage will form part of an attractive slideshow.

Example Map

Example of Map with Button for Directions

A location map is automatically generated, and visitors will be able to ‘get directions’ to your business, contact you, phone or email you, or share details of your listing on Social Media.

All these will be findable on the internet and on our site, so your sponsorship will benefit you as a permanent web presence where people can find you during the course of your sponsorship.

And all this information will be editable by you when and as you need to edit it.

Your listing will be in one or several categories of your choosing, and will be displayed on pages of our website (and on the sponsors page) depending on the categories you choose. You can link to your listing page in emails or from your usual website, Facebook or twitter.

Example Sponsor List

How a List of Relevant Sponsors will Appear

These arrangements, when we finally decide to proceed, will be fully operational by January/February 2016.

Contact us below if you are interested, and we’ll make sure to keep you informed.

Contact Us

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Writing matters – Finding your voice with Linda Jaivin

The workshop: Acclaimed author Linda Jaivin will be talking to High School students on writing about what matters to them and how to put their passions on paper in this special practical and interactive event.

Whether you care about climate change, conservation, GLBT rights, education reform or any other social or political issue ― if you have ideas on how to make the world a better place or want to communicate them to the world ― then this is the workshop for you.

The presenter: We are incredibly proud have an author of Linda Jaivin’s calibre facilitating this special workshop.  Linda Jaivin is the internationally published author of ten books. Her fifth novel, The Infernal Optimist, a black comedy set in immigration detention, was short-listed for the Australian Literature Society’s Gold Medal. Her seventh novel, The Empress Lover, set in Beijing, came out in April this year and Beijing, a non-fiction guide to the city’s history and culture, is being released in June. Linda has also written the play Halal el Mashakel (published in Staging Asylum), the Villawood Detention Centre novel The Infernal Optimist and numerous other essays and stories about asylum seekers and refugees.

This is a wonderful opportunity for local students to engage in the writing process with such an inspiring and well-known author.

Make sure that you reserve your place!

Cost:     Free for High School students

Time:    2.30 pm to 4.30 pm Sunday 7 June Bookings essential

Venue:  Seabreeze Room, Coachhouse Marina Resort

Please bring:   Your charged-up i-pad, tablet, laptop or a pad and pencil – whatever you prefer to write with.

Linda Jaivin

Paul West Literary Lunch Media Release

Catalina kitchen pic

Download (DOCX, 212KB)

Meet you at the Hub!


In the Bay Festival Hub marquee you can mingle with other interested readers, chat with the authors, buy books, enjoy lunch and refreshments or just relax between sessions in an informal and relaxing atmosphere.

Book your lunch when booking your tickets

You can also buy a drink from the bar

8.00am to 4:30pm Saturday 10 September and to 2:30pm Sunday 11 September.

images-1Self-Published Authors

Local self-publishing authors will have a presence in the Festival Hub marquee. They will have their  books with them and are able to talk about their writing as well as having facilities for promotion, all adding to the atmosphere and the sharing of experiences.

festivalbarFestival Bar

Meet up, eat up, drink up and experience the Festival as an insider.

Bar Hours
Saturday and Sunday 11.30am to 2.30pm





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Batemans Bay Writers Festival 2016

9, 10 and 11 September 2016

Coachhouse Marina Resort 49 Beach Road Batemans Bay

Lunch for Festival-goers


Saturday 10 September

For catering purposes please pre-book your lunch for Saturday 10th.

Please indicate your preferences by email to: [email protected]

Each item is $12 and please pay cash and pick up your lunch ticket at the registration desk.

Collect your lunch any time between 11.30 am and 1.30 pm Saturday from the Festival Hub marquee.


Delicious ham, chicken or vegetarian Wrap, Baguette or Salad  

(for example 1 x Vegetarian Baguette and 1x Chicken salad)

or Pumpkin and chickpea curry with rice

Tea, coffee and other light refreshments available throughout the day.



Lunch on Sunday 11 September?

Batemans Bay Writers Festival Literary Lunch

with Tim Fischer AC

Turning points in our great country: Bean, Melba, Monash, Menzies and Molly Meldrum ― more to come!

Hosted by Ian Campbell

Time: 12 for 12.30 pm

Venue: Festival Hub marquee CoachHouse Marina Resort

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

Bookings essential

Includes a two course meal and a glass of bubbly on arrival. And there could be an author at your table ― one of the authors or presenters at Festival 2016

Sounds great!


Literary Lunch Bookings: or phone 0417 267 771

Cash sales daily at Hooked on Books, Village Centre Batemans Bay

Brochures and Flyers

Here is the latest publicity material for BBWF Events and for the Festival. It would be a great help if you would spread the word by printing and adding to bulletin boards and commercial premises. Thanks.

Material for the 2016 Festival will be posted here when available. Thanks for your support.


Writers Festival Donates to the Batemans Bay Library

MEDIA RELEASE: October 2014

The inaugural Batemans Bay Writers Festival held on the June long weekend this year was a sell-out, and participants enjoyed a superb line-up of local and interstate authors and presenters. It was a resounding success with Festival- goers attending from the NSW South Coast, Canberra, the Southern Highlands and Sydney. The Festival organising group purchased books by each of the authors who were involved at the Festival and have subsequently donated those books to the Batemans Bay Library.

 ‘Please convey our thanks and appreciation to the members of the Batemans Bay Writers Festival for their recent donation of the books to the Batemans Bay Library’,

said Branch Librarian Jodee Burnett.

The 2014 collection, which will grow each year and also become historically significant, includes Letter to George Clooney by Debra Adelaide; The Youngs: The Brothers who Built AC/DC by Jesse Fink; Happily Ever After ─ Celebrating Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice by Susannah Fullerton; and The Wallpapered Manse by local author Peter Freeman.

Festival organisers hold events throughout the year and those authors’ books will also be donated to the Library. At the next event, the Wordy Women Tour Literary Lunch on 31 October at the CoachHouse Marina Resort, guests can enjoy hearing about a sure-fire hit; a captivating drama; and an entertaining story of loss, love and discovery. Kylie Ladd talks about teenage daughters in Mothers and Daughters, Maggie Joel showcases 1800s London in Half the World in Winter and Fiona Higgins reveals all in Wife on the Run.

Jodee Burnett said:

‘We welcome these additions to our collection and these books will be enjoyed by many members in the years to come. We are thrilled that the Festival will continue to donate the authors’ books after Festival events and the Festival each year.’

For more information on events and the June long weekend Festival 2015 go to or phone 0417 267 771. Share the experience.



Fraser Bayley

Fraser BredFraser Bayley has a small family-run mixed farm enterprise called Old Mill Road Bio-Farm that has been providing produce to a local consumer base for eight years. Fraser aims to enrich local food culture, connect small scale farmers to the consumer, and promote the idea that we are not superior to the environment but are part of the ecology. He also conducts workshops on farm consultancies and is active in the local food movement SAGE (Sustainable Agriculture and Gardening Eurobodalla) an education and demonstration site for sustainable agricultural and horticultural practices. Fraser’s family’s philosophy is to lead the good life, from honest means with plenty of good food to eat to inspire them along their road to creating a vibrant, economically, environmentally and socially sustainable business.

Food for thought

Join us for a taste of something special from the region and a glass of local wine ─ or two ─ at this highlight event to conclude the Saturday sessions.

Time: 4:45 pm to 6:15pm
Venue: Corrigans Room
Cost: $25  ( Please note that this session is included in the Platinum Pass -$155 )

Marion Halligan

Marion Halligan

Renowned author Marion Halligan’s books often include the great pleasures of food. Marion will speak about the importance of food as a theme in her prolific writing including The Point, about a fictitious restaurant. It is a novel of intricate complexity and wit about our appetites and desires, and the way they irrevocably shape the world.


 Robin Innes of historic Innes Boatshed fame is from one of the Batemans Bay families of fishers and oyster farmers. Robin’s focus will be on the history of fishing in the region, especially the Clyde River.

The Innes Boatshed, Batemans Bay

Innes Boatshed, Batemans Bay

 They are joined by local farmer Fraser Bayley who will speak about the philosophy of growing and using local produce. He will talk about the SAGE (Sustainable Agriculture and Gardening Eurobodalla) Project and Old Mill Road Bio-farm, his family-run small mixed farm enterprise that has been providing produce to a local consumer base for eight years.

Fraser Bred

Fraser and family

Thank God It’s Sunday!

Richard Glover

Richard Glover

A Literary lunch with Richard Glover

Finish the Festival on a high note with the witty and engaging Richard Glover, host of ABC Radio’s Thank God it’s Friday, and author of George Clooney’s haircut and other cries for help. You can be sure of being entertained as Richard chats about his humorous books and laugh-aloud journalist columns. You can also find out Why men are necessary. Many of the authors involved in the Festival will also be at the literary lunch ─ there may be an author at your table.

Date: Sunday 8 June 2014

Time: 1 pm for 1.30 pm to 3 pm

Venue: Batemans Bay Soldiers Club, Beach Road, Batemans Bay

Cost: $40, includes a two-course meal and a glass of bubbly on arrival ─ not to mention the talented and entertaining Richard Glover, the opportunity to purchase Richard’s books and have him sign them.


Attention: Self-published authors

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The natural beauty of the Eurobodalla area has inspired many creative responses

As well as having a great line-up of published authors we would like to invite self-published authors to be involved in the inaugural Batemans Bay Writers Festival.

Expressions of interest are sought from self-publishing authors, to have a presence in the Festival Hub marquee. Bring your books and facilities for sales, and the Festival organisers will provide table space for you in the Festival Hub ─ all adding to the atmosphere and the sharing of experiences.

Space is limited and expressions of interest close on 15 May 2014.

You will be allotted a time on Saturday 7 June between noon and 6.30 pm to promote and sell your books.

Contact us through our website with Self-publishing author in the Subject section of your email:

You may also be interested in booking and attending the session How to get published ─ taking your story further, a panel session from 9.30 am to 10.30 am on Sunday 8 June. See Our Full Program in Program on this website.

Becoming a text maniac – Annabel Crabb

The Sun-Herald
Sunday, 04.05.2014

Screen Shot 2014-05-04 at 10.22.55 amIn the past six months, I have slept with more than 160 women. I know: impressive. But I really have. I agreed to be a judge for the Stella Prize – the $50,000 literary award for Australian female writers – and at some point, I suspect just after I signed up, it became clear that this would involve me reading more than 160 books.

So in the past six months I have fallen asleep with my face in biographies, historical adaptations and with bold new voices in fiction lending brilliantly moving and tautly compelling narratives to my dreams. I have curled up with feminist polemics and graphic novels. My bedside table is a tottering tribute to my promiscuity. For months I read and read and read, with an appetite verging on the goatish; on buses, in traffic-stalled taxis, walking along the street, cooking dinner. But at some point each night, usually with my forefinger marking the page and the bedside lamp lightly tanning my eyelids, I inevitably dropped off.

I have learnt many things. I have learnt, for instance, that the very best thing about reading a great book is the same as the very worst thing about reading a bad book: the deep and unshakeable secret suspicion that perhaps if I wrote a book, it would turn out like this one.

When you read as normal human beings read, you are guided by all sorts of unseen forces. You choose things you think you’ll like. You avoid things you just know you’re going to hate. You read things you have to read. And necessarily, it means that you miss out. Increasingly, in recent decades, I have read for business rather than specifically for pleasure. The stack of porky political memoirs, essays, economic treatises, biographies, forensic accounts of the rise of this person and the fall of that one never seems to get any smaller. I should read them all, and I try to, so reading anything outside of politics has over the years – and this has got worse with every baby – started to feel like an indulgence. So I cut back on all those other genres: fiction, fantasy, exercise and diet books, self-help, horror and travel writing. Apart from, of course, Bob Carr’s memoir, which is – happily – all of those things.

So when I signed up for Stella, it was with the inexpressibly sick strategy that if I turned the reading of other books into an actual obligation, I could then enjoy them guilt-free. And it worked like a charm.

Reading as a judge is a completely different sort of experience. Instead of picking your own weird little goat track through the books published in any given year, all of a sudden you’re reading all of them, or at any rate all the ones written by women. This gives you a perspective unavailable to anyone else, apart from a tiny slice of the OCD community and a hardy band of retired English teachers.

All of a sudden, you start to see patterns. There’s the rash of “Every Mother’s Nightmare” books, for which I blame Lionel Shriver, whose 2003 bestseller We Need to Talk About Kevin had a separate, but equally stimulatory effect on newspaper headline writers during the Rudd era of government. Then there is a strong contingent of emotionally knotty adventures set in exotic, Third World or geographically distant climes. I blame the artificially depressed price of international airline travel for these, plus the ghostly hand of Michelle de Kretser, who in her Miles Franklin winner Questions of Travel last year did what countless thousands of Australians before her have impotently aspired to do, which is to write a superb novel about backpacking. I am reminded of 1992, when Andrew McGahan’s Praise won the Vogel, and everyone I knew at university – myself included – sat down to write our own gritty works incorporating filthy share houses, doomed love affairs and stoned misadventures. I would like to express my sympathy for any Vogel judge subsequently forced to surf that derivative wave of dirty realism.

Folded inside every great novel are the countless spores of its illegitimate children; now there’s a depressing thought.

CWEurekaRebelsThe best thing, though, was finding some truly spectacular books and knowing that sticking them on the Stella short list would be like sneaking them on to the bedside tables of a vast new group of readers. The winner, Clare Wright, spent 10 years writing a new history of the Eureka Stockade, with all the women put back in. A more pulse-racing work of history than The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka I have not read, and to give people a little push towards it made me feel like Father Christmas. That’s the beating heart of the Stella Prize; it’s a bid not to create quality, but to remind you, by means of a discreet little bookshop cough, where you might easily find it.

We all need a little push.

Annabel Crabb is the host of ABC TV’s Kitchen Cabinet, airing Fridays at 8pm.

Twitter: @annabelcrabb

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Batemans Bay Writers Festival’s Stella outlook

Bay Post
5 April, 2014

Clare Wright leafPlanning for the first Batemans Bay Writers Festival, to be held on 7 and 8 June 2014 in the CoachHouse Marina Resort, is well under way ─ and with Stella implications. Author Clare Wright, who will speak at the Festival, has been short-listed for the Stella Prize for “excellent, original and engaging” books.

Wright’s book The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka is one of six books short-listed for the $50,000 prize, a major literary award celebrating Australian women’s writing. The prize is named after one of Australia’s iconic female authors, Stella Maria ‘Miles’ Franklin, and was awarded for the first time in 2013.

Clare Wright is an award-winning historian, author and public commentator who has worked in politics, academia and the media. “We are thrilled that Clare will be involved in the Festival and delighted that she has been short-listed for such a prestigious award,” said The Festival Events and Program Coordinator, Marion Roubos-Bennett. “It may be our first one, but it will be a great one, with a line-up of superb authors and writers, and this triumph for Clare Wright certainly adds to the ‘wow’ factor.”

Clare Wright will travel from Melbourne to join other talented authors at the Festival. Many of them are award-winners and all are enthusiastic about being involved.

“Clare’s session will be a great opportunity to hear about the thousands of women on the goldfields, many of whom were active in pivotal roles during the Eureka Stockade,” said Marion. Come along and share the experience as Clare also speaks about Beyond the Ladies Lounge, Australia’s Female Publicans during one of the panel sessions called The writing process.