Category: Media

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

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).

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.

Batemans Bay Writers Festival 2016 Launched

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

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2016 BBWF media release May 2016