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Orange Readers and Writers Festival set to inspire and entertain

By July 21, 2022October 13th, 2022Library, News

The Orange Readers and Writers Festival returns to the Hotel Canobolas on August 5-6, featuring workshops and talks with inspiring authors to coincide with the Winter Fire Festival.

Last held in 2019, due to the pandemic, the festival is back better than ever this year, with a notable group of fiction and non-fiction authors on board to entertain Central West readers with their stories and experiences.

GREAT READ: The guest authors at this year’s Orange Readers and Writers Festival are sure to inspire and entertain.

The main day of the festival will be held at the Hotel Canobolas from 10am to 3.30pm on Saturday, 6 August featuring:

  • Robert Tickner – Ten Doors Down: The story of an extraordinary adoption
  • Helen Ennis – Olive Cotton: A Life in Photography
  • Petronella McGovern – Six Minutes, The Good Teacher, The Liars
  • Michael Brissenden – The List and Dead Letters
  • Todd Alexander – You’ve Got to be Kidding: A Shedload of Wine and Farm Full of Goats

The winners of the 2022 Banjo Paterson Writing Awards will also be announced during the day.

Orange City Council Services Policy Committee chair Mel McDonell said the festival was a great way to bring readers and writers together in regional NSW during the winter months.

“What better time to sit down with a good book than winter, and the guest authors at this year’s festival are sure to inspire some great reading,” Cr McDonell said.

“It’s a great opportunity for anyone with a love of reading or writing to meet and talk with authors and other like-minded book lovers.”

Interested writers can attend a history writing workshop from 10am to 1.30pm on Friday 5 August with artist and writer Rebecca Wilson, author of Kate Kelly: The True Story of Ned Kelly’s Little Sister. The workshop will deliver practical tips for developing a literary project based on historical sources and stories.

Cost to attend the Orange Readers and Writers Festival is $95 per person and the History Writing Workshop is $35.

People wishing to attend either day of the festival can purchase their tickets from Eventbrite here.


Friday 5 August – Writing History Workshop with Rebecca Wilson

10am: Introduction and workshop goals

10.20am: Session 1

  • What is history
  • What is history writing
  • The role of research in history writing
  • How to research – sources, tips, resources, processes, techniques

11.30am: Morning tea

11.50am: Session 2

  • Tapping into regional or local/family history
  • Storytelling – story arc – how to combine your research and your storytelling
  • Active voice
  • Q&A

1.30pm: Close

Saturday 6 August – Orange Readers and Writers Festival

  • 10am Welcome by the Master of Ceremonies
  • 10.05am – 10.10am Welcome to Country
  • 10.10am – 11am Robert Tickner, author of Ten Doors Down: The story of an extraordinary adoption
  • 11am – 11.15am Banjo Paterson Writing Awards announced by Orange Mayor Jason Hamling
  • 11.15am – 11.45am Morning tea
  • 11.45am – 12.25pm Petronella McGovern, author of The Liars
  • 12.25pm – 1.05pm Michael Brissenden, author of Dead Letters
  • 1.05pm – 2pm Lunch
  • 2pm – 2.40pm Helen Ennis, author of Olive Cotton: A Life in Photography
  • 2.40pm – 3.20pm Todd Alexander, author of You’ve Got to be Kidding: A Shedload of Wine and Farm Full of Goats
  • 3.20pm – 3.30pm Farewell and Close

More about the guest authors

Robert Tickner author of Ten Doors Down: The story of an extraordinary adoption

Robert Tickner grew up a country boy on the New South Wales mid north coast and became an Aboriginal Legal Service lawyer and an alderman of the Sydney City Council. In 1984 he won the Federal Seat of Hughes, and in 1990 he became the Federal Minister for Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander affairs. He is Australia’s longest serving minister in that role and served in a period of great reform during the Hawke and Keating governments. He then became CEO of Australian Red Cross and led the organisation for a decade from 2005 to 2015.

Petronella McGovern author of The Liars

Petronella McGovern is a writer and editor who grew up on a family farm outside Bathurst, NSW. After living in Canberra for a number of years, Petronella moved to Northern Sydney where she now lives with her husband and two children. The Liars is her third novel, a compelling family drama of marital secrets and family tensions set within an investigation of sinister unsolved killings.

Michael Brissenden author of Dead Letters

Michael Brissenden has worked for the ABC for more than thirty years. He has been a political journalist and foreign correspondent for the ABC since 1987. He began his career covering Federal politics and has been a correspondent in Moscow, Brussels and Washington. Michael
covered many of the biggest international stories of the 1990s and early 2000s from all corners of the globe. He was the political editor for the 7.30 Report in Canberra from 2003 to 2009, the ABC’s Defence and National Security Correspondent and most recently he has worked as host of AM national radio program. A two-time Walkley Award winner, Michael is now a reporter on the ABC’S 4 Corners. His debut novel The List was published in 2018 and Dead Letters is his second novel.

Helen Ennis author of Olive Cotton: A Life in Photography

Helen Ennis is one of Australia’s leading photography curators, historians and writers. She specialises in Australian photographic history, especially of the modern period, biography, death studies, curatorship and museology. Since 2000 she has curated eight major exhibitions
for the National Portrait Gallery, National Gallery of Australia, National Library of Australia and other cultural institutions. She was awarded a Peter Blazey Fellowship in 2012 and the ABR George Hicks Foundation Fellowship in 2013.

Todd Alexander author of You’ve Got to be Kidding: A Shedload of Wine and Farm Full of Goats

Todd Alexander is the author of the bestselling memoir Thirty Thousand Bottles of Wine and a Pig Called Helga, which was longlisted for the Australian Independent Bookseller Awards. His latest book is You’ve Got to be Kidding: A Shedload of Wine and Farm Full of Goats. He has
written two novels and eight non-fiction books. Todd began his career at Dymocks Sydney before becoming Head of Buying at Dymocks Franchise Systems. He then spent 12 years at eBay, becoming a leading online expert and helping thousands of Australians sell online. In 2012, he threw away his corporate career to run a vineyard and accommodation business with his partner, Jeff, in the Hunter Valley of NSW called Block Eight.

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