17 March, 2024

Writers festival rated ‘best’

THOUSANDS of participants joined in the book and storytelling euphoria in Cairns last weekend for the most successful Cairns Tropical Writers Festival to date despite the wet weather.

By Isabella Guzman Gonzalez

Penny van Oosterzee (left), Lisa Wilkinson and Jules Steer at the Cairns Tropical Writers Festival. Picture: Colyn Huber
Penny van Oosterzee (left), Lisa Wilkinson and Jules Steer at the Cairns Tropical Writers Festival. Picture: Colyn Huber

Cairns’ residents and interstate visitors didn’t let the weather rain on their parades as they flooded Crystalbrook Flynn and the Cairns Library last weekend (March 8-10) to meet some of their favourite writers and experience workshops and panels with renowned authors and journalists.

Festival director Jules Steer said this had been a writers’ festival like no other.

“We don’t have exact figures of attendance yet, but the response was beyond our expectation,” she said.

“We had a truly fabulous weekend, the feedback we’ve received from so many of our presenters has been joyous.

“One of the highlights of the weekend was our literary dinner, it was such an intimate meeting with Hedley Thomas and Lisa Millar, who were both so gracious with their time and excited for being in Cairns.

“The Julia Baird session was a crowd favourite, very well attended and one of the best literary sessions I’ve ever attended, which was in conversation with local woman Amy Turnbull and another big one was Alexis Wright in conversation with her countryman Jack Wilkie Jans was definitely a crowd favourite.”

Ms Steer thanked the community for supporting the festival and sponsors and volunteers for the effort to make it happen.

“It’s difficult to put into words but there was a feeling, an energy amongst the audience that was reiterated to me by so many of our presenters. We had Chris Hammer, who’s a prolific Australian writer and has so many of his books adapted to the screen, and he said that the Cairns Tropical Writers Festival is the best in Australia,” she said.

“It was thrilling to have some of the biggest names in literature and journalism going back to capital cities to tell their colleagues what Cairns has put on and this type of publicity you can’t buy.

“We’re absolutely grateful to the audience who’s always supporting the festival and a big shoutout to our awesome volunteers. Without them this event could not go on, they dedicated so much of their time. This year we were completely self-funded, we didn’t receive any federal funding, so sponsors like Cairns Local News, Cairns Books and Crystalbrook were vital and we’re very grateful for their support.”


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