Crime gang heads to Bendigo

Internationally acclaimed crime writer Ann Cleeves tops the lineup of international guests heading to Bendigo Writers Festival in August.

Cleeves, the creator of novels on which the BBC TV series Vera and Shetland are based, will release the final book featuring her detective Jimmy Perez just before the

Ann Cleeves, writer

festival.  Joining Cleeves for a feast of top-shelf crime writing will be Australia’s number 1 crime writer, Michael Robotham, whose new thriller, The Other Wife, is out in June.

“Ann Cleeves is a wonderful writer in the shrewd-detective tradition, while Michael Robotham is in the high-tension page-turner style,” festival director Rosemary Sorensen says.  “Add in crime newcomers Susi Fox, Christian White and Chris Hammer, as well as Michael Brissenden with his political thriller, and we reckon there’s enough to put crime fans on the edge of their seats.  “We call this part of the festival program ‘Writing Wrongs’, which covers everything from hardboiled detectives to books about Australia’s pokie addiction.  “And of course, because this is Central Victoria – the thinking person’s place to be – we will be hosting such brilliant speakers as Bruce Pascoe and Tony Birch, continuing their conversation about the ‘dark emu’ of indigenous knowledge.”

The Festival will officially begin a little earlier this year, with Sam the Story Tram running again in Festival week, plus a series of lead up events from Monday August 6. “We get such positive feedback from right around the country about what a terrific place Bendigo is for a festival, with its excellent venues and its strong community culture,” Ms Sorensen says.  “Every year, more people want to get involved, to help create a festival that makes Bendigo proud.”

International guests at the festival include UK poet and actor Lemn Sissay who tells his harrowing story of how he was abused as a child forced in to care, but turned his life around to become the Chancellor of Manchester University.  Hyeonseo Lee, the North Korean refugee whose story is told in her memoir, The Girl with Seven Names, is also on the program.

Other guests include Norwegian Jewish singer songwriter Bente Kahan, urban food guru Michael Ableman, UK bestseller Matt Haig and investigative journalist Carey Gillam.   The Bendigo Writers Festival program is online at

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