More than a star or two – it’s a glittering constellation heading to Bendigo in August for three days that will light up your thinking. The theme for this year – the eighth Bendigo Writers Festival – is “All That Glitters”, because we all know there’s more than gold that shines.
The international line-up includes scientist Paul Davies, who is following up his challenging books on the idea of God with research into the deepest, most basic of questions, “What is Life?” Also heading to Bendigo are international best-selling novelist, Min Jin Lee, author of the cross-cultural saga Pachinko, as well as the foremost fire management writer in the US, Stephen J. Pyne.
“Every year we think we can’t get a more exciting line-up, and every year, it just seems to get better,” Festival director, Rosemary Sorensen says. “With the city bidding to become a UNESCO City of Gastronomy, food, health and sustainability this is very much part of the festival agenda. Australia’s top food writer, Jill Dupleix, will be telling audiences about the finest and most innovative restaurants in the country and she’ll be joined by farming futures superstar, Charles Massy, to dig deep into the topic of food security.” Continuing the gastronomy theme, the Friday night event, always a festival standout, features popular SBS Food Safari presenter, Maeve O’Meara.
Another guest sure to be popular is ‘food and mood’ psychiatrist, Felice Jacka, whose new book is about how to feed a healthy brain.
The program begins with ticket-only “entrée” events on Friday morning, including, for the first time, an event at Bendigo’s Great Stupa of Universal Compassion, with “Bad Buddhist” author, Meshel Laurie. Festival passes provide access to a choice of events in up to six venues from 12.30pm on Friday 9 August through to 4pm on Sunday 11 August.
“This year, we want to finish on a star-bright note,” Ms Sorensen says. “We are delighted that the world-renowned limb-replacement expert, surgeon Munjed Al Muderis, will deliver the closing address, talking about his own incredible story as a boat refugee, and the journey back to Iraq he made at the request of the government there. “He’s an exceptional Australian, a brilliant doctor, and a generous, passionate person. We’ve called that event ‘Changing Lives’, and hearing Munjed Al Muderis will be a fitting finale.”
An innovation this year is the inclusion of Bendigo Bowls Club, both as a venue during the day, then, at night, as the Festival Club and bar. “The inclusion of the Bowls Club means people can get around the Festival precinct very easily, all in walking distance,” Ms Sorensen says. “There’ll even be some motorised carts running up and down Gaol Road throughout the day, so you can hop on and get a lift, when you need. “It’s all about giving the best access and choice, because that’s what people tell us they love about Bendigo’s homegrown festival every year.”
Full program and ticket information: http://bendigowritersfestival.com.au or box office on (03) 5434 6100