A message from festival director Rosemarie Milsom:
“What an extraordinary weekend. I am so thrilled that our fifth festival was such a success. Just over 9000 people joined us to celebrate words, ideas and the power of story. Organising the festival requires an enormous amount of hard work but it results in a lot of joy. Thank you to our generous writers for inspiring and challenging us. Thanks to our talented facilitators who keep the conversations flowing. Thanks to the 150 volunteers who helped make everyone feel welcome and my deepest gratitude to volunteer coordinator Sheree Kable. Thank you to our sponsors Arts NSW, Newcastle City Council, The University of Newcastle, Port of Newcastle, Destination NSW and Hunter Writers Centre. We couldn’t create such a wonderful event without our collaborators The Lock-Up, Spineless Wonders Short Australian Stories, Newcastle Youth Orchestra, Newcastle Region Library, The Olive Tree Market, Nhvfc-inc Newcastle Folk Club, Pitt Street Poetry and Renew Newcastle.
Special mention to Nuatali Nelmes for backing our fledgling event and for allowing me to use your parking space all weekend! Without our media partners we couldn’t reach you so three cheers for the Newcastle Herald, ABC Newcastle and Intouch Magazine. Thank you to the hard-working team at MacLean’s Booksellers and our designer Miranda Whittle. Thanks to Scion Audio and Events for being there since the beginning. Thanks to photographers Chris Patterson and Liam Driver, and the film crew led by Gavin Blyth. Emma Kathleen did a superb job with our hectic social media coverage. Many guest writers stayed at Crowne Plaza Newcastle and we’re grateful for the support. We are lucky to use a range of venues, including Civic Theatre Newcastle, Newcastle City Hall (Australia), The Press Book House and Watt Space Student Gallery of the University of Newcastle. My deepest gratitude to the festival board – you are all amazing – and to my colleague Sally Ebert whose support keeps me sane. Celebrating our fifth year is a significant milestone and we couldn’t have come so far without our passionate audiences. See you next year for the sixth festival from 6-8 April 2018.”