What’s Faith Got To Do With It?

Here’s Hugh Mackay, writing in his new book, Beyond Belief: 

The spirituality movement has captured the imagination of many people – especially young people – who vehemently deny any interest in religion but still want to explore the non-material values and concepts, and the meditative practices, traditionally associated with religion. Indeed, many people are now seeking ways of making sense of religious ideas, including the idea of Christian faith, without relying on traditional  notions of a supreme being, and without surrendering themselves to a conventional framework of doctrines and beliefs.

In the name of religion, people can lead noble and positive lives. They can also say and do terrible, destructive things that divide communities. Continue reading

A Composer, a Queen and a Merry Troupe of Writers

At Bendigo Writers Festival we’re a curious bunch and we figure our audiences are too.

We really want to know all we can about the participants who will grace our stages over festival weekend.

This curiosity has lead us, this year, to asking our presenters and authors who they’d most like to interview, if given the choice of anyone in history at any stage in time. Continue reading

First impressions count

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” George Orwell’s opening line of 1984 is a beauty. Listed among the world’s best first sentences, it’s memorable and captivating.

But just as a sentence can hook, it can divide. And readers can be ruthless judges. Don’t even get us started on covers!

Planner Trevor Budge says it’s the same with cities. A visitor will ‘read’ into a place pretty quickly to decide whether it’s worth exploring or not. “Seeing a city for the first time is like reading the opening lines of a book, you’re intrigued or engaged or confronted by a place,” Trevor says. Continue reading

Friends, Romans, Countrymen…who would you choose?

Each year Bendigo Writers Festival likes to delve a little more deeply than just a few bio lines to introduce our festival goers to our participants…

Writers festivals are all about conversations. Conversations amongst authors; conversations between readers; conversations about the discussions had when researching books; conversations which can leave audiences so glad ‘they were there’ to hear the ‘full story’.

This year is our fifth birthday and we’ve had time to reflect on the amazing number of life-affirming conversations we’ve been privy to. So we’ve asked our 2016 festival participants to think about their ‘dream conversations’ by playing that age old game of ‘what if’ and nominating the person they’d most like to interview (out of anyone in the world at any stage in history) and also to select a ‘must-ask’ question.

Continue reading

New ways to do it…at BWF

The Bendigo Writers Festival Program is online now, with the print program due for release in the Bendigo Weekly on June 17.

For those interested in new writing and publishing, there’s a session called New Ways To Do It on Friday August 12, at 5.30pm, in the Festival Hub at the Capital.

This is a celebration for the Vox Bendigo Fyffe Award, with this year’s winning entries presented as an artisan-zone, a small, hand-crafted publication, designed by Jacqui Lynch.

The session is free, and will be hosted by Scott Alterator, with guests including poet Samuel Wagan Watson.

Please do come along, and help make this session an energy-filled start to Festival 2016