Friday 23 August to Sunday 25 August 2019

FESTIVAL WEEKEND PASS

Weekend passes are now sold out. For a list of festival events for which tickets are still available, click here. These tickets give access to all Festival sessions in the main program, including our Festival Opening Party. Tickets exclude workshops and our literary dinner. Note that in order to guarantee your seat for Saturday events,…

Friday 23 August to Sunday 25 August

FESTIVAL GOLD PASS

Gold passes are now sold out. For a list of festival events for which tickets are still available, click here. These tickets give access to all Festival sessions in the main program, including our Festival Opening Party and the Saturday night literary dinner with Kerry O’Brien. Tickets exclude workshops. Note that in order to guarantee…

Friday and Saturday Nights

STAY THE NIGHT AT THE CARRINGTON

If you’re coming from outside of the Blue Mountains, The Carrington Hotel offers an ideal place to stay, and sits right at the heart of our Festival activities. Restored to its former grandeur over the past decade, this heritage-listed hotel is a local landmark offering a quirky mix of elegance, luxury and old-time charm. The…

CARRINGTON BALLROOM – SATURDAY DAY PASS

This pass covers all five of Saturday’s events at the Carrington Ballroom including The Children’s House with Alice Nelson, On Drugs with Chris Fleming, a special documentary screening with Clarence Walden and Alexis Wright, The Experience of Otherness with Sarah Saleh and co-editors, and Blood and Dirt with Chris Fleming.  …

SEMINAR ROOM CULTURAL CENTRE SATURDAY PASS

This pass has now sold out, but weekend passes are still available. This pass covers all of Saturday’s events at the Seminar Room including The Grass Library with David Brooks, Geographies of the Imagination with Patti Miller and Leah Kaminsky, On Writing with Melina Marchetta and our special Inside Publishing panel. The Seminar Room Saturday…

CARRINGTON GRAND DINING ROOM – SUNDAY DAY PASS

This pass is now sold out, however weekend passes, which include access to all of Sunday’s events, are still available. This pass covers all five of Sunday’s events at the Carrington Grand Dining Room including Hippos in the Thames with Tim Flannery, Extraordinary Truth, Extraordinary Lives with Jessie Cole, Vicki Laveau-Harvie and Benjamin Law, Girls…

10:00am – 1:00pm

WORKSHOP: THE ART OF THE SENTENCE

This workshop has now sold out. Sentence by sentence is how a narrative is built, and who better to illuminate this subject than two-times Miles Franklin award winner Michelle de Kretser. In this workshop you will examine sentences that work hard, and critique those that require that little bit extra. Practical tips and writing exercises…

1:30pm – 4:30pm

WORKSHOP: FREEFORM PROSE AND EXPERIMENTAL WRITING

This event has now sold out. For a list of festival events for which tickets are still available, click here.  Join award-winning author Stephanie Bishop in this workshop, exploring a range of experimental approaches to the development of prose fiction, using photographs, found objects and other materials as your inspiration. Date: Friday 23rd August Time: 1:30pm to…

1:00pm - 4:00pm

WORKSHOP: WRITER CONVERSATIONS

As a special festival event, Varuna offers you the opportunity to have a one-on-one 30-minute consultation with Dr Carol Major, one of Varuna’s most experienced writing mentors. Bookings essential. Date:  Friday 23rd August Time: Sessions available between 1:30pm and 4pm Individual session:  $60 Facilitator:  Dr Carol Major Event: One-on-one conversation Venue:  Blue Mountains Cultural Centre, 30 Parkes St, Katoomba…

5:00pm – 6:30pm

FRANKLY, I DON’T GIVE A DAMN

Blue Mountains writer and artist Ailie Banks is a self-proclaimed bitch. In Ailie’s eyes, a bitch is someone who stands firm and speaks their mind in the face of sexist rhetoric. They don’t give a single damn about meeting societal expectations. In conversation about her exhibition and recently published collection The Book of Bitch with writer…

7:00pm – 9:00pm

FESTIVAL OPENING PARTY

Hosted by ABC Radio National’s Cassie McCullagh, this will be a celebratory evening of festival highlights. We welcome Tishani Doshi from India with her soulful combination of dance and spoken word poetry, and the electrifying spoken word of poet and activist Sara Saleh. With original light projections of illustrations by Ailie Banks. Please note that this…

9:00am – 12:00pm

WORKSHOP: WRITING GREAT DIALOGUE

This event has now sold out. For a list of festival events for which tickets are still available, click here.  Dialogue isn’t just about ‘she said’, ‘he said’.  Done well, dialogue will enhance a plot, explore relationships and define characterisation. Join bestselling author Melina Marchetta to discover how to write succinct and powerful dialogue that transforms…

10:00am – 11:00am

THE CHILDREN’S HOUSE

This latest novel by award-winning West Australian novelist, The Children’s House is a love song to the idea of families in all their mysteries and complexities, their different configurations and the hope that creates them. In conversation with writer Stephanie Bishop. Date: Saturday 24th of August Time: 10am until 11am Tickets: $20/$17.50 Speaker: Alice Nelson in conversation with Stephanie…

10:00am – 11:00am

THE GRASS LIBRARY

In his latest book, David Brooks takes the reader on a philosophical and poetic journey that recounts his relationship with his four sheep and other animals at his Blue Mountains home. In conversation with poet, animal rights campaigner and founder of Animal Liberation Christine Townend. Date: Saturday 24th August Time: 10am to 11am Tickets:  $20/$17.50…

11:30am – 12:30pm

ON DRUGS

Philosopher Chris Fleming discusses his own experience of drug addiction, which began while he was a student and later became a life-threatening obsession. From popping pharmaceuticals to debating the meaning of life with drug dealers, expect humour, insight and a spectacularly frank conversation with Ivor Indyk, founding editor of HEAT magazine and Giramondo Publishing. Date:…

11:30am – 12:30pm

GEOGRAPHIES OF THE IMAGINATION

This event has now sold out. For a list of festival events for which tickets are still available, click here.  From physically walking trails in high places to creating journeys of the imagination, award-winning writers Leah Kaminsky and Patti Miller explore what drives them to write, and the boundaries of where memoir writing becomes fiction. In…

1:00pm – 2:15pm

FILM SCREENING: CLARENCE WALDEN with ALEXIS WRIGHT

Gangalidda political leader Clarence Walden is known throughout the Carpentaria region as one of the most important intellectual figureheads alive today. In this extraordinary, confronting and at times inspiring documentary, Clarence takes us on a journey through the hardships of growing up in the 1950s and 60s on the remote Doomadgee Mission in the Gulf…

1:30pm – 2:30pm

ON WRITING, WITH MELINA MARCHETTA

Melina Marchetta’s nine novels include middle-grade, YA and adult fiction, spanning the genres of literary fiction, crime and fantasy. Melina will be joined by her commissioning editor Amy Thomas from Penguin Random House, and together they will share their insights into the process and craft of writing and publishing. In conversation with ABC Radio Sydney’s…

2:00pm – 2:45pm

LAUGH OUT LOUD WITH OLIVER PHOMMAVANH

Come and have a laugh with the author of Don’t Follow Vee, Natural Born Loser, Thai-riffic!, Con-nerd, The Other Christy and more. Oliver Phommavanh is a children’s author and stand-up comedian who loves playing his Nintendo Switch and eating burgers to post on his Instagram. Oliver will have your kids laughing until their sides hurt.…

3:00pm – 4:00pm

THE EXPERIENCE OF OTHERNESS

Questions of race and identity are increasingly important in a politically divisive society. Arab-Australians Miran Hosny and Wafa Kazal, contributors to the new book Arab Australian Other: Stories on Race and Identity, talk about their experiences of otherness and belonging. In conversation with Sara Saleh, contributor and joint editor of the collection. Tickets:  $20/$17.50 Speakers:  Miran…

3:00pm – 4:30pm

INSIDE PUBLISHING

Wondering how to negotiate the publishing industry? This panel discussion explores the inner workings of the publishing world from the perspective of the experts. Join publisher Annette Barlow, owner of Gleebooks David Gaunt , editor Jody Lee and agent Grace Heifetz in this informative and generous session. Chaired by Writing NSW’s CEO, Jane McCredie. Tickets: $25/$20…

4:30pm – 5:30pm

BLOOD AND DIRT

Join Chris Hammer, author of the bestselling thriller Scrublands, in conversation with ABC Radio Sydney’s Cassie McCullagh, as they discuss crime writing, the keeping of secrets, and the underbelly of Australia’s hinterland. Tickets:  $20/$17.50 Speakers:  Chris Hammer, in conversation with Cassie McCullagh Venue:  The Ballroom, Carrington Hotel, 15-47 Katoomba St, Katoomba Day passes also available…

4:15pm – 5:00pm; 5.15pm to 6:00pm

LIBRARY PYJAMA PARTY – BANANAS IN PYJAMAS

Hosted by the Bananas in Pyjamas, this is a pyjama party not to be missed. You know what they’ll be wearing, and we want you to join them! With stories, games, craft, music and an opportunity to meet the Bananas, you’ll want to wear your very best pyjamas to this special festival event. Seriously, wear…

Saturday 24 August, 7:00pm – 9:30pm

LITERARY DINNER WITH KERRY O’BRIEN

Join our festival family for a special literary dinner in The Grand Dining Room of The Carrington Hotel. Kerry O’Brien, one of Australia’s most respected journalists, will give the keynote festival address, and ABC Radio Sydney’s James Valentine will be our MC. Kerry is one of Australia’s most respected journalists, with six Walkley awards including the…

10:00am – 11:00am

HIPPOS IN THE THAMES – TIM FLANNERY

This event has now sold out. For a list of festival events for which tickets are still available, click here. In his book, Europe: A Natural History, Australian palaeontologist and conservationist Tim Flannery explores Europe’s surprising deep past, and how it might inform the future. Discover a pre-history when hippos swam the Thames and giant carnivorous hedgehogs…

11:30am - 12:30pm

EXTRAORDINARY TRUTH, EXTRAORDINARY LIES – JESSIE COLE AND VICKI LAVEAU-HARVIE

This event has now sold out. For a list of festival events for which tickets are still available, click here.  Jessie Cole and Vicki Laveau-Harvie’s incredibly powerful memoirs have told two very different stories of family, secrets, forgiveness, and finding a way to make sense of it all. In conversation with author, journalist and commentator Benjamin…

1:00pm - 4:00pm

WORKSHOP: WRITER CONVERSATIONS

As a special festival event, Varuna offers you the opportunity to have a one-on-one 30-minute consultation with Dr Carol Major, one of Varuna’s most experienced writing mentors. Bookings essential. Date: Sunday 25th August Time: Sessions available between 1pm and 4pm Individual session:  $60 Facilitator:   Dr Carol Major Event:  Workshop Venue:  Varuna the National Writers’ House, 141…

1:30pm – 2:30pm

GIRLS ARE COMING OUT OF THE WOODS – TISHANI DOSHI

Tishani Doshi (INDIA) is an award-winning writer and dancer of Welsh-Gujarati descent. Her most recent books are a collection of poems, Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods, shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award, and a novel, Small Days and Nights. In conversation with writer and musician Kate Fagan. Tickets:  $20/$17.50 Speakers:   Tishani Doshi in conversation with Kate…

1:30pm – 2:15pm

VISIT VARUNA

Visit Varuna, the National Writers’ House, and tour the house and gardens that have nurtured the work of Australia’s best writers for almost 30 years. View our library of Australian writers and poets, hear about our new green energy initiatives and find out about our annual programs for writers. Places strictly limited. Tickets:  $5 Venue: …

2:30pm – 4:00pm

POETRY BY THE FIRE

Join local and visiting poets around the fire pit in the Varuna garden. Bring your own poem to read, or simply sit, listen and enjoy the magical ambience of the Writers’ House. One of the most well-loved events in the festival program. Tickets:  FREE Venue: Varuna, the National Writers’ House, 131 Cascade Street, Katoomba…

3:00pm – 4:00pm

NO FRIEND BUT THE MOUNTAINS – BEHROUZ BOOCHANI

This event has now sold out. For a list of festival events for which tickets are still available, click here.  Behrouz Boochani is a Kurdish–Iranian writer, journalist, scholar, cultural advocate and filmmaker. A refugee, he has been imprisoned by our government since 2013. His memoir No Friend But the Mountains won the 2019 Victorian Prize for Literature and a…

 4:30pm – 5:30pm

BRIDGE OF CLAY – MARKUS ZUSAK

This event has now sold out. For a list of festival events for which tickets are still available, click here.  Markus Zusak is the international bestselling author of six novels, including The Book Thief and most recently, Bridge of Clay. His work is translated into more than forty languages, and has spent more than a decade on the New York…

Exhibition runs 9 - 26 August

THE BOOK OF BITCH

Visit Platform Gallery any time over the Festival weekend to view the feisty and fabulous work of Blue Mountains artist Ailie Banks. Exhibition runs 9 – 26 August Venue:  Platform Gallery, 194 Katoomba St, Katoomba…

Saturday, 17 August 10:00am – 1:00pm

WORKSHOP: FROM LITTLE THINGS, BIG THINGS GROW

Sometimes it’s the telling detail that opens a whole world. Facilitated by local author Tracy Sorensen, this workshop explores how tiny details can be the starting point for creating meaningful worlds. Tickets: $60/$50 Event: Workshop Facilitator:  Tracy Sorenson Venue: Gang Gang Gallery, 206 Main St, Lithgow…

Thursday, 22 August 10:00am – 1:30pm

DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF DARKS CAVE

In the 1930s, Eleanor and Eric Dark set up a retreat in a remote cave perched on the edge of Leura’s escarpment. Remnants of their camp remain to this day. This guided walk, led by Dharug man Chris Tobin and bushwalking author Veechi Stuart, explores our cultural and Indigenous history in this extraordinary bushland setting.…

Thursday, 22 August 7:00pm – 9:00pm

POETRY SLAM!

50 Slam Heats burn across the nation, leading to eight State Finals and the National Final. Over 1,000 writers will perform but only one will be crowned 2019 Australian Poetry Slam National Champion. Performing writers are given a microphone, a live audience and just two minutes to capture the crowd with their own original work.…

Friday, 23 August 9:30am - 11:30am

SCHOOL’S IN! WITH MELINA MARCHETTA

Supported by literature development organisation WestWords, our inaugural schools’ program features Melina Marchetta in conversation with author James Roy. Venue:  Katoomba High School Entry for high-school students only…