By Matthew Pearce
Aspiring authors and those who just love a good book are in for a treat when the Capricorn Coast Writers Festival returns in June.
Speaking at the festival’s launch on 29 April at Yeppoon’s Beaman Park, director Nene Davies said the event wasn’t just for people who wanted to write a book.
“We had some feedback last time from people who said, ‘I don’t think there’ll be anything there for me, because I’m not a writer, but I love reading’.
“The festival is definitely for readers as well, it’s anyone who loves books, stories, the written world, storytelling, listening and partaking, it’s for us all.”
Events will be held on the weekend of 11 June to 13 June at four main locations, including the Yeppoon Town Hall, the Hub Building, Salt Apartments and the Yeppoon library.
Things kick off with a celebratory cocktail party on the Friday evening, before continuing the following morning with a conversation with two giants of investigative journalism, Hedley Thomas and Matthew Condon.
Events throughout the weekend will include author panels, workshops, publisher spotlights and an evening soiree with authors Holly Ringland, Dr Anita Heiss and Rachael Johns.
The winners of the Capricorn Coast Writers Festival’s Student Short Story Writing Competition will also be announced.
“The competition will cover three categories, Primary, Middle and High School, with the theme of ‘the coast’,” Ms Davies said.
“It’s a broad theme, so the little ones will be able to tell stories about going to the beach, while older students might want want to tackle issues like what’s happening on our beaches and oceans around the world.”
Ms Davies said the biannual festival’s launch in 2019 had been a great success.
“There hadn’t been any writers festival in Central Queensland prior to that and we thought it would be nice to start one,” she said.
“We were very lucky from the outset that it was intended to be a biannual event, I know a lot of people did have to cancel events last year due to Covid so we were lucky in that regard.”
Ms Davies said the Capricorn Coast had a thriving literary and arts community.
“My family opened Chapter in 2017 with the idea of having a coffee shop that also sells books and that went so well, we opened a separate bookshop, Hannah Jones, earlier this year because we found there was a need for it,” she said.
“Our goal is for the Capricorn Coast Writers Festival to continue to grow, and with the help of Livingstone Shire Council and Keppel Coast Arts and our sponsors and supporters it definitely will.”
Capricorn Enterprise CEO Mary Carroll said events were a critical part of the region’s tourism economy.
“Eighty events on the Capricorn Coast are worth nearly $8 million a year and the Capricorn Coast Writers Festival is a really important part of that,” she said.
“It reflects the essence of the community here, we’ve got so many talented people on the coast, not just writers but artists and stylists and authors.”
Ms Carroll said research showed people spent about $150 per day in the community if travelling for a specific event.
“So we know that when visitors come here, their average length of stay is three to four days and they’ll spend about $650 during that visit,” she said.
“An event like the Capricorn Coast Writers Festival would extend that stay for another day or two.”
Ms Carroll said the Capricorn Coast Writers Festival had the potential to be one of the premier events on the Capricorn Coast.
“Every event starts with one person with passion and an idea and then grows from there,” she said.
“The Village Festival started with humble beginnings with a few hundred visitors and now it’s one of the Capricorn Coast’s biggest annual events.
“The Capricorn Coast Writers Festival also has that potential. It started with an idea by Nene, she’s grown it over the last few years and I have no doubt that in the years to come, thousands of people will flock to this event.”
To find out more about the Capricorn Coast Writers Festival, go to https://capricorncoastwritersfestival.com.