YA at the Newcastle Writers Festival 2016

I am a huge lover of Young Adult novels, I don’t read them or review them as much as I’d like to but I love them. YA events are another thing I love and I grab any chance to go to one and hear about the latest YA titles and other YA related things.

This year the Newcastle Writers Festival has some wonderful sessions running about memoir, history, and, climate change, but for the first time they are also running two YA panels: The State of Play for YA and Love, Loss, and Everything in Between. Last year the Sydney Writers Festival had excellent YA panels, with authors discussing what it means to write for teens and how that affects content etc. There was also a great event with TeenCon that brought together numerous publishers and bloggers to discuss books and reading and of course, book boyfriends.

Now it is Newcastle’s turn and I for one am so excited to see what it is going to be like. The State of Play for YA sees three industry insiders get together, Jennifer Dougherty (Allen & Unwin), Stephanie Speight (Text Publishing) and Zoe Walton (Penguin Random House), who are going to be talking with Gerry Bobsien and providing some industry insights from those in the know.

The second session, Love, Loss, and Everything in Between, involves three YA writers, David Burton, Trinity Doyle, and Fleur Ferris, talking with Linsay Knight about exploring the big issues of adolescence. I am really looking forward to this because YA books are some of the best places to explore issues and everyone has a different approach in addressing them.

If you are heading to the NWF and are interested in YA, or maybe you’re currently undecided about attending, I suggest you take a look at booking in for one or both of these sessions as I’m sure they will be filled with fascinating and insightful discussions.

Both sessions are on Sunday afternoon, 3 April, and tickets for each session are $15. Check out the NWF program for info and how to book.

Newcastle Writers Festival 2016

The best thing to look forward to at the start of every year is the release of the Newcastle Writers Festival program. For the past three years Newcastle has put on a fantastic festival that celebrates local, Australian, and overseas authors that has been an absolute joy to attend. Now in its fourth year, Festival Director Rosemarie Milsom and her team have planned a wonderful program once more that’s filled with a range of subjects and attendees. While Rosemarie states she did not have any one idea in mind when creating the program this year, she was guided by two themes – how did we get to where we are, and where are we going? As a result, history, memoir, and climate change have had a strong influence on this year’s program and looking at who is attending and what sessions are on offer it looks like it’s going to be a lively and fascinating festival.

If you have never been to a NWF before this could be a great first visit. If you’ve been in past years, or have been coming since its inaugural year like me then you know just how wonderful this weekend can be. Meeting other like-minded people, discussing books with strangers and finding friends unexpectedly in the crowd; there is a great atmosphere with the festival that pulls you into a great mood. Opening night sees Tim Flannery discussing his excellent adventures with anecdotes and details from his new book, Atmosphere of Hope. Accompanied by the great James Valentine as MC and John Doyle as host. Opening night does not start the festival however, with sessions on throughout the day before the opening night.

The program has officially been released which you can download from here, or if you would like a physical copy you now have to request a copy via the website (why I’m not entirely sure), but you can fill out the form here. Or if you’re patient, hard copies will be available next week from Hunter libraries and cafes. Visit the newly designed NWF website to see all the other great things on at the festival as well, including the special children’s program, you can also volunteer to be part of the festival if you wish, or simply learn more about Newcastle and the area.

With 140 writers, 70 sessions, across 5 venues, it’s going to an amazing weekend. The festival countdown is slowly ticking down (literally, see the website), and with just 41 days until this year’s festival kicks off there’s just enough time to study the program, find fabulous sessions you want to attend, buy your tickets, and then sit back and wait (im)patiently for 1 April to arrive for the start of a fantastic writing and book filled three days!

Tickets go on sale Mon 22 Feb 2016 9:00AM  (AEDT).