Big Ideas Thrive in a Small Town: Kyogle Writers Festival

A showcase of emerging writers during the Flamingo Writers Salon session at the 2021 Kyogle Writers Festival.

A stellar lineup from Southern Cross University will be showcased at the Kyogle Writers Festival this weekend as the “festival of big ideas in small towns” returns for its second edition.

Writers and readers will flock to the quaint town of Northern Rivers west of Byron Bay for three days of jam-packed programming May 13-15. The festival features around 70 authors and poets and includes on-stage conversations with authors, panel discussions and workshops.

Southern Cross University food historian Adele Wessell will speak with Bundjalung leader Mark Olive on Friday, May 13. Professor Wessell will also moderate the Home/Kitchen panel on Saturday May 14 with Northern Rivers chef Belinda Jeffery, Sydney Morning Herald food critic Barbara Sweeney and Newcastle University historian Nancy Cushing, Associate Professor.

The University’s Creative Writing Coordinator, Dr Lynda Hawryluk, will speak with Sydney-based memoirist and non-fiction creative writer, Patti Miller, about Patti’s latest book, True Friends (Sunday May 15) .

Southern Cross creative alumni are present throughout the program. Acclaimed writer Jessie Cole (Staying: a memoir; Darkness on the Edge of Town) and Emily Brugman (debut novel The Islands) join the Writing Close to Home session on Saturday, May 14. Emily Brugman is also present in the New Fiction session (Saturday May 14). Andrew Spencer will host the Flamingo Writers Salon, a showcase of emerging writers with their first shorts writing across styles and genres (Saturday May 14 and Sunday May 15). Katinka Smit will lead the workshop Close to Home: Historical Narratives of Lived Experience (Sunday May 15).

Adjunct Professor Kevin Markwell will speak with author, paramedic and filmmaker Ben Gilmour about Ben The Gap’s memoir, an unqualified look at what happens after a triple zero call: drugs, nightclubs, brothels, billionaires, emergency deliveries and even a kidnapping (Saturday May 14).

Creative minds benefit from a healthy body! Shannon Apps, a graduate in osteopathy from the University, will offer tips for avoiding shoulder, back, neck or wrist pain during the Front Up session! Body Self Care (Sunday May 15). A must-attend session for writers and illustrators.

Southern Cross University is proud to present a The Power of Words High School Session on Friday, May 13. Three very different writers – teenage activist Jean Hinchcliffe, writer and filmmaker Ben Gilmour and master storyteller Melaina Faranda – take turns on the main stage at KMI Hall to talk about their creative journeys and give advice and tips to young writers (and activists!).

Other literary stars appearing include Melissa Lucashenko (the University’s first Creative Arts Fellow), Julianne Schultz, Jackie Huggins AO, Chelsea Watego, Delia Falconer, Harry Saddler, Ellen van Neerven, Michael Burge and many more .

Panel discussions include Writing Nature, Writing the Sensual World, The Hero’s Journey, Creativity after the Fire and New Australian Fiction.

To see the full program and buy tickets online, go to

Discounted Tickets for Southern Cross University Students

Southern Cross University students can purchase discounted “student rush” tickets by presenting their student card at the ticket office.

Southern Cross University is a proud sponsor of the Kyogle Writers Festival.

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