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Program    Authors & Facilitators    Bookings & Tickets    Venues      Accommodation    Download Program


AT THE HOUSE   Sunday 15 May | Saturday 21 May   
AT THE CARRINGTON   Monday 16 | Tuesday 17 May


Sunday 15 May | Saturday 21 May

Varuna, the National Writers House, 141 Cascade Street, Katoomba (Entry is on foot via Sherman Avenue)

Sunday 15 May

15 May @ Varuna
Session 1:
Midday - 2.00pm
Session 2:
2.00pm - 4.00pm


Opening Festival Event: FREE

A special event at Varuna curated by Wiradjuri and Ngiyampaa artist and activist Graham Davis-King:

“The works represent three concepts as one: the natural world, the environment and nature’s calendar, bringing people into the fourth dimensional universe, which is part of the Dreamtime or Marrathalpu”.

Featuring new work by Thomas Brown, Aedenn Rowan and Graham Davis-King this unique event includes artist talks, ceremony and the opportunity to engage with the artists in a fire-circle chat.



Saturday 21 May

21 May
2:00pm - 3:00pm
@ Varuna

The Mice Who Roared: The Independent Poetry Press

Many small presses had their genesis in a few passionate imaginations, spare rooms and garages of regional Australia – Picaro in Newcastle, Five Islands Press in Wollongong, Island in the Blue Mountains, to name just a few.


Join Picaro’s Rob Reil and Ron Pretty of Five Islands, for a reflective discussion facilitated by Craig Billingham as we celebrate the success and consider the future of small press publishing across the country and the decades. 


21 May
3.30pm – 4.30pm
@ Varuna

Poetry Circle

Circle around the fire-pit in Varuna’s garden to enjoy a poem from poets near and far. Books will be available for sale and signing.





Monday 16 - Tuesday 17 May

The Grand Dining Room, The Carrington Hotel, 15-47 Katoomba Street, Katoomba

One-Day Pass
Monday 16 May - $65 full / $55 concession
Tuesday 17 May - $65 full / $55 concession


Two-Day Pass
Monday 16 and Tuesday 17 May - $100 (no concession)


Single Session Tickets $15 (only available at the door on the day, subject to availability)


Dr Dark Memorial Lecture
Monday 16 May - $15 full / $10 concession
(This event is ticketed separately and is not included in the all-day or two-day pass) 


 Monday 16 May

16 May
10.00 - 11.10 am
@ The Carrington

Not just Black and White: Aboriginal Histories Revealed

Join award winning writer and Murri elder Lesley Williams as she talks with Heidi Norman about her and her daughter Tammy’s pursuit of justice for Aboriginal workers – a nine-year quest that takes them all the way from Cherbourg mission, Queensland to the UN (via Michael Jackson’s house). Written as a conversation between mother and daughter Not just Black and White is a powerful, touching and beautifully told story that all Australians should read.

16 May
11.40am – 12.40pm
@ The Carrington

Six Bedrooms: Short Stories and the Australian Imagination

Tegan Bennett Daylight explores the volatile threshold between teenage and adult experience in her stunning new collection Six Bedrooms. Against a backdrop of mid-1980s Sydney, Bennett Daylight skillfully reworks classic Australian ‘coming-of-age’ themes – sex, alcohol, family, love, disappointment and eternal hope. Her characters are drawn with tenderness and deft assurance and inhabit our memories like old friends. Tegan Bennett Daylight and Kate Fagan talk about time, place and the resurgence of short stories in the Australian imagination.

 12.40 - 1:30pm
16 May
1:30 – 2:30pm
@ The Carrington

VIVIAN GORNICK: The Odd Woman and the City / A New Village Voice

Vivian Gornick writes about herself in friendship, in marriage, as a daughter, as an older woman living alone in New York and as a writer who has difficulty with writing. In a revealing, funny and open conversation with Leah Kaminsky she talks about finding her voice in her latest book The Odd Woman and the City a memoir of self-discovery and friendship deliciously told through conversations, sharp observations and poetic vignettes of New York street life.

16 May
3:00 – 4:00pm
@ The Carrington


Dictionary of Sydney

Find out about the Dictionary of Sydney and the five writers commissioned to write about Blue Mountains Icons for their online site. Delia Falconer, Julian Leatherdale, Naomi Parry, and John Low talk with Dr Lisa Murray (Dictionary of Sydney) about the places they chose and the writing of place as a keeper of memories. A Varuna – Dictionary of Sydney partnership proudly supported by Blue Mountains City Council through the Blue Mountains City of the Arts Trust Cultural Grants Program.

16 May
4:30 – 5:30pm
@ The Carrington

The Natural Way of Things

Charlotte Wood talks with Tegan Bennett Daylight about the moral complexity of her latest book: The Natural Way of Things, a dystopian allegory of power and misogyny set in the remote Australian bush. In this dark and timely tale of a society in decline, that we can easily imagine true but shudder to believe, Wood presents an alternative social order asking us to question our own morals and reserve our judgement.



16 May
6:00 – 7:00pm
@ The Carrington

2016 Dr Eric Dark Memorial Lecture

Andrew Fowler: Good News, Bad News

In the 2016 Dr Dark Memorial Lecture international award-winning investigative journalist Andrew Fowler (The War on Journalism and The Most Dangerous Man in the World) interrogates the current state of the press, the rise of thin journalism and its implications for a democratic society. Driven by commercial and political imperatives, burdened by public distrust and undermined by surveillance the fourth estate is in crisis. Andrew Fowler looks at what has lead to this situation and asks how we can we do better.

Please note: this event is ticketed separately, and is not included in the day pass program





Tuesday 17 May

17 May
10:00 - 11:00am
@ The Carrington

Travelling Home: Debut Fiction

Two of last year's best new novels were about Australians on a quest in the country of their forebears. A doctor in Israel and a writer in Europe, both from Melbourne, both haunted by memories that aren't even theirs. Leah Kaminsky’s The Waiting Room and Miles Allinson’s Fever of Animals are novels that question the possibility of forgetting. These two debut novelists discuss the psychology of memory and guilt and the only true certainty – eventually everyone will disappear.

17 May
11:30am - 12:30pm
@ The Carrington

The Good Shepherd

James Rebanks is the Herdwick Shepherd. His family have farmed the Lakes District for over six hundred years. “I am the luckiest man alive,” he says, "…I live and work in the most beautiful place on earth”. He speaks with Kate Fagan about his number one bestselling memoir, The Shepherds Life. Many stories tell of people trying to escape from a place. This story is of someone doing his very best to stay.

12:30 - 1:30pm
17 May
1:30 - 2:30pm
@ The Carrington


A Tender Reckoning

Magda Szubanski’s suburban childhood was haunted by her father's wartime espionage experience and her own secret sexuality. In this "hymn to the tragic heroism at the heart of ordinary life" one of Australia’s most loved performers talks about searching for skeletons in the family closet and her own fearless journey of self-discovery.
"A Tender Reckoning is a riveting, overwhelming, poignant autobiography by a woman of genius… every library should have it, every school should teach it." Peter Craven, Weekend Australian

17 May
3:00 - 4:00pm
@ The Carrington

Life in the Hive

How do we navigate cycles of loss and damage? Lyrical new works by Peggy Frew and Mireille Juchau speak about endurance and family cohesion amongst communal landscapes. Juchau’s The World Without Us, winner of the Victorian Premier's Literary Awards 2016, is a gripping story of a formidable, grief stricken family. Frew’s Hope Farm is an absorbing story of childhoods lost promise. Both works take us on a search for identity, belonging and survival. They speak with Tegan Bennett Daylight.

17 May
4:30 - 5:30pm
@ The Carrington

The Writer's Mind

Mark O'Flynn, and Sylvia Martin talk to Barbara Brooks about their new books both poetic tales of gifted and eccentric women writers.
Sylvia Martin Ink in Her Veins The Troubled Life of Aileen Palmer and Mark O’ Flynn The Last days of Ava Langdon take us into the troubled minds of two extraordinary women writers of the 20th century. These Blue Mountains writers have both penned poignant and poetic tales of gifted writers struggling with psychiatric illness. One is biography, the other historical fiction. Both new works share similar themes but use very different approaches. They talk to Barbara Brooks about creativity and madness and the sometimes-thin line between history and fiction.




Saturday 21 May

Seminar Room OPP Katoomba Library, 30 Parke Street, Katoomba, NSW 2780
Panel Ticket - $15

Saturday 21 May

21 May
10:00am - 1:00pm
@ The Cultural Centre, Seminar Room

Self-Publishing Panel: The Tools of the Trade

An information-packed Self-Publishing Panel designed to encourage writing and publishing in the Blue Mountains. Includes informative discussions with self published authors, publishers and distributors sharing knowledge on editing, submission and publishing followed by discussion on the finer points of sales, marketing and promotion. Panellists include Carla Billinghurst, Kit Carstairs, Gabriel Farago, Steven Herrick, Amanda Hickie, Jody Lee, Sarah Mills and Jenny Mosher. Includes free mid-morning refreshments. Presented by Varuna and Blue Mountains City Library.




Sydney Writers' Festival website.


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