Following a brilliant inaugural festival, StoryFest returns in June 2021 to Milton/ Mollymook/ Ulladulla with a jam-packed main program. StoryFest 2021 showcases over 40 artists across 30 events in a line-up that promises to engage and entertain audiences keen to get out and support Australian artists.
The NSW South Coast was hard hit by bushfires and COVID restrictions in 2019/20 and the community has rallied to welcome visitors back to the beautiful Shoalhaven region. Apart from great restaurants and cafes, stunning beaches, walks, golf courses, and eclectic shopping, visitors will be wowed by the diverse and high-calibre artists coming to spend the weekend of June 18 to 20 at StoryFest 2021.
Highlights and special guests include:
• StoryFest patron, and international bestselling author, Markus Zusak, will deliver the opening night address.
• Craig Silvey, international bestselling and critically acclaimed author of Jasper Jones. His astonishing new novel Honeybee has been shortlisted for the 2021 Indie Awards for Best Fiction.
• Bestselling writer Rosalie Ham will join us to discuss her new novel The Dressmaker’s Secret. Then on Saturday night, she will be joined by her best friend from her hometown of Jerilderie, Sue Maslin, as they discuss the epic journey of The Dressmaker, from concept to novel to film followed by a special frock-up screening.
• The Honourable Tanya Plibersek MP will talk with journalist and commentator Jane Caro about life after COVID-19.
• Co-host of ABC Radio Sydney’s Breakfast Program, Wendy Harmer, will be leading the debate on freedom of speech with a panel of journalists, commentators, and comedians.
• Journalist and bestselling novelist, Nikki Gemmell, turns her hand to historical fiction with her new novel The Ripping Tree. She’ll be joining award-winning writers Jock Serong and David Hunt to discuss stories from Australian history.
• Farmer Charles Massey OA is a champion for regenerative agriculture and changing Australian farming practices. His recent book Call of the Reed Warbler featured on the ABC program Australian Story in 2020, which in turn led to a resurgence of interest in his views based on his considerable farming experience and academic research.
• Patricia Ellis, who belongs to the Brinja-Yuin people of Moruya and the Walbanga of Batemans Bay, will be in conversation about her life work, The Dhurga Dictionary and Learner Grammar, co-written with her siblings Kerry Boyenga and Waine Donovan.
• The festival closes on Sunday with a lunch at The Old Church, Milton featuring a very special conversation with actor and theatre director John Bell AO OBE FRSN talking about lessons learned on leadership and his new book Some Achieve Greatness.
The StoryFest 2021 Schools Program runs in the week leading up to the main festival. It brings together children’s writers Matt Stanton and Kate & Jol Temple and will feature a performance by Ulladulla High School Drama students accompanied by those much-loved characters Olivia and Grug. This vital program is designed to encourage creativity and literacy amongst local primary school children, and is proudly supported by the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal.
‘The unprecedented events of the past two years have definitely shaped our program,’ says Festival Director Meredith Jaffé. ‘We welcome the announcement of $25,000 funding for StoryFest 2021 by the Shoalhaven City Council. The funds have been provided to Council by the NSW State & Federal Governments as part of the Bushfire Community Resilience & Recovery Fund, which has been established to assist bushfire-affected towns with community and economic recovery.’
Local MP Shelley Hancock said ‘We have been lucky to see a resurgence in local tourism in the past year and StoryFest is exactly the kind of event that will provide audiences with an additional reason to return in the winter months. The Shoalhaven region continues to build on its reputation as one of the most beautiful places on the NSW coast and I am confident StoryFest will encourage tourists back to our region and to support our local businesses and tourism providers.’
The Festival features a number of workshops including Introduction to Memoir by writer Lee Kofman, The Craft of Editing led by renowned editor Louise Thurtell and Shooting Film by documentary maker and international film teacher Jeff Licence.
‘Our line-up has writers, poets, filmmakers and performers talking about everything from Australian history, climate collapse, brave new worlds, surf culture, and some of the latest great crime stories, as well as fascinating insights into forgotten women from history, mental health and parenting, and an exploration of physical perfection.’ Meredith Jaffé says.
Tickets go on sale on May 1 through the StoryFest website. Newsletter subscribers have exclusive early bird access from 24 April. Subscribe via the website at www.storyfest.org.au