Literary minds combine at Jugiong Writers' Festival

IMPRESSIVE: Koby Russell performs an Aboriginal dance. He involved local school students and children from outside the village in his performance. Picture: Jennette Lees

IMPRESSIVE: Koby Russell performs an Aboriginal dance. He involved local school students and children from outside the village in his performance. Picture: Jennette Lees

The tiny village of Jugiong more than doubled in population over the weekend when hundreds of literary minds attended the village’s biennial Writers’ Festival.

Saturday saw visitors spoiled for choice when it came to the plethora of talented authors on hand to present talks. 

Stan Grant officially opened the festival with other exciting speakers being Di Morrissey, Professor Bill Gammage, Pip Courtney, Margareta Osborn, Sulari Gentill, Alice Campion and Tracey Holmes.

Mr Grant told his audience, “everyone’s life is a journey, and it is how you make that journey that is important.”

“You demand of us as writers, new thoughts and new ideas to provoke and inspire, and take you to other places,” Mr Grant said.

“I think poetry speaks louder than politics, songs tell us who we are, I think stories tell us who we are and I think together, through this story, we actually create a nation.”

The Jugiong Hall was packed to the rafters with 250 people attending the varied talks, a number from Cootamundra. 

On the Sunday, organisers turned their hand to a community event in the park with tables set up for a gourmet brunch and entertainment throughout the morning. 

GATHERING OF LITERARY MINDS: Published authors and media personalities combine at the Jugiong Writers' Festival Saturday Events. Picture: Paula Butt

GATHERING OF LITERARY MINDS: Published authors and media personalities combine at the Jugiong Writers' Festival Saturday Events. Picture: Paula Butt

From Cootamundra, Koby Russell and Murray Izzard impressed with an Indigenous performance featuring didgeridoo playing. 

Ben Visser sang, as did Jugiong’s Butt family members of dad Leigh and daughters Katie and Eliza. 

Miss Em’s Drama Skills was also represented and Jugiong Public School students performed during the morning.

A Writers’ Festival would not be complete without stories and a number of Cootamundra residents featured in the prizes for short stories and poetry. 

Cootamundra's Bob Guy reads out a poem by young Cootamundra poet Sam Bragg

Festival committee member Joy Coggan puts the success of the weekend down to the village organisations and residents who pitched in to help. 

“This is a most remarkable community,” Mrs Coggan said. 

“We have so much talent, people do what they do best and that is why I think this works,” she continued. 

As the Writers’ Festival wraps up, the attention of the small but thriving village turns to the Jugiong Art Exhibition, set down for November this year, which again attracts visitors to the district from far and wide.

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