For the writer, reader, illustrator and those with stories to tell
The Write around the Murray Festival is a festival very dear to my heart. It’s a festival that had its beginnings with a group of writers, readers and booksellers forming a community committee and then, in one of those lovely moments of serendipity (and I think excellent foresight) AlburyCity came on board so that the first festival was held to time with the opening of the Albury LibraryMuseum in 2007. I was privileged to coordinate it in 2008, 2009 and 2010 and last year launched my second collection of short stories, The Only Constant. I remained on the committee until my move to Sydney earlier this year. The involvement of the community committee working with a coordinator and AlburyCity Library staff is still very much at the heart of the festival.
I’m delighted to still be involved by bringing you some highlights from this year’s festival through my blog.
Launch of the Festival and Community Art Project ‘Confluence’
Launching the seventh festival, AlburyCity mayor, Cr Alice Glachan, echoed the sentiments in the Welcome to Country by Wiradjuri elder, Nancy Rooke that the Albury Wodonga community is one that walks, talks and works together.
Cr Glachan said those attending this morning’s opening and those involved in the festival represented the ‘3D’ of the community.
“It’s important for AlburyCity to host these events. To support readers and writers and to promote culture. This is the largest literary event on the Border.”
Cr Glachan said she had not been an avid reader until, when pregnant with her first child, she read the Harry Potter series.
“I know there are people who thought the series was about witchcraft, but I think it’s about being a kid, growing up and having a good time.”
“I think it is important to read, because the more you read … the more you read, and then the more you write, the more you write and the better you write.”
This year’s festival’s theme is Australian Voices taking the reader on a journey of past, present and future and the everchanging Australian Voice.
A reflection of that theme is the community project, Confluence.
Internationally renowned artist Glen Clarke worked with Albury based artist Bronwyn Cossor to develop a public and community artwork now dressing the iconic x-façade of the Albury LibraryMuseum.
Glen and Bronwyn partnered with a wide range of community groups including the Albury & District Historical Society, recently arrived refugees and migrants, former residents of the Bonegilla Migrant Settlement Centre and secondary and primary school students.
Glen said the artwork demonstrated how many make the whole, and he had learned a lot about the community during the process.
Bronwyn, a past winner of the Albury Art Prize and the Hume Building Society Art Award, said she had never worked on a project of this scale. Apart from the telling of stories, the project involved hours of sewing.
The project was assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.
Storytelling and Literature Out Loud
This afternoon the tagline for the festival, ‘For the writer, reader, illustrator and those with stories to tell’ came to life through the two afternoon events including the schools event with author, Sue deGennaro who took students through the process of making a book, starting with character sketches, story boarding, dummy books and colour roughs. The kids then drew simple characters from Sue’s books in a step by step process.
One Sydney family have just embarked on a two year round Australia trip and dropped
in to join the fun.
Sue will be back again tomorrow for Storytime at 11am at the Albury LibraryMuseum.
Also a presenter on the schools and program for the general public, storyteller, singer and musician, Jan (Yarn) Wositzky brought to life songs, poetry and stories in his Literature out Loud session. A co-founder of the Bushwackers Band, Yarn told the story of his appearance at a festival in Tokyo and the foibles of translation.
Tonight at 6pm he’ll be returning to tell the story of Phar Lap and his strapper, Tommy Woodcock as part of the launch of the exhibition, ‘The Strapper’ – an exhibition of memorabilia and photographs of the mighty horse bequeathed to the Hinchliffe family Woodcock. Armed with an archive of recordings and a banjo, ‘Yarn’ will bring Tommy’s story to life.
In the tradition of the travelling tent show, the sensational Stockyard show will pay homage to the skills of Tommy Woodcock and the Hinchliffe family’s post WWII tent horse shows – complete with whip-cracking, songs, poetry and a real live horse in the LibraryMuseum!
Places are still available for tonight’s performance.
The full program for Write around the Murray is available here.