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Beloved Australian cartoonist, and Stella Award shortlist author amongst special guests at Big Sky 2018

Found in: News

Geraldton, on Australia’s Coral Coast, will host some of Australia’s best storytelling talent when the 13th Big Sky Readers and Writers Festival returns from 25 to 27 May.

Guest author Shokoofeh Azar has just been named in the shortlist for Australia’s coveted Stella literary award. An Iranian refugee, her first novel The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree was one of only six selected for the prize, which will be announced on 12 April.

Joining Shokoofeh in Geraldton will be beloved Australian cartoonist, painter, writer, philosopher and poet Michael Leunig. Michael will be presenting the free festival plenary conversation, sharing how he sees the world a little differently following a near-fatal farming accident.

The impressive line-up continues with popular best-selling children’s author and illustrator Alison Lester; provocative novelist and multi-award winner Charlotte Wood; actor, storyteller and theatre maker Allan Girod; historian and writer Gideon Haigh, Yamaji visual artist and poet Charmaine Papertalk Green, contemporary romance writer Rachael Johns; acclaimed poet, novelist and critic John Kinsella; children and young adult writer Julia Lawrinson; lawyer turned crime writer Jock Serong; and Singaporean author Nuraliah Norasid who has won her country’s richest literary prize.

City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn said this year’s festival, themed Windswept Words, provided a rich mix of entertainment and enlightening discussion.

“This is possibly one of the festival’s most diverse programs yet, including vibrant and engaging performances, immersive storytelling and writing workshops, music and comedy,” he said.

“We also welcome great new venues into the mix this year to further showcase Geraldton’s vibrant arts scene.

“I encourage people to start planning their Festival weekend as I think several events are likely to book out.”

Mayor Van Styn said that although this year’s guests come from a diverse range of backgrounds and talents, they have one thing in common – looking forward to mixing and mingling with festival attendees and other guests.

“That’s what I think regional festivals do best – allowing the special guests to mingle with their fans and engage in vibrant discussions, workshops and panels – it’s a lot more interactive, which creates a really rewarding experience for all,” he added.

Additional festival highlights include:
Absolutely Flawless – a Clown’s Odyssey – laugh till you cry hearing the story of an extreme introvert who overcame awkwardness to become a performer in Cirque de Soleil, performed by actor, comedian, storyteller and clown Allan Girod.
On the Top rooftop literary event –serving up tapas, drinks, live music and entertaining readings from three award winning writers under the stars.
Literary High Tea on the Terrace at Café Fleur in stunning heritage surrounds while enjoying tasty nibbles and readings from three of our writers.

For festival info visit the festival's website ; email or phone (08) 99566659, or like Geraldton Regional Library on Facebook. Most events are free to attend. Ticketed events start at $35 and are available from For accommodation information contact Geraldton Visitor Centre on 1800 VISITGERO or .

Big Sky Readers and Writers Festival is made possible thanks to the support of the City of Greater Geraldton, and writingWA with funds provided by State Government through the Departments of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries and Primary Industries and Regional Development and the Royalties for Regions program. Additional support comes from Lotterywest, Geraldton Universities Centre, Anne and Kim Pedlow, and many more.


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