Tuesday 26th October 2021

Newcastle Writers Festival. 40/2019.

Newcastle Writers Festival. 40/2019.

When I lived in Sydney I went to a few Sydney Writers Festivals when they were still located at The Wharves down by the Harbour. It was often on a warm May Saturday I attended and soaked up sunshine, wisps of words from those who chatted along with their companions and took my seat in the theatre or section to listen to authors. I saw quite a few and even got some selfies back then as well.

Now, I live closer to Newcastle than Sydney so it made sense to consider attending the ‘Newy’ festival and even better when I saw who I could book a seat to listen to and ‘get a selfie’ with.

On Sunday 7th April it was a beautifully warm day in Newcastle and I took the chance to learn more about the city as I found the parking situation better this time.

I met my friend first. She had already had a coffee so that would wait for me. We hadn’t seen each other for years and had quite a bit to catch up on. Lisa is one of the ‘old school bloggers’ I first met in 2011!


Session One.

Rick Morton. OK. He too is someone I have known since 2011 (the first Bloggers’ Conference) and I have followed his career as a journo and writer since. In fact, he interviewed me for a story in the Australian about “Grandparents Caring for Grandkids”. That was in 2014. Now, he has written a best-seller.

His story.

Wow. The tales he tells are true. His talk sure was impactful. His book is One Hundred Years of Dirt. It has been re-printed over and over. Now I can listen to him narrate his story on Audible. Thanks Rick for our extra long chat and connecting me to your Mum Deb. Do read Rick’s book!


There were no sessions I wanted to attend until after lunch. So, this meant I got time to meet this man, Trent Dalton. The author who, on Instagram, convinced me to continue listening to Boy Swallows Universe when I found it a bit unsavoury. He said: “Denyse, stick with it, it IS a love story, I promise you will love it.”.

He was right. It is. I did. I had to tell him! I lined up, not with a book to sign (it was at home) but to introduce myself. He was chuffed to meet me and so self-effacing. A lovely man. Please, if you have not, read or listen to Boy Swallows Universe.

Then Lisa and I caught up again over: lunch for her, morning tea for me.

Session Two.

After Lisa left, I walked around the Civic area and park trying to stay cool as the day’s temperature rose to over 30. Once I had a bit of a rest under a 100 year old tree, I made my way back to the Main Civic Hall where my friend Jane Caro was interviewed about Accidental Feminists. Her latest book. I took notes. I learned a lot about myself (because I am a bit older than Jane) via her life experiences. Interesting alright! Do buy or borrow the book.

Jane was so kind in between sessions when she agreed to a quick photo telling me “You look amazing”. Jane is a FB friend and knew about the oral cancer.

Summing Up.

It was a big day out for me. A first really since way before cancer but it was so good for  me to do this. I loved it and will certainly be going in 2020 if some of my fave authors are part of the program.

Do you go to Writers festivals?


Joining with Sue and Leanne here for Wednesday’s Midlife Share The Love linky,

With Leanne on Thursday for Lovin Life link up here

AND with Alicia on Fridays for Open Slather here.

Thank you all for your link ups.



  1. Hi Denyse, aren’t writers’ festivals the best?! I try to go to the annual Writers’ Festival in Perth, and there is also a readers and writers festival held in Margaret River, which is closer for me, but always seems to be at the wrong time. Like you I love meeting the authors, soaking up the atmosphere and browsing thorugh (and buying) new books! #MLSTL and Shared on SM

  2. They are indeed. I am more the reader than the writer but any chance to hear people tell their stories is the best.

    I went to around 3 or 4 when I still lived in Sydney. Now that I live closer to Newcastle AND can venture out socially again (very hard to do post-mouth surgeries) it was great to go and to catch up with these people.

    I did not buy on this occasion as I have a pile of #toberead at home!

    Denyse x

  3. Denyse I had to laugh at your criteria for a great writers’ conference including who you could have a great selfie with – you make me smile! Loved your write-up and your pics AND thos selfies!
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂

    • Yes, of course…it’s all about the social media connections!!

      I had already known of the lovely people, other than Trent and it was fun to see them again AND have the photo.

      Trent Dalton is one of the most self-effacing and talented young men.. Rick is similar. Both very bright and deep thinkers AND sharing their writing with the world.

      Lisa is an “old” blogging mate…Jane of course is a well-known author and supporter of public education too.

      Yes, it was the best!

      Denyse x

  4. Do you know I have never been to a writers festival but I’m thinking I might try for Adelaide or Sydney in the next little while. You sound like you had the best time and I love that Trent dalton encouraged you to continue on with it. I also enjoyed reading Boys Swallows Universe. I’ve always been a fan of Jane Caro too and like her ideas, I must keep an eye out for her book. A really fun post and I’m so pleased you got your selfie quota!! sharing for #mlstl

    • I think you would love it! I went by myself to Sydney ones mostly because I also got to people watch. The Sydney One has moved venues to Everleigh near Redfern. It’s not long till it’s on – May & I know Rick, Trent and Jane are appearing along with many. I signed up for the newsletters of the festivals then got an idea of who & when. It was so good for me to do this from an Independent view too as for too long before cancer I had been kept home by IBS anxiety.
      Denyse x

  5. I love going to writer’s fesitvals. It is a bonus if you get to interact with authors. It sounds like you had aa great day. I’m sure it left you inspired for more writing!

  6. My cousin attends the Sydney Writer’s Festival each year, Denyse and I’ve often thought about the Brisbane one but never managed to attend. I think it would be fascinating and so pleased you go to meet the authors especially Jane Caro. Thanks for sharing with us at #MLSTL and have a beautiful day. xx

    • The Sydney ones were huge and probably even more so now. I also liked that the Sydney WF puts on events at local libraries too. I went to one there as well.

      This Newcastle one has only been going for a few years and I am sure it will continue to build on the success of this year’s.

      It is a fun time and I enjoy chatting to some authors if I can. Many are very grateful and often quite shy!

      Denyse x

  7. I followed your adventures when you were there and was very jealous. I enjoy writers’ festivals though don’t get to go to many. Newcastle looked great – so many great guests and speakers. I wouldn’t mind going to Byron Bay one year but know it’s a bit of a logistical challenge.


    • They’re a great chance to see people in a different setting.

      I did see some other authors and said Hello to one. Many though, sitting at the table after their talks to sign books looked a bit lonely and vulnerable. Holly Throsby was one I saw but did not speak too. I saw Ginger Gorman (I think) and her book about Trolls had just been released after Carly Findlay’s so I said “g’day I know Carly and she was lovely and a bit nervous that the following Sunday (last one) she was interviewing Carly in Canberra.

      I think you would be in your element at these festivals but would also need to chat with the authors as you give them so much of your time and support too. I hope you continue to attend them.

      Denyse x

  8. Wow Denyse, what a fabulous day out! I’ve never been to a writer’s festival but I’d like to some day. Newcastle is a lovely area – I’ve got quite a few relatives that live there and around that area. xo #TeamLovinLife

    • Yes it is a great day out and when there are set ups nearby for respite and coffee as well as a bookshop then it has all the hallmarks of a day to remember.

      It was very hot actually when I went outside so took me a while to find a shady spot under a tree and once I did, I people watched and tried my hand at some sketching.

      I do hope you attend one. The two writers I met are of course from Brisbane (Trent) and outback Queensland (Rick)

      Denyse x

  9. That sounds like a lot of fun. I haven’t been to a writers festival for a while I must admit, but enjoy them when I do. I grew up in Newcastle so I recognise some of those photo locations. I used to study a lot in at the Reference Library in town.

    • How wonderful to see your home town in my pics. I must say that since 2015 every time I come to Newcastle there are more changes and developments. The light rail now works. I am not sure everyone has embraced the changes though.

      Nice to think the old(er) buildings are still there and the lovely park.

      Denyse x

  10. I haven’t been to a writers festival in a lot of years. When I lived in Sydney I was always working – or it coincided with us being away somewhere – which tends to be the only time I’m not working…which makes the whole thing a bit of a catch 22. You look like you had a fab day though.

    • The writers festivals are quite frequent now around Australia.

      I think for me it is about seeing the who I am interested in and listening to them when I can. I saw one in Sydney where the man was a philosopher who co-write an art book I have and I learned a lot about art and how we may view it from a philosophical perspective…and yes, he too agreed to a selfie!

      Denyse x

  11. As we discussed, Trent Dalton is amazing! As a human being and a writer. I need to read Rick Morton’s book now. Thanks for the recommendation!

    • We are lifelong members of the Trent Dalton fan club now!! As for Rick’s book, he wrote a column yesterday in the Oz (probably paywalled, I will send it to you via email) about his PTSD. He literally had NO idea of his own until he attended the recent writers’ festivals and was on panels re Trauma.

      Yes, you would ‘enjoy’ Rick’s book professionally and personally would give you some background on the big country we live in and where his family lived too.

      Happy Sunday! Another superb beach day.

      Denyse x