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In Conversation with leading Australian writers


Brigid Veale
12 March 2012
Two award-winning Australian writers, Arnold Zable and Alice Pung, will be telling their stories at a free public event hosted by Southern Cross University, as a prelude to the Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival later this month.

Southern Cross University writing lecturer Dr Jenny Ledgar will be ‘In conversation’ with Arnold Zable and Alice Pung at the Southern Cross University Coffs Harbour campus on Friday, March 23 at 2pm.

Arnold and Alice are just two of the guests at the five-day Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival, which will feature a host of activities from a marathon reading of Peter Carey’s award-winning Oscar and Lucinda novel to a poetry slam and writing workshops. Among the other guest speakers at the festival will be Robert Drewe, Morris Gleitzman and Richard Glover.

Academic staff from Southern Cross University, one of the Festival's Foundation Partners, will also be participating in various workshops and panels throughout the five-day event.

Dr Lisa Milner, from the University’s School of Arts and Social Sciences, said the Festival was proving to be a great drawcard for writers and readers.

“This is only the second year for the Festival and there is a fabulous line-up that includes some of Australia’s most talented new writers. Bellingen and its surrounds, which have provided inspiration to so many writers and artists, provide a spectacular backdrop for this event,” Dr Milner said.

“Southern Cross University is delighted to be involved in the Festival, which provides a focus for the creative industries throughout the region and promotes thoughtful conversation and debate around many writing ideas and genres.”

In addition to the In Conversation event, Southern Cross University is offering a writing workshop called ‘Creating a Sense of Place and Atmosphere in Genre Writing’. The workshop will be held on Wednesday, March 21, from 9.30am to 12.30pm at St Andrew’s Old Church, Hyde Street, Bellingen. It will be led by Dr Nell Cook, who teaches writing at SCU.

The workshop will provide an opportunity for writers to practice their skills in conveying a sense of place in many genres including gothic, fantasy, magic realism and nature writing.

A writer’s panel called ‘Writing Place’ will be held at the Bellingen Library, from 3pm to 4pm on Saturday, March 24. This panel, chaired by SCU’s Dr Janie Conway-Herron, will discuss how writing about place maps the heart of belonging. The writers on the panel are all fellow School of Arts and Social Sciences staff: Associate Professor Baden Offord, Dr Jenny Ledgar, Dr Rob Garbutt and Kim Satchell.

The ‘In Conversation’ with Arnold Zable and Alice Pung will be held in the D Block lecture theatre, Coffs Harbour campus, on Friday, March 23, from 2pm.

To find out more about the Festival, to download a program and to buy tickets, visit the Festival site at

Photo: Arnold Zable will be 'In conversation' at Southern Cross University's Coffs Harbour campus on Friday, March 23.