Sessions

Full program > Here

Breakfast with Julian Burnside

TICKETS CLOSED - Enquiries: 0476 378 975

with JULIAN BURNSIDE AO QC

FRI 10 AUG, 7.00 am - 9.00 am

Julian will speak on the topic:
Where are we going? - indefinite detention has been practised harshly since 2001; offshore processing has been the order of the day since 2013. Our response to refugees has been conspicuously and deliberately cruel. We are betraying our image of ourselves. We are now seen overseas as cruel and selfish. What will it take to end this?

Julian Burnside is celebrated nationally for his work as a barrister in Australia, as well as a human rights and refugee advocate, and author. His legal practice is principally in commercial litigation, trade practices and administrative law.

He is also well known for his strong opposition to the mandatory detention of asylum seekers, and has provided legal counsel in a wide variety of high-profile cases.

MASTERCLASS: Playwriting - Characters and Turning Points

with HANNIE RAYSON

FRI 10 AUG, 9.00 am - 12.30 pm

In this half-day masterclass,
award-winning playwright Hannie Rayson will help you hone your techniques for creating a dynamic and engaging play.

MASTERCLASS: Introduction to Screenwriting: Years 11 and 12

with CRAIG BATTY

FRI 10 AUG, 9.00 am - 12.30 pm

This practical workshop introduces students to the art and craft of writing stories for the screen. Focussing on key areas such as character, structure and dialogue, it will guide students through the core aspects of building a screenplay - and will allow them to develop an idea for a short film. Creative writing exercises will be used to help students learn the craft of screenwriting, and clips will be used to illustrate key points. Students will complete the workshop with a better understanding of how successful screenplays are carefully - and painstakingly - crafted.

Bookings via REACH FNQ

WORKSHOP: Making Picture Books

FOR TEACHERS - Primary Years 2 - 6

with ALEESAH DARLISON

FRI 10 AUG, 9.30 am - 11.00 am

Making Picture books is fun! Here Aleesah provides an insight into how picture books are made. Students are led through exercises to create their own picture book, designing and illustrating the front cover, creating a blurb, and writing and illustrating a simple story.

Bookings via REACH FNQ

WORKSHOP: Write your own animal story

FOR TEACHERS - Primary Years 2 - 6

with ALEESAH DARLISON

FRI 10 AUG, 12.30 pm - 2.00 pm

Aleesah is famous for her many and varied animal stories: from non-fiction narratives, to picture books, short stories and novels. In this session, children give their imaginations a workout creating animal characters, names and a host of other features before writing a story featuring their new animal creation.

Bookings via REACH FNQ

LUNCHEON with Jane Caro on Unbreakable Women

TICKETS CLOSED - Enquiries: 0476 378 975

with JANE CARO

FRI 10 AUG, 12.00 pm - 2.00 pm

Jane Caro is a writer, speaker, social commentator and broadcaster. She is a feminist, an atheist and an advocate for public education. She has written co-authored and edited nine books, was an award-winning advertising copywriter and appears regularly on Australian television and radio.

Jane's appearance at this lunch is based on two of her books:
Destroying the Joint: Why women have to change the world (2013)
“Unbreakable” Women Share Stories of Resilience and Hope (2017)

One-to-One: Manuscript Assessment

with ALEESAH DARLISON

FRI 10 AUG, Meetings will be set between 3.30 am - 5.00 pm

Award-winning, internationally published author, Aleesah, has published over forty books, works as a writing mentor and tutor, and runs her own speakers agency for authors and illustrators. She has extensive experience in and knowledge of the Australian publishing industry.

Submit your manuscript to Aleesah to receive crucial feedback on plot, structure, character and setting. This feedback will help you lift your story to the next level and prepare it for submission to publishers.
Genres: adult, memoir, non-fiction, young adult, children’s and picture books.

- Manuscripts to be submitted by 5pm Thursday 9 August for pre-reading by Aleesah.
- A short, written report will be included as part of your assessment.

BOOK LAUNCHES

FRI 10 AUG, between 2.00 pm - 5.30 pm

2.00 pm
- HELENE YOUNG (Return to the Roseglen)
- BARBARA HANNAY (The Summer Secrets)

2.30 pm
- CELIA BERRELL (The Science Rhymes Book)

3.00 pm
- BARBARA MILLER (White Woman, Black Heart, Journey home to old Mapoon)

3.30 pm
- CAIRNS TROPICAL WRITERS FESTIVAL (Emerge: New Writers in the Region anthology)

4.00 pm
- FIONA BELL (Waterhole)

4.30 pm
- JANE CARO (Just Flesh and Blood)

5.00 pm
- JENUARRIE (Gift of Knowledge. The selected works of Jenuarrie. 'Koinjmal Woman'

The Festival Bookshop opens Friday from 1.30 pm and all day Saturday and Sunday from 8.00 am.

Refreshments served in the foyer after each launch.

FREE EVENT

Colin Roderick Memorial Lecture: Alexis Wright

with ALEXIS WRIGHT

FRI 10 AUG, 6.30 am - 8.30 pm

Alexis will be ‘in conversation’ about her writing life with Roger Osborne of JCU.

Alexis Wright, a Waanyi woman, was winner of the Miles Franklin and 6 other awards for her book Carpentaria in 2007, and won the 2018 Stella Award for her book Tracker.

FREE EVENT

OPENING CEREMONY

SAT 11 AUG, 9.00 am - 10.30 am

- Welcome to Country
- Tropical Writers Showcase
- Readings by local authors

MC: Kier Shorey

ENTRY with Weekend Pass

MASTERCLASS Writing Fiction: Playing in Limitless Space

SOLD OUT

with ASHLEY HAY

SAT 11 AUG, 9.00 am - 12.30 pm

Fiction offers enormous possibilities in form, content, language and style.

In this half-day masterclass, Ashley provides a range of clear tools and strategies to help you collect story ideas and to explore the possibilities of stories you already know, stories you’ve dreamed of, or stories you need to discover — and to keep your fiction moving once it’s underway.

MASTERCLASS: Fundamentals of Teaching Screenwriting to Students

FOR MEDIA TEACHERS

with CRAIG BATTY

SAT 11 AUG, 9.00 am - 12.30 pm

Enhance your knowledge of screenwriting to inspire your students to write powerful stories for the screen. In this workshop we will cover the fundamental aspects of screenwriting craft, and explore the ways in which they can be successfully taught. Content includes: story structure; character development; crafting genre; writing visually; and writing dialogue. We will also explore strategies for helping students to work collaboratively, including giving effective and detailed feedback.

Bookings via REACH FNQ

WORKSHOP: Digital Storytelling - Bringing Characters to Life

with DAVID REITER

SAT 11 AUG, 9.00 am - 10.30 am

Workshop with David Reiter on how to free your inner character to act as a channel, mediator, raconteur that has a virtual life of their own beyond your story in real life, even their own social media pages.

ADVENTURES IN READING: Storytelling activity

AGES 2 - 8 (accompanied by guardian)

with ALEESAH DARLISON

SAT 11 AUG, 9.00 am - 11.30 am

Rockhampton-based children’s picture book writer Aleesah Darlison and local picture book writers, including artist Arone Meeks, will entertain young readers with a storytelling and craft activity event. Children aged 2-8 are invited to attend, accompanied by a caregiver.

Come along at any time during the allocated session. Dress up as your favourite storybook character and enjoy listening to some wonderful tales and do some cool colouring in!

FREE EVENT

GRAVEYARD OF A MILLION DREAMS: Border Politics

FRI 10 AUG, 11.00 am - 11.45 am

Julian Burnside AO QC interviewed by Geordie Williamson (The Australian)

ENTRY with Weekend Pass

WORKSHOP: Non-Fiction Q&A

with MATTHEW KELLY

SAT 11 AUG, 11.00 am - 12.30 pm

Matthew Kelly is the non-fiction publisher for Hachette, a prominent and esteemed mainstream publisher in Australia. He focuses on good stories, well told, from colonial or contemporary Australia, ranging from military history to popular biography.

In this informal workshop, Matthew will call on his long experience in non-fiction publishing to answer questions and problem-solve queries as they arise about non-fiction writing and publishing.

Participants who enrol in this workshop are asked to send their questions in advance, so that Matthew can prepare customised answers that will be shared with the group. Matthew will facilitate conversation towards increasing knowledge and understanding of non-fiction as a genre of writing and publishing.

IS OUR DEMOCRACY WORKING?

with JULIAN BURNSIDE AO QC, RICHARD FIDLER and ANNA BROINOWSKI
Chair: MICHAEL CATHCART

SAT 11 AUG, 11.45 am - 12.30 pm

ENTRY with Weekend Pass

THE ART OF SHORT STORIES

with ROBERT DREWE

SAT 11 AUG, 1.30 pm - 2.15 pm

Robert Drewe interviewed by Roger Osborne (JCU)

ENTRY with Weekend Pass

FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS

with SASI VICTOIRE

SAT 11 AUG, 1.30 pm - 2.15 pm

Artist / Playwright Sasi Victoire talks with Suellen Maunder about the values of creative collaborations.

ENTRY with Weekend Pass

WORKSHOP: Introduction to writing for children

with ALEESAH DARLISON

SAT 11 AUG, 1.00 pm - 3.00 pm

Do you dream of becoming a published children’s author? Are you keen to write a picture book, or a novel for pre-teens or young adults? Do you need advice about the submission process, publishers, contracts and agents? Attend this workshop and have all your questions answered.

Join Aleesah Darlison – award-winning, multi-published children’s author – for an eye-opening and very practical introduction to writing for children. Aleesah has published forty books for children of all ages and has also had numerous short stories and articles published in magazines, newspapers and anthologies.

Aleesah will demystify the children’s publishing industry by explaining who the major players are, the formats and word lengths for various age groups and genres, how to structure submissions and who to send your work to.

PLACE, LOVE AND TRAVEL

SAT 11 AUG, 1.30 pm - 2.15 pm

Women's fiction writers Helene Young, Barbara Hannay and poet Sarah Holland-Batt discuss the big themes, includes readings and Q&A. Helene Young moderating.

Recommendation: Helene Young & Barbara Hannay book launches on Friday afternoon from 2pm.

ENTRY with Weekend Pass

OUR WRITING LIFE

SAT 11 AUG, 2.15 pm - 3.00 pm

Hannie Rayson and Michael Cathcart interviewed by Angela Murphy.

ENTRY with Weekend Pass

HIDDEN LIVES: War, Internment and Australia's Italians

with MIA SPIZZICA

SAT 11 AUG, 2.15 pm - 3.00 pm

Edited by Mia Spizzica. Intimate memories of Italian families on the homefront during the World War II in Australia.

ENTRY with Weekend Pass

THE DAINTREE BLOCKADE: The Battle for Australia's Tropical Rainforest

with BILL WILKIE

SAT 11 AUG, 2.15 pm - 3.00 pm

Bill Wilkie interviewed by Daniel Bateman (The Cairns Post)

ENTRY with Weekend Pass

KATTER AND HANSEN: Are they alike or polls apart?

with ANNA BROINOWSKI and ELLIOT HANNAY

SAT 11 AUG, 3.30 pm - 4.15 pm

Anna and Elliott reflect on their subjects.

ENTRY with Weekend Pass

A HUNDRED SMALL LESSONS

with ASHLEY HAY

SAT 11 AUG, 3.30 pm - 4.15 pm

Ashley Hay interviewed by Geordie Williamson.

ENTRY with Weekend Pass

WORKSHOP: Screenwriting Fundamentals

BEGINNERS TO INTERMEDIATE

with CRAIG BATTY

SAT 11 AUG, 3.30 pm - 5.30 pm

In this workshop, delegates will be introduced to some of the core aspects of screenwriting so that they leave with a good understanding of how screenplays work. A series of key craft areas will be discussed and illustrated with clips and example scripts, and delegates will have the chance to test out ideas through creative exercises. Aimed at beginners or those with a basic understanding of screenwriting, the workshop will focus on feature film stories - though the ideas presented can be adapted to short film, television and web series.

CREATIVE FUTURES? Tropical challenges and the sustainable development agenda

with STEWART LOCKIE

SAT 11 AUG, 3.30 pm - 4.15 pm

On 1 January 2016, the United Nations commenced implementation of its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, committing member states to the universal abolition of hunger, poverty, violence and exploitation. Not surprisingly, concerns have been raised about the adequacy of goals embedded in the Agenda to address known sustainability challenges. The focus of this presentation, however, is on unknown and/or embryonic sustainability issues. How in the tropics do we identify and evaluate issues not currently on the sustainable development agenda? Where are new opportunities to alleviate poverty likely to emerge? And what is the role of creativity in this process?

ENTRY with Weekend Pass

TRACKER

with ALEXIS WRIGHT

SAT 11 AUG, 4.15 pm - 5.00 pm

Stella Prize and Miles Franklin Award winner, Alexis Wright, interviewed by Sonja Anderson (CQU).

Tracker: Taken from his family as a child and brought up in a mission, Tracker Tilmouth returned home to transform the world of Aboriginal politics and worked tirelessly for Aboriginal self-determination until his death in 2015 . . . 'Tracker' by Alexis Wright is a remarkable collective memoir of this visionary leader - and winner of this year's The Stella Prize.

ENTRY with Weekend Pass

HISTORY OF GAY CAIRNS

with IAN BYFORD

SAT 11 AUG, 4.15 pm - 5.00 pm

Ian Byford interviewed by Ben Dawson (QLD AIDS Council).

ENTRY with Weekend Pass

BIODIVERSITY AND SUSTAINABILITY IN AUSTRALIA

with MICHAEL CATHCART & ASHLEY HAY

SAT 11 AUG, 4.15 pm - 5.00 pm

ENTRY with Weekend Pass

LITERARY DINNER

TICKETS CLOSED - Enquiries: 0476 378 975

with RICHARD FIDLER

SAT 11 AUG, 6.00 pm

Geordie Williamson of The Australian will turn the tables on Richard, putting his whole life in the spotlight. His own daily 'Conversations with Richard Fidler', is about other people's lives, is broadcast nationally on ABC Radio. It is the most popular podcast in Australia, with over three million downloads every month. Formerly a member of the comedy trio The Doug Anthony Allstars, Fidler is now an author of two award winning books.

Cocktails on the lawn from 6.00 pm.
Dinner starts in the Ballroom at 6.30 pm.

KEEPING IT REAL: Writing Non-Fiction

with RICHARD FIDLER & ASHLEY HAY
Chair: MATTHEW KELLY (Hachette)

SUN 12 AUG, 9.00 am - 9.45 am

ENTRY with Weekend Pass

WORKSHOP: Poetic Starters

with SARAH HOLLAND-BATT

SUN 12 AUG, 9.00 am - 10.30 am

Beginning and Endings: The Poetic Line

Workshop with Sarah Holland-Batt on the craft of poetry for new poets, on beginnings and endings, and the poetic line. The basic unit sense and breath. Learn techniques of emphasis and rhythm to maximise your poem's possibility for meaning.

MASTERCLASS: Making Documentaries that Matter

with ANNA BROINOWSKI

SUN 12 AUG, 9.00 am - 12.30 pm

This Masterclass includes a discussion about Anna’s work as a filmmaker, exploring how she chooses her non-fiction subjects, and the challenges, rewards
and dangers associated with the
documentary-maker’s life.

WORKSHOP: Marketing and Social Media

with ALEESAH DARLISON

SUN 12 AUG, 9.00 am - 10.30 am

If you’re looking for new ways to promote your book or your author brand, you simply must attend this informative and comprehensive workshop.
How do you get your book into bookstores? How do you create market awareness? And how do you get people buying your book? The publishing industry is highly competitive and is constantly evolving. If you want to stand out, if you want people to buy your books, they first have to know who you are.

Join Aleesah Darlison, internationally published author and ex-corporate marketer, to find out how to market your book both in the real world and online.

JUST FLESH AND BLOOD

with JANE CARO

SUN 12 AUG, 9.45 am - 10.30 am

Jane Caro talks about her Queen Elizabeth I trilogy for young adults.

ENTRY with Weekend Pass

BIGGEST BOOK CLUB

with SHARON MOLLOY, ELIZABETH SMYTH, MICHAEL CATHCART & ASHLEY HAY
Chair: ANGELA MURPHY
Introduction by KIER SHOREY

SUN 12 AUG, 11.00 am - 12.30 pm

HERE ARE THE THREE BOOKS SELECTED FOR DISCUSSION
1. The Shepherd’s Hut by Tim Winton
2. Force of Nature by Jane Harper
3. Less by Andrew Sean Greer, 2018 Pulitzer Prize winner

Playwright and presenter Angela Murphy will join together with locals, Elizabeth Smyth, writer and Adjunct Research Fellow at James Cook University, Cairns, and Sharon Molloy, long-term ABC Far North radio presenter and book lover.

This year’s guest panellists are both well-known personalities and authors in their own right.

Award-winning novelist, Ashley Hay is a writer of both fiction and non-fiction. Her works include The Railwayman’s Wife, A Hundred Small Lessons, and Gum: The Story of Eucalypts and Their Champions.

Michael Cathcart joined ABC Radio National in 2000 as a presenter of Arts Today, Bush Telegraph, Books & Arts, and now, The Stage Hub.

WRITING FOR YOUNG ADULTS

with JANE CARO, FIONA BELL & LYNDELL SELLARS

SUN 12 AUG, 11.00 am - 11.45 am

ENTRY with Weekend Pass

One-to-One: Manuscript Assessment

with ALEESAH DARLISON

SUN 12 AUG, Meetings will be set between 11.00 am - 1.00 pm

Award-winning, internationally published author, Aleesah, has published over forty books, works as a writing mentor and tutor, and runs her own speakers agency for authors and illustrators. She has extensive experience in and knowledge of the Australian publishing industry.

Submit your manuscript to Aleesah to receive crucial feedback on plot, structure, character and setting. This feedback will help you lift your story to the next level and prepare it for submission to publishers.
Genres: adult, memoir, non-fiction, young adult, children’s and picture books.

- Manuscripts to be submitted by 5pm Thursday 9 August for pre-reading by Aleesah.
- A short, written report will be included as part of your assessment.

ILLNESS, MEDICINE AND WRITING AND HOW THEY INTERACT

with STEPHEN TORRE & BHAMA DALY

SUN 12 AUG, 11.45 am - 12.30 pm

ENTRY with Weekend Pass

THE POWER OF LANGUAGE AND STORYTELLING

with MANAL YOUNUS

SUN 12 AUG, 11.45 am - 12.30 pm

Manal demonstrates, through poetry and a love for language, how far storytelling has taken humanity and how we as individuals can contribute to and recreate the stories of our world. Manal Younus, Australian-based freelance storyteller from Eritrea.

ENTRY with Weekend Pass

IN SEARCH OF THE SACRED

with NICOLAS ROTHWELL

SUN 12 AUG, 1.30 pm - 2.15 pm

Nicholas Rothwell interviewed by Geordie Williamson (The Australian)

ENTRY with Weekend Pass

MASTERCLASS: Writing for children

with ALEESAH DARLISON

SUN 12 AUG, 1.30 pm - 5.00 pm

Take your writing to the next level. Expand your industry knowledge and gain valuable insight into opportunities that will open new doors in your writing career.
Bring along a manuscript or two so you can workshop it and gain critical feedback from masterclass presenter, Aleesah Darlison. Dissect your characters, setting, plot and problem to see what’s working and what’s not. Are you hitting the mark for word count, genre and themes? Do you need a line edit or a more involved structural edit? Aleesah can help you determine what the next steps are in your writing process and how to take your story to the next level.

Additional topics include writing effective story synopses set out to industry standard, how to create publisher pitches and what to include in cover letters to publishers. Aleesah will discuss the current state of the market and advise attendees on who to pitch their manuscripts to and the various methods for doing so.

Suitable for established and emerging authors who’ve had some exposure to the industry, are already published or about to be published and who want to progress their industry knowledge and writing skills further.

MASTERCLASS: Advanced Screenwriting

with CRAIG BATTY

SUN 12 AUG, 1.30 pm - 5.00 pm

In this session, which is aimed at those with existing knowledge of screenwriting and/or a project in development, delegates will have the chance to deepen their craft skills and improve their ability to pitch a project. A series of advanced areas of technique - those that can be problematic for screenwriters, or that often trip people up - will be presented, and delegates will have the chance to explore them in detail through discussion and examples. Where possible, delegates will be encouraged to apply these ideas to projects in development, and share their findings with others in the group. The workshop will end with a focus on pitching, including the opportunity for delegates to test out their pitching skills to the group.

WORKSHOP: SlammED! Youth Writing and Performance

Open to all ages

with SIMON KINDT

SUN 12 AUG, 1.30 pm - 4.00 pm

Join poet and teacher Simon Kindt for a writing and performance workshop that will culminate in an opportunity for you to share your work on the mic in a poetry slam. Suitable for all skill levels, this workshop will introduce you to poetry slams, and will offer sure-fire techniques to help lift your writing.

SlammED! is Queensland’s largest youth poetry project and is presented in partnership between the Queensland Poetry Festival and the State Library of Queensland.

• 15-20 minutes of poetry (Simon’s presented live and a selection of work from Youtube channels accessible online for attendees to investigate further in their own time)
• 40 – 60 minutes of structured and guided writing prompts focusing on metaphor as the central concept
• 20 minutes to consider how they can adapt a piece that they’ve written for performance (an intro to performance)
• 20 minutes to share work and receive feedback in front of their audience.
----------
Workshop is followed by a 45 minute SLAM Performance from 4.15 pm

Bookings via REACH FNQ

NEW SHOOTS: A garden of poems

SUN 12 AUG, 1.30 pm - 3.30 pm

All are invited on a poetic tour of the Cairns Botanic Gardens to enjoy poetry readings by local and visiting poets, inspired by our tropical biodiversity.

New Shoots is a free tour of the Cairns Botanic Gardens to encounter poets with their own poems stimulated by the environment, followed by afternoon tea. The new poems follow a masterclass held in June with Sarah Holland-Batt, winner of the Prime Minister's Award for Poetry.

Part of the Cairns Tropical Writers Festival, the tour will be led by Friends of the Cairns Botanic Gardens.

Supported by Australian Poetry, Red Room Poetry and Cairns Regional Council.

FREE: includes afternoon tea
VENUE: Cairns Botanic Gardens

SALTWATER: An epic fight for justice in the tropics

with CATHY MCLENNAN

SUN 12 AUG, 1.30 pm - 2.15 pm

Cathy Mclennan interviewed by Daniel Bateman

ENTRY with Weekend Pass

THE BEACH: ITS ICONIC PLACE IN AUSTRALIAN STORIES

with ROBERT DREWE, LIZ ELLISON & NICK OSBALDISTON
Chair: BRENDAN MOUNTER

SUN 12 AUG, 3.30 pm - 4.30 pm

ENTRY with Weekend Pass

FINALE: POETRY

SUN 12 AUG, 3.30 pm - 4.30 pm

Dynamic spoken word and performance poetry from Simon Kindt, Helen Ramoutsaki and a brace of seasonal local poets to close the festival with a celebration of language.
Claine Keily, Brenton Clutterbuck, Susan Hawthorne, Midaviau...

- CASH BAR -

ENTRY with Weekend Pass