Glen Innes to hold first ever literary festival

Journalist Michael Burge with Virginia Eddy at Waterloo station, which will be the site of a writer's retreat in October.
Journalist Michael Burge with Virginia Eddy at Waterloo station, which will be the site of a writer's retreat in October.

Glen Innes' first literary award could lead to a renaissance of publishing in the New England, according to a local journalist and small business owner.

Journalist Michael Burge, co-owner of Glen Innes business the Maker's Shed, hopes the first ever High Country Indie Book Award could lead to bigger and better things.

"I would love it if down the track that we are able to assist in the publication of a complete piece of work that's been written in this region and publish it to the world from here," he said.

"It could be branded as a product of the New England every bit as much as the wool and the grain and the beef that come from here."

It wouldn't be the first time a New England writer made the grade, with Patrick White, Peter Allen and Margaret Fulton just a few from the area.

The Maker's Shed has teamed up with corporate advisor and aspiring author Virginia Eddy to throw the very first High Country Writer's Festival.

Bestselling Australian author Mary Moody will launch her new book the Accidental Tour Guide' during the festival, set to take place from November 30 to December 1 later this year.

Visiting and New England-based authors, illustrators, photographers and musicians will join panel discussions, workshops in a variety of storytelling disciplines, and talks about their work at events throughout the month-long festival program.

It's also set to begin in an intensive writer's retreat at Waterloo station, about halfway between Glen Innes and Inverell, scheduled for October 25 to 27.

Mr Burge says the historic property is a bucolic setting designed to get the creative juices flowing.

"It' an opportunity to get away to reignite that, because as soon as you step outside your life, the potential for you to take up a creative baton of your own is quite high.

"So we want to appeal to people who don't see themselves as career writers yet but have a project that they want advice on, they want a sounding board for."

He said it's paradoxically harder than ever to be published by a big publisher, but easier than ever to publish yourself.

"I guess we've never lived in a time when you could live in this region and still be a published writer even if you can't get a publishing deal."

On November 16 the existing High Country Book Club will adjudicate the High Country Indie Book Award, open to self-published authors from around the world.

Glen Innes Severn Council Mayor Carol Sparks has subsidised a prize, which will be topped up by the Maker's Shed.