Gardening Australia presenter Mary Moody to feature at Glen writer's festival

Mary Moody: "I never imagined in my wildest dreams I'd end up being a tour guide in the Himalayas."

Mary Moody: "I never imagined in my wildest dreams I'd end up being a tour guide in the Himalayas."

An award winning author will cap off Glen Innes' first ever writer's festival at the end of November with a memoir writing workshop.

Gardener, journalist and memoirist Mary Moody has just this year published her fifth memoir the Accidental Tour Guide.

The former NSW presenter of Gardening Australia, who published her first bestselling memoir in 2001, will cap off the High Country Writer's Festival the weekend on Saturday November 30.

"I never imagined in my wildest dreams I'd end up being a tour guide in the Himalayas - but I have done 27 years of taking people trekking in India and western China and in Bhutan and Morocco and Mongolia - all over the place," she said.

"Those are stories which are full of adventure and joy and excitement I suppose, interwoven with the very sad story of the loss of especially my long term partner of 43 years."

Organiser Michael Burge, co owner of the Glen Innes Maker's Shed said he hopes the festival could lead to a could lead to a renaissance of publishing in the New England, part of a resurgence of regional Australian voices in written literature.

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When he asked Mary Moody, who is herself a regional Australia, living in the Blue Mountains on farms and small properties for decades, she was keen to get involved.

"So when he told me that he wanted to get a festival up and running I thought it was a great opportunity for me to come and share some of my knowledge as a memoir writer," she said.

"but also just to meet the locals and talk about what is a very common experience amongst anybody in a long term relationship and that is love and loss and grief

"Any festivals, cultural festivals, that are held outside of the main cities - I just think they're a fantastic idea for local community to be able to go and talk to writers or artists.

"People don't realise it but Australians, Australian women in particular, are the largest readers of books per capita of anywhere in the world."

She will spend the entire day helping people come to grips with their projects, either their own stories or their family story.

"Sometimes people want to write a memoir of their grandparents, or their (relatives) who were early settlers or they might want to write their own personal story," she said.

Organiser Michael Burge said to look out for another highlight of the writer's festival - a workshop by Glen Innes born children's author Emma Mactaggart.

The Toowoomba based author has written Australia's best guide on writing children's picture books, Child Writes.

Her free workshop will be at the Glen Innes library on Tuesday November 26.

Mary Moody was the former NSW presenter of gardening Australia. She left the city to evade poisonous chemicals and became an accidental gardener in the process.

Mary Moody was the former NSW presenter of gardening Australia. She left the city to evade poisonous chemicals and became an accidental gardener in the process.

The former gardening Australia presenter also gave some advice to the region's green thumbs, currently facing level four restrictions in Glen Innes and higher elsewhere in the region.

First, forget about your lawn, she said. Gardeners can toughen up their plants by slowly reducing the amount they water them, encouraging them to push their roots into the soil further.

Flower choice can be important, with roses and ornamental grasses and native plants a sensible option.

Give up the English style garden, she advised.

Finally mulching makes a big difference.

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