Inaugural festival of words a crowd-pleaser

It was the happiest of community loops –  readers bought books from writers, who signed and chatted with their readers.

The inaugural Bowra Regional Writers’ Expo on Sunday has been a pronounced a huge success by the many who attended, as well as penpusher-in-chief and creative coordinator, Marion Syratt.

“It was amazing, it was big, it was awesome, it was noise,” Marion laughed.

“The most incredible moment for me was when Uncle Martin and Rhonda (Hoban) did their stuff – I was standing behind them and I could see the hall was full and everyone was listening.

“I really felt a surge of ‘wow, we’ve done it!’ – all those people had come to our expo.”

She said the day itself for her was a blur.

“I was run off my feet but I saw the workshops were busy and people were enjoying the variety of talent we had gathered together, there were smiles all around and a lot of good networking.

“I’ve had messages of thanks on Facebook and people would not do that unless their interest has been sparked.”

Writer and fellow-organiser Tamara McWilliam said she thought the day went fantastically well.

“For the first time, it was great – and it was great for the community,” Tamara said.

“As a writer, I’d do it again in a heartbeat. And as an organiser, we saw some things that worked well plus we got fresh ideas.”

Marion said the event had been a big learning curve and at this stage, everyone was keen to make it happen again next year.

Some of the highlights included a workshop with Annie Seaton,  "Tips & Tricks to Getting Published", Fiona McArthur with "Magic 500 Words a Day" and Nambucca Valley Toastmasters, "Be confident with Public Speaking". Muurrbay Language Centre presented an Introduction to Gumbayngirr Language Intro and Noelene Allen offered wisdom on "Researching People from the Past".

During all of these sessions the authors not presenting were at their tables, signing and selling their books and chatting with readers.  

There was an outdoor poetry reading at the rear of the Pioneer Community Centre plus a finale panel discussion on the subject, "Publishing, So you have written a book! Now what?". Greg Barron was the chair with Ralph Allan, Tamara McWilliam,  Annie Seaton and Fiona McArthur.