2014 Southern Highlands Writers' Festival - It's a Wrap!

Thank you to all those who attended this year's SHWF and for making it such a success. Please click on the Gallery tab to view photos that capture the essence of the festival.

Latest News

Jul 17, 2014

It's a wrap for 2014!

Last weekend saw over 1000 festival-goers attend sellout author in-conversations, workshops, free sessions and a superb literary dinner, all part of the 2014 Southern Highlands Writers’ Festival.

Our new festival home at the Bradman Museum proved to be the perfect location, with festival-goers able to enjoy the Museum’s galleries and refreshments in between sessions. The “Bradman Punch” was a big hit on Opening Night, and the scones served for morning tea were not only the largest scones ever seen in the Highlands, they also proved to be the yummiest!

Festival highlights included the lovely Ann Eyers' (pictured below) winning performance at Fest Factor; Bob Carr’s impersonation of Gough Whitlam and Stefano Manfredi’s unforgettable dessert at the Literary Dinner!

Festivals of this size are not only the result of hundreds and hundreds of hours of work, but also due to the generosity of our wonderful sponsors and volunteers… I could not produce an event of this quality without you! Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart and I hope to see you back in 2015.

Speaking of 2015, put 10-12 July into your diary for the 2015 SHWF!

Please keep referring to this website over the coming month for more details and in the meantime, happy reading and writing!

Jul 7, 2014

Welcome to Festival Week


After 12 months in the planning, we are delighted to be welcoming you all to the 2014 SHWF, kicking off this Friday 11 July at the Bradman Museum!

Tickets for number of the sessions have sold out in advance, but if you are desperate to hear, Mike Carlton, Bob Carr, Hugh Mackay and Nikki Gemmell then check at our Festival Information Desk (in the lobby of the Bradman Museum) on both Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 July in case there are a few returned tickets avaiable... you may be lucky!

You will be please to know that the team at the Bradman Museum will be opening a Festival Café in the Main Gallery of the venue dhring the Festival. They'll have tea, coffee and mouth-watering cakes for morning and afternoon tea available along with hearty winter lunch items like soups, pastas and wraps to enjoy... 

Looking forward to seeing you all there!

Jul 4, 2014

One week to go and counting...



This time next week it will be the opening event for the 2014 SHWF and we can’t wait! We’re SO ready!

Over the past couple of years, we’ve had a large number of people approach us asking whether we could offer some events on how to get published. I am really excited to say that this year we will be offering both practical workshops AND an educational session on this very topic.

We also felt it was important to offer a range of different perspectives, so in the session aptly entitled, How to Get Published, we’ll hear from author Laura Greaves who had just published her first ebook; Valerie Khoo who is the founder of the Australian Writers’ Centre and Carol George (pictured), Commissioning Editor at Penguin Books.  Between them, these ladies know a thing or two about publishing and it promises to be an interesting and highly informative discussion.

Tickets are $20 and selling fast. Click here to secure your ticket now…

How To Get Published
The Threatrette, Bradman Museum
Sunday 13th July 2014
11.30am – 12.30pm

Jul 1, 2014

Festival Fever Hits Town!

With less than TWO weeks until the 2014 SHWF, Festival Fever has now definitely hit Bowral!

After many discussions with the local Council over the past two years, it was with enormous pride that, for the very first time, I watched the festival banner being erected over Bong Bong St over the weekend. Yes, we have finally made it! And now there really is no excuse for not knowing the 2014 SHWF is happening this month!

The Bookshop Bowral is also getting into the spirit, turning their entire front window over to the Festival with an awesome display of the books and photos of many of our featured authors.

I'm also delighted to announce that several of our sessions, and the 2014 Literary Dinner, have now sold out. However, there are still tickets to a number of sensational sessions still available, including a discussion with one of Australia’s most celebrated poets Chris Wallace-Crabbe AM. He will be in conversation with poet Mark Tredennick. And don’t forget the wonderful workshops on offer, not to mention the FREE sessions that are open to everyone to enjoy. Check out our program (above) and we'll look forward to seeing you there!

Jun 27, 2014

Fest Factor 2014 - a talent quest with a literary twist...








To kick off frivolities for this year's festival, the SHWF will be hosting a fun opening night event on Friday, July 11, called Fest Factor, that celebrates the myriad of talented locals we have right here in our region. 

Fest Factor is a unique talent quest with a literary twist...  It brings together a creative tribe of talented individuals from around our region to perform their unique works in front of an audience. It also offers contestants the opportunity to compete for the chance to win some remarkable prizes, including the first prize of a week-long writing retreat at The Rift, Bowral, valued at $5000!

It promises to be a riotous evening of fun and entertainment! Highlands resident and singer-songer writer Lindsay Drummond (pictured) will be just one of the acts performing.

This year’s theme is - BLOOD! All contestants must represent this word or topic in their presentation in some way - and the more creative the better. Audience members are also encouraged to dress in the theme, and prizes will be awarded for “Best Dressed” on the night.

To register as a contestant (entry for contestants is free), please contact:

Kylie Matthews – Festival Associate Director


Tickets are $20. To secure your spot at the SHWF Fest Factor 2014, buy your ticket in advance right here, over the counter at The Bookshop Bowral.

Jun 23, 2014

A Legendary Poet Double Act


As many of you already know, Chris Wallace-Crabbe AM, one of Australia’s most celebrated poets will be “in conversation” at the 2014 SHWF. We are beyond excited to now  announce that poet Mark Tredinnick, will be interviewing Chris for this session.

Don’t miss what will be an extraordinary event - the coming together of two remarkably creative minds!

Tickets are selling fast, so we urge you to secure your seats today. Click here to purchase tickets... 

Chris Wallace-Crabbe – 80 Years Young!
The Theatrette, Bradman Museum
Saturday 12th,  July 2014
02:00pm – 03:00pm

Jun 20, 2014

ABC TV’s Peter Lloyd to interview Bob Carr


We are delighted to announce that ABC TV’s Peter Lloyd has agreed to interview Bob Carr as part of the 2014 SHWF.

We are thrilled to have such a distinguished journalist join the line-up, and are expecting a fantastic conversation as a result!

Tickets to Bob Carr’s session are nearly sold out, so I urge you to buy your tickets today to secure your seat

Diary of A Foreign Minister - Bob Carr
The Theatrette, Bradman Museum
Saturday 12th July 2014. 
3:15pm – 04:15pm

Jun 13, 2014

Cricket Expert Joins Our Line Up!


As we count down the final four weeks to the 2014 SHWF, I am delighted to announce that renowned cricket journalist, commentator and author Mike Coward has signed on to moderated the session Hitting A Literary Six!

Mike is recognised as an international authority on cricket and its history and writes regularly on the game in major publications, including The Australian.

Hitting A Literary Six
The Theatrette, Bradman Museum
Sunday 13th July 2014
10:00am – 11:00am

Tickets are $20 and available at The Bookshop Bowral on Bong Bong St, Bowral - or right here.

Jun 6, 2014

Literary Dinner Almost Sold Out!!


There’s now only a month to go until the 2014 SHWF! As of right now we only have 25 tickets left for the Literary Dinner, which will take place on Saturday 12th July at Biota Dining in Bowral. A number of you have mentioned recently that you are still wanting to book tickets, so I urge you to do so ASAP as we are sure to sell out!

Don’t miss what will be one of the highlights of the 2014 Highlands’ social calendar, featuring one of the leading exponents of modern Italian cuisine in Australia, Stefano Manfredi. Our featured guests for the evening will be The Chaser’s Dom Knight and well known sport’s journalist and author Jesse Fink.

Tickets are $150 (including wine) and available at The Bookshop Bowral on Bong Bong St or click right here to book them online.

Be quick!

May 30, 2014

SWF in the Highlands a sell-out success!

Last Sunday we staged two ‘satellite’ events for the Sydney Writers’ Festival (SWF) at the Bradman Museum in Bowral. And what a sensationally stimulating afternoon it was! The theatrette was packed to the rafters with people there to hear the Australian literary legend, David Malouf, in conversation with former Olympian and now prolific author, Lisa Forrest.

Following this, raconteur author and Francophile, John Baxter, had us all in peels of laughter, as he recounted many hilarious anecdotes from his life.

Invited to present this event by Jemma Birrell, the Creative Director of the Sydney Writers’ Festival, was an enormous coup for the Southern Highlands and a great indication of the success to come for the SHWF in July!

Tickets are selling fast for our July festival so to avoid disappointment, please get in and book your seats ASAP.

Apr 30, 2014

David Malouf to feature at SWF in the Highlands

As you all know, we were delighted to be asked by Jemma Birrell, the Creative Director of the Sydney Writers’ Festival (SWF) to stage two ‘satellite’ events for the SWF here in Bowral, which will take place on Sunday 25 May at the Bradman Museum.
Yesterday, one of the two confirmed speakers, Terry Hayes, author of I Am Pilgrim, decided that he would take up an offer of a USA book tour, and is therefore no longer available to carry out his commitment to our event. 
While this was initially a disappointment to us, given the very late notice, I’m so very excited to announce that internationally renowned Australian author, DAVID MALOUF will replace Terry as our very special guest on Sunday 25 May at Bradman Museum.
This is an enormous coup for the Southern Highlands! David Malouf is considered to be one of this country’s most significant writers whose work has been internationally recognised and critically acclaimed. Since publication of his first collection of poetry in 1962, he has published novels, short stories, poetry, opera libretti, a play and a volume of autobiography. His novels include Johnno, Remembering Babylon (shortlisted for the 1993 Booker Prize), An Imaginary Life and Harland’s Half Acre. David will be in conversation about his latest work, A First Place; a collection of personal essays and writing to celebrate his 80th birthday. 
For those of you who have already purchased tickets online to see Terry Hayes (via the website) we will be emailing you this week to ask if you would like a refund on your Terry Hayes ticket OR if you would like to swap it to come along and see David Malouf.
If you purchased a ticket from The Bookshop Bowral, I would be so grateful if you could pop back to the shop and talk to Maree and her team about a refund on your Terry Hayes ticket OR a direct swap for a ticket to see David Malouf.
We hear through the literary grapevine that David will be reducing his touring in the future, so this event will be, without doubt, a wonderful and rare opportunity to meet and listen to this true Australian literary icon speak about his life and work. Tickets are limited to 100 maximum, so I urge you to book ASAP.
I look forward to seeing you all in just a few short weeks to the Sydney Writers’ Festival in the Highlands!
Warm regards,
Michaela Bolzan
SHWF Director


Apr 4, 2014

Sydney Writers Festival in Bowral - May 25

Last night Michaela and I attended the launch party of the 2014 Sydney Writers' Festival (SWF) in Walsh Bay. It was a terrific night with hundreds of journalists, publishing folk and friends converging on Pier 2/3 at Walsh Bay in anticipation of the unveiling of their 2014 program.

As SWF Artistic Director Jemma Birrell rolled off the names of high profile writers from around the globe who will feature in the Festival program this year, there were gasps and whoops of surprise and joy from the crowd. Alice Walker, Eleanor Catton, Irvine Welsh, Amy Tan, Tim Finn, Dav Pilkey, Emma Donoghue ... and many, many more extraordinary names! It's going to be an amazing Festival! You can now peruse the SWF program and buy tickets on their website. Or wait until this Saturday and get your program lift-out from the Sydney Morning Herald.

We're thrilled to announce that the SHWF is also a part of this year's Sydney Writers' Festival program! We are hosting two sessions on Sunday, May 25 at the Bradman Museum in Bowral. They will feature Burradoo resident Terry Hayes whose debut novel, I am Pilgrim has become an international sensation. Now published in 21 countries, this expansive and intelligent spy-thriller is continuing to climb bestseller lists all around the world. Terry is also an iconic screenwriter and producer, having penned the scripts of some of Australia's greatest films and mini-series, such as Mad Max, Dead Calm, Bangkok Hilton, Bodyline and The Dismissal. He'll be in conversation with ABC Illawarra's Nick Rheinberger. You can book your tickets right here or purchase them over the counter at The Bookshop Bowral, 309 Bong Bong St, Bowral.

We are also delighted to welcome Frankophile ex-pat John Baxter back to the Southern Highlands. Paris has been both home and inspiration to John for the past 25 years. He has written endless books on Paris as well as biographies of Federico Fellini, Louis Bunuel, Steven Spielberg, Woody Allen, Stanley Kubrick, George Lucas and Robert de Niro and three autobiographical works. He is also the co-director of the annual Paris Writers Workshop, a non-profit association offering educational courses and cultural activities to serve the Anglophone community in Paris. He has a strong and proud connection to the Southern Highlands, which he reveals in his latest book, Paris at the End of the World. You can book your tickets right here or purchase them over the counter at The Bookshop Bowral, 309 Bong Bong St, Bowral. 

It's going to be an exciting ride over the next few months! Be sure to check out our program for the Southern Highlands Writers' Festival in July, which has just been released! We'll be bringing you some of this country's best writers and personalities to the Southern Highlands. 
See you there!

Mar 17, 2014

SHWF 2014 dates announced

We are delighted to announce our third Southern Highlands Writers’ Festival and to introduce you to our new festival “home”, Bowral’s iconic Bradman Museum.
Sir Donald Bradman, known as “the boy from Bowral”, was both the greatest ever cricketer and an inspirational visionary. Our festival-goers can now not only witness some of Australia’s finest writers in conversation, they also have the opportunity to learn more about this great Australian’s courage, honour, integrity, humility and determination while wandering the Museum’s collections.
This year we’ve got not one major event, but two to whet your literary appetite. We are thrilled to be hosting two Sydney Writers’ Festival satellite events this year in Bowral, featuring two remarkable individuals. Terry Hayes is a famous scriptwriter (Mad MaxDead CalmThe Dismissal) turned novelist. His debut, an intelligent and gripping spy-thriller titled I am Pilgrim, has sold over 20,000 copies in Australia alone and is climbing international bestseller chats the world over. John Baxter is an Australian author who lives in France. His many books have been inspired by this remarkable city and he’s sure to delight audiences with his stories on the art, history, culture, literature and cuisine of Paris. 
For the Southern Highlands Writers’ Festival in July, what a line-up we have for you in 2014! Nikki Gemmell, Hugh Mackay, Mike Carlton, Bob Carr and plenty more, all visiting the Highlands to participate in what will be a wonderful weekend of creativity, books and discussion.
Winter in the Southern Highlands is a truly special time, so put on a woolly sweater, grab your reading glasses and join hundreds of book lovers on a literary pilgrimage to our picturesque town of Bowral. Surrounded by beautiful countryside, Bowral is located only 90 minutes drive from both Sydney and Canberra.
Last year’s Literary Dinner was a complete sellout, and this year you’re in for a real treat! The multi award-winning chef Stefano Manfredi will be joining the team at Bowral’s very own two-hatted restaurant Biota Dining for an Italian Fiesta! 
Stefano will be cooking from his latest cookbook – Italian Food – and our tables are limited to 100 seats. So we urge you to book early, or you’ll miss out on what will be a truly delectable and entertaining evening.
Tickets to the Sydney Writers Festival umbrella event, Southern Highlands Writers’ Festival, the Literary Dinner and Fest Factor will be available from April 4 online right here or from The Bookshop Bowral – 309 Bong Bong St, Bowral.
We look forward to seeing you all at the festival!
Warmest wishes,
Michaela Bolzan
Festival Director

Jul 14, 2013

That's a wrap for 2013!

Thank you to all participants, volunteers and festival-goers for making it such a big success. See you next year.

Jul 9, 2013

ABC Illawarra to Broadcast from the SHWF!





We are thrilled to announce that Festival media partner ABC Illawarra will be conducting an outside broadcast from the Southern Highlands Writers' Festival at the Gibraltar Hotel in Bowral this Friday, 14th July!
Tune in from 8.30am to listen to this special broadcast of the Morning program, which will showcase a number of writers from the Festival, and take a special look at children's creativity and stories. There will be music, lots of yarns and a warm welcome to some Southern Highlands personalities.
ALL are WELCOME to come to the Gibraltar Hotel between 8.30am and 11am on Friday morning to meet Nick Rheinberger and the ABC Illawarra Morning team during the broadcast. See you all there!

Jul 2, 2013

Welcome to our Festival volunteers


On Sunday afternoon, as the clouds parted and the sun (finally) peeked through, the SHWF team at Festival HQ in Bowral were hosting a soiree to welcome our 2013 Festival Volunteers! A sincere and heartfelt thank you to each and every person in our WONDERFUL team of generous vollies.

Jun 24, 2013

New Festival HQ


Ta-da! The Southern Highlands Writers' Festival has opened up a surprise pop-up shop in the main street of Bowral!

Festival HQ is located at Shop 2/328 Bong Bong Street, Bowral - next door to the Bowral Cafe and directly across the road from the Empire Cinemas. 

Professionally designed and constructed, the shop is a warm and friendly space where you can peruse the bios and books of featured writers and performers at this year's Festival and also buy your Festival tickets. 

We're open Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 11am-3pm from now until the Festival, so come on in for a chat with Festival Director Michaela Bolzan and the Festival team! We'd love to meet you...

Jun 16, 2013

Poet Mark Tredinnick and dog Honey featured on WLT magazine cover!


Award-winning poet Mark Tredinnick is featured on the front cover of the latest issue of World Literature Today magazine!

You can join Festival Director Michaela Bolzan and Mark Tredinnick for an up close and personal soiree to open the 2013 SHWF. Mark will be in conversation about his life, work and creative process. Friday, July 12 @ 8pm, Gibraltar Hotel, Bowral. Tickets $20

I wonder... will Honey be joining us too, Mark??

Jun 15, 2013

Author Jesse Blackadder Wins Prestigious Literary Award

We're thrilled to announce that SHWF 2013 featured author Jesse Blackadder has won the prestigious international 2013 Benjamin Franklin Award Gold Medal for Best Historical Novel for her book The Raven's Heart!
Heartfelt congratulations to you, Jesse! We can't wait to celebrate with you in Bowral in just a few weeks. 
Come and meet Jesse in her SHWF session on Sunday, July 14 at 10am.
Throughout history, Antarctica has captivated and inspired writers with its incredible landscapes, climate and isolation. Jenny Strachan will be in conversation with Jesse Blackadder and Alasdair McGregor about their wonderful Antarctica-inspired books in the sesson titled That Sweep of Savage Splendour
This session is kindly supported by Paula and Rob McLean.

Jun 14, 2013

Highlife magazine double page feature in the June-July issue!


We LOVE Highlife magazine!! Grab a copy of the June/July issue to see our wonderful double page spread on all things SHWF. Checked out pages 128-129 in the magazine - or take a sneak peak right here.

Jun 4, 2013

Five BIG reasons why you should come to the SHWF Literary Dinner


Here are five BIG reasons why you should come to the SHWF Literary Dinner, July 13, Berkelouw Book Barn, Berrima.

  1. Tickets are selling like SARDINIAN HOTCAKES so if you don't book your place at the table ASAP, you will most definitely miss out!
  2. Two-hatted celebrity chef GIOVANNI PILU from Pilu at Freshwater will be in the kitchen and will be presenting a delectable three course Sardinian feast.
  3. LISA FORREST, former Olympic swimmer now super successful author, will be there to entertain and delight the audience with stories from her fascinating career/s.
  4. Berkelouw Book Barn in Berrima is a Southern Highlands landmark with a wonderful bookish ambience - the ideal location for a literary dinner.
  5. Last but certainly not least, radio star and author RICHARD GLOVER will be entertaining the audience with stories as only he can.

We don't want you to miss out - so please book your tickets as soon as possible and we'll see you there!

May 27, 2013

Sydney Writers' Festival


Michaela and Kylie at the 2013 SWF

The SHWF team were in Sydney yesterday enjoying the final day of this year's Sydney Writers' Festival. We had such an inspiring day surrounded by so many like-minded people passionate about books, writing, reading and creativity. We hope you managed to get there, too. If not, we'll see you at the SHWF in July instead! 

May 22, 2013

Michaela Bolzan at the SHWF ticket 'BOX Office'


Michaela Bolzan with the ticket Box Office

Michaela Bolzan and the SHWF Team are busy preparing the Festival's ticket distribution today... so if you've already bought your tickets you can expect them in your letter box VERY soon.

Have you bought your tickets yet?

May 17, 2013

FREE session for parents about the I Can Read System at our Kids' Day

The SHWF team are passionate about children's literacy. Which is why this year we're so thrilled to be able to offer a FREE session for parents about the I Can Read System at our Kids' Day on Friday, July 12 (11.30am). EVERYONE is welcome!! Find out more about this exciting literacy program here.

May 15, 2013

Hello Wollongong!

The Illawarra Mercury newspaper interviewed Festival Director Michaela Bolzan for an article that appeared in the book section of their Weekender magazine on Saturday, 11 May. Check it out here! (Via Illawarra Mercury).

May 10, 2013

2013 SHWF program launch party a spectacular event!

The official 2013 SHWF program launch party on Wednesday night proved to be a spectacular event! The champagne flowed, the Gallery room at the Gibraltar Hotel in Bowral was packed to its high ceilings with guests and a huge buzz of anticipation filled the room... 

We'd promised our invitees that a former Australian Prime Minister would be officially launching the festival. Well, both Gough and PK were unavailable to attend, so we were delighted to welcome the Honourable Mr Kevin Rudd in their stead (who we must say shares a striking resemblance to comedian Anthony Ackroyd!).

It was a wonderful night and, with the Festival program now revealed and tickets on sale, Festival Director Michaela Bolzan says it's now over to you to get on board and support your local festival. "Buy a ticket and tell your family, friends, book club and colleagues to come along because without everyone's support, we won't be able to sustain the financial costs of staging such a big event in subsequent years," she says.

Check out some photos from the event in the Gallery section of our website or on Facebook.

May 8, 2013

Anne Summers will be appearing at the Festival!

In 2012, Anne Summers gave two landmark speeches about women in Australia, attracting more than 120,000 visits to her website. Within weeks of their delivery Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s own speech about misogyny and sexism in Parliament went viral and was celebrated around the world. In her new book, The Misogyny Factor, Anne dismisses the idea that we should celebrate the progress for women as opposed to outright success and shows us what success will look like. Buy tickets here.

May 3, 2013

Behind the Festival Lines: an interview with Michaela Bolzan was published today in Verity La

An interview with Michaela was published today in the esteemed online literary journal Verity La.

May 1, 2013

Official welcome to SHWF 2013

Following the success of the inaugural Southern Highlands Writers’ Festival last year, we are delighted to be offering an even bigger and better event this year. Some of Australia’s finest writers of books poetry, TV and plays will be gathering in Bowral for this exciting three day event.

Winter in the Southern Highlands is a truly special time, so put on a wooly sweater, grab your reading glasses and join hundreds of book lovers on a literary pilgrimage to the picturesque town of Bowral! Surrounded by beautiful countryside, Bowral is located only 90 minutes drive from both Sydney and Canberra.

The Festival will be held at the stunning Gibraltar Hotel & Spa, who are offering special accommodation packages to festival-goers. Tickets to the Festival, Literary Dinner and Fest Factor are selling fast, so click here to secure your seat today.

We look forward to welcoming you at the festival soon!

Michaela Bolzan
Festival Director