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One year around the Mediterranean - an adventurer's tale

Adventurer Huw Kingston spent one year travelling around the Mediterranean in sea kayak, on foot, on bicycle and rowboat raising money for the Save the Children's Fund. huw kingston headshotThis human-powered circumnavigation of the Mediterranean Sea was a 14,000km journey taking in 17 countries. Beginning from and returning to Gallipoli in 2015, the journey was a commemoration of the Anzac Centenary.
At a time of immense and tragic upheaval in the Mediterranean, Huw's journey was touched by human kindness throughout. Aside from the vast personal, logistical and geopolitical challenges this expedition posed, Huw also sought to highlight the heart-wrenching plight of those innocent kids caught up in the conflict of warring ‘grown ups’. Hence his partnership with the charity, Save The Children Australia for whom he became their biggest ever individual fundraiser and now continues to work closely with the charity and was recently appointed a Community Ambassador. As part of his journey, Huw was also presented with the Australian Geographic Society’s Spirit of Adventure award.
Huw is an adventurer, entrepreneur, cafe owner, event director, environmentalist, marketing manager, cycling advocate, business consultant, fishing trawler deckhand, clothing sales rep, journalist and writer, economist, ski instructor, mountain guide, tour leader and grandfather. This leaves him never short of a story to tell. And he does so with passion and humour. Whether running a complex sports event, galvanising a community campaign or organising an out-there expedition, Huw has the ability to engage others with his dreams to make them possible.
Meet the man and hear his story at our 2nd annual Sunshine Coast International Readers and Writer's Festival on Saturday, August 12 from 10am to 11am in the Coolum Civic Centre. Tickets at https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/2017-sunshine-coast-international-readers-and-writers-festival-tickets-35328491469?utm_term=eventurl_text

2017 Festival's crowdfunding video is a beauty!

THE team from the 2nd annual Sunshine Coast International Readers and Writers Festival committee are very proud to release an amazing and beautiful promotional video for our August 12 and 13 festival at Coolum. The video was produced by the Sunshine Coast's own Michelle Smytheman and Ryan Early from Reflected Image PRoductions RIPR email sig with PRIA awards(http://www.reflectedimage.com.au) with the great support of festival artists singer-songwriter Barry Charles, YA author Casey Ardron, performance poet Gabriella Salmon and teenage author and entreprenuer Samara Welbourne with festival founder Wendy O'Hanlon providing the voiceover.The video features the gorgeous Sunshine Coast beaches and hinterland. The SCIRWF needs public funding and sponsorship to not only stage the two-day, one-night festival, but also to pay our artists decent fees for their performances. Our festival is all about building a platform for Sunshine Coast creatives and emerging artists to showcase their work, and connect and network with creatives from around Australia and the world. Our festival is teaming up with writers, songwriters, poets and performance poets to stage regular monthy events and masterclasses around the Sunshine Coast to help grow our creatives' careers. 

Please support our festival with a donation. Every donation over $2 is tax-deductable.  A BIG thank you from the SCIRWF team!

Here's the video: https://www.facebook.com/sunshinecoastwritersfestival/videos/734673436711533/


The Shop’s white round table is the place to meet and greet writers

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We love our festival’s cruisey style – definitely Sunshine Coast style! Since we launched the festival last year, our preferred place to interview creatives has been Coolum’s The Shop Robin Linda and Ken 2Convenience Store’s white round table – and it has become quite famous in creative circles.

We have met the most amazing writers at the white round table and over a latte, cappuccino or perhaps a chai latte and a yummy slice of date cake we are taken on their writing journeys. Meeting at the white round table is a great way to demonstrate to our new festival guest writers just how we roll at the Sunshine Coast International Readers and Writers Festival. It’s all about getting up close and personal with everyone involved.

At our festival, readers can sit down and have a chat with our presenters, get their books signed and chat some more. Writers like nothing better than meeting their readers and meeting interesting characters – after all that is the fodder that inspires characters in books and storylines – songs and poems and plays as well. At the white round table, we have met fiction authors, non-fiction authors, children's writers, YA writers, illustrators, poets, slam poets, playwrights and passionate environmentalists.

paula turu with book and doll2 aAnd The Shop’s Gaye Williams and David Pocock are so supportive of our festival. They even donate the funds raised from their second-hand book trolley’s winter sales to gaye and me and dollars2 aour festival – the summer sales’ funds go towards Starry Nights’ Free Flicks in the Park family movie nights in Tickle Park. So come on down to Coolum and enjoy a coffee at The Shop’s white round table. You never know who you will meet! Cheers, wendyoh. 

A chance not to be missed!!

You don't often get the chance to get so many professional workshops and events at this price. The festival is only 6 weeks away. The tickets are only a small investment in your writing future. Only $80 for a one day pass or $140 for two days to go to as many events and workshops as you want. Make sure you book now so you don't miss out.

Here is another one of the amazing line-up of presenters:

Saturday 12th: 3.15pm to 4pm: Top Tips on Self-Publishing - Brisbane-based publisher and author Ann Wilson: In this workshop, you will learn Ann's top tips on what to do and what not to do when you are self-publishing your book. These will include: * Choosing your preferred publishing method; * How to determine your strengths and weaknesses; * What to look out for when choosing who to work with; * Working with an editor; questions to ask, what is their role?; * Working with a cover designer, is a great cover  really that important?; * Typesetting explained; * A quick run-down on common terms. Ann is the owner of Post Pre-press and the founder of Independent Ink. She specialises in helping authors produce beautiful professional books either through traditional publishers or self-publishing. She has worked in publishing for more than a decade and is passionate about helping people achieve their dream of becoming a publishged author and sharing their story. Last year, Ann stood on the other side of the desk and wrote her first book. In this workshop you will learn Ann's top tips on what to do and what not to do when self-publishing your book. This session is chaired by writer, journalist and university lecturer Sarah Pye.

Early Planning

On February 23, this year, 2016, under a full moon and with the sounds of the surf rolling on to the sands of our beautiful Coolum Beach, a "baby" was born and delivered to the "village". The inaugural 2016 Sunshine Coast International Readers and Writers Festival held its foundation meeting. Inspired by the hugely successful Ubud Writers and Readers Festival in Bali (our official mentors), our inaugural September festival will become an iconic festival in the Sunshine Coast landscape – and Australia and internationally.

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Highlights: 2017 Sunshine Coast International Readers and Writers Festival

MORE than 100 international, national and regional creatives will star at Coolum on August 12 and 13 for the 2nd annual Sunshine Coast International Readers and Writers Festival. Every event in all five festival venues is a highlight during the two-day, one-night festival, but here are some not-to-be-missed sessions.

  • Our festival’s international focus this year is on Papua New Guinean writers and we are proud to present the very first anthology of PNG women’s writers – “My Walk to Equality” published by Pukpuk rashmii bell headshot cropPublications and edited  by Rashmii Amoah Bell. The compilation of the book was a voluntary collaboration between Phil Fitzpatrick (Pukpuk Publications), Keith Jackson (PNG Attitude website) and writing by 44 PNG women writers. The book was launched in Port Moresby on International Women's Day this year. Rashmii will be joined on the panel by Phil Fitzpatrick and number of the PNG writers who contributed to this evocative anthology. Also on the panel is much-travelled PNG journalist Daniel Kumbon who is launching his latest work “I Can See My Country Clearly Now” this month. The book is “a traveler’s tribute to his own country”. Daniel was born in Enga Province, university educated and is now back working among his own people. Plus Brisbane’s Walkley award-winning- journalist Sean Dorney (“The Embarrassed Colonialist”) talks about his many decades reporting in PNG for the ABC. Saturday, August 12, Coolum Civic Centre, 11.15am to 12.15pm.


  •  The Sunshine Coast’s first-ever official Sunshine Coast Slam Poetry Championships. In a major coup for our festival, the Queensland Poetry Festival chose our event (from three other vying Zohab Khanevents) to host one of the 10-heats in this State-wide championship. In association with QPF, Australian Poetry Slam and the national Word Travels, the championships feature 2014 Australian Slam Poetry champion Zohab Zee Khan and award-winning SC slam poet Gabriella Salmon plus outstanding original singer-songwriters Barry Charles, Jay Bishoff, Andrea Kirwan, Sharon Brooks and hip-hop band extraordinaire The Lyrical. Saturday, August 12, Coolum Civic Centre, 6pm to 11pm. (Licensed event). Two workshops are being held prior to the championships: Friday, July 28 from 6pm at The Shared, Yandina and Saturday, August 12, 1pm to 3pm at Marquee 2, Jack Morgan Park on the afternoon prior to the championships. To register email: enjoy@sunshinecoastreadersandwritersfestival.co 
  • One  year around the Mediterranean by sea kayak, on foot, ocean rowboat and bike. Victoria’s Huw Kingston talks about his 13,000km circumnavigation of the Mediterranean starting in Gallipoli on the huw kingston headshotANZAC Centenary and raising a record-breaking amount of money for the Save the Children’s Fund - specifically for the children affected by the desperate crisis in Syria. Huw is an environmentalist, speaker and writer who has dedicated his life to adventure and giving back. Huw continues to work for the Save The Children Fund as an ambassador. He received the Spirit of Adventure Award from the Australian Geographic Society for his amazing efforts. Saturday, August 12, 10am to 11am, Coolum Civic Centre. 


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  • We have some simply awesome internationally-published children’s and YA authors including Paula Tura from Brazil, Melbourne’s Alison Reynolds and Meredith Costain, Queensland’s Adele Jones, Ann Wilson, Karen Tyrrell, Pamela Rushby, Victoria Carless, Michelle Worthington and Shannon Horsfall, New Zealand’s Dean O’Brien (Mr Yipadee), New South Wales’ Dee White, Western Australia’s Dianne Wolfer and Dimity Powell, the Sunshine Coast’s Elaine Ouston, Casey Ardron, Samara Welbourne, Chris Collins, Karen Clarke and Gayle Torrens. These authors will be presenting, hosting workshops and launching their latest books.  Saturday and Sunday, August 12 and 13.  
  • Our Australian love affair with the beach will be discussed on the "Surf's Up" panel featuring Dr Liz Ellison (CQU) who has completed a PhD on Australian beach culture, Phil Jarrett the award-winning surfing author, former "Tracks" dr liz ellisonmagazine editor and co-founder of the Noosa Festival of Surfing, author Ian Ingram (“Capital Surfers”) and surfboard-shaper and author Tom Wegener. Phil has recently released his latest book "The Life of Brine", a memoir about his extraordinary life which includes the recent launch of the documentary "Men of Foam & Wood" on Foxtel's History Channel. Dr Liz Ellison is a Lecturer in Creative Industries at CQUniversity, based at the Noosa campus. Liz researches Australian beaches, beach culture, and how beaches are represented in our national literature and films. She is interested in the ways beaches play a part in Australian identity. Ian Ingram's "Capital Surfers - surfing Australia's East Coast in the Sixties" is a 180-page book featuring 380 photos (all but five taken by Ian himself) and four original articles Ian wrote for Surfing World and Surf International magazine in 1967 and 1968. In 2013, Tom took a break from making surfboards to attend the University of the Sunshine Coast and write a PhD on the sustainability of the surfboard industry. He found that the amazing resiliency of the surfboard industry has come from its unique culture which has been passed down from generation to generation - and traveled to Papua New Guinea and worked with wooden surfboars makers there. Tom has turned his PhD thesis into a book, “Surfboard Artisans For the Love”. Since finishing his thesis, Tom has returned to making surfboards.  Saturday, August 12, 2pm to 3pm, Coolum Civic Centre
  • sharon pincott headshotOur passionate care for the environment and conservation is highlighted with a panel discussion featuring Sharon Pincott and Marie-Louise Serjeant.  Sharon (“Elephant Dawn”) spent 13 years monitoring and safeguarding the 500-plus elephants who bear the title of President of Zimbabwe. Sharon's 13 years in Africa were fraught with real danger, but her love of "her" wild elephant family saw this brave and passionate woman stand her ground and get on with the enormous tasks at hand - including dealing with the everyday dangers of paching, corruption and violence. Marie-Louise is the event co-ordinator for National Day of Action for Dingoes, runs the Connect 2 Wildlife 4 Environment Facebook page and host’s Eumundi’s Global March for elephants and rhinos. One of Marie-Louise's highlights during her decades of conservation work was a private meeting with Dr Jane Goodall. She will talk about her conservation work in Australia and the real hardships that dingoes face. Sunday, August 13, 3.15pm to 4.15pm, Coolum Civic Centre.

 * Sunday, August 13 is Children’s Day with storytelling and craft activities in Jack Morgan Park. Award-winning teenage author and entrepreneur Samara Welbourne will be hosting two “How to build Fairy Houses and Troll Cave” workshops during the day. These workshops have a fee of $25 which covers all materials to take home a masterpiece. The workshops are a fundraiser for Samara’s project of building a library in a remote village samara welbourne smallin Eastern Bali. Samara has teamed up with Balinese teenager Tyas Latra from Karangasem in East Bali with the aim of raising $20,000 so that their dream of building a library in the extremely poor area of Bungaya Village can become a reality. The young women became friends while Samara lived in Bali with her mother, Cherrell Picton, who was working as an Australian Volunteer International (AVI) volunteer at PUSPADI Bali. Tyas is the daughter of PUSPADI Bali’s Director, I Nengah Latra. The library is being built on land owned by Latra. The girls’ vision to build a library was ignited when they heard the Indonesian Government mandate that every child must read for 15 minutes a day in order to improve the national literacy rates.

  • And so much more: Workshops, presentations, Artisan Market Stalls, food and coffee stalls, environmental information stalls, buskers, poets…  Such a spirited atmosphere throughout the weekend.

SCIRWF's USC bursary winners present at Ubud Writers & Readers Festival

2016 SCIRWF bursary students from USC presenting at the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival in Bali, October 2016

THE inaugural Sunshine Coast International Readers and Writers Festival's first bursary winners presented at the prestigious Ubud Writers & Readers Festival in October in Bali. It was a huge honour for University of the Sunshine Coast creative writing students Kate Eagle, Jade Dor, Kiarna Triggs and Linda More (pictured with mentor Eileen Walder) to present on an international stage. Their theme, Tat Tvam Asi (I am you, you are me) was the theme of the 2016 UWRF. The theme is an ancient Hindu tenet which expresses the relationship betwen the individual and the supreme reality. There was much applause at the Cafe Luna Bar venue and great support from the crowd. The bursary students went on to attend the full Ubud festival program and enjoyed tours around the island. The bursary covered airfares, accommodation and festival 4-day tickets.

What a Journey

What a journey! (I hate that word, thanks reality TV.) Really, we have met so many creatives who will be involved in our inaugural Sunshine Coast International Readers and Writers Festival Inc this September (9 to 11) at Coolum Beach. This festival is all about inspiring, mentoring and networking our SC creatives with national and international writers and performers. It is also about “opening our minds”.  Here is a taste: Gubbi Gubbi language workshops, comic book/graphic designer workshops, bringing poetry into song workshops, eco-workshops about plastics on the beach, surfboard-shaping workshops, singer-songwriters, book publishers, how-to-write-a-book workshops, slam poets and musos extraordinaire, the story of our country from our Gubbi Gubbi People … and fireworks, did I mention fireworks! And comedy….and, and, and.

In The Media

Our inaugural festival garnered great support from the media, guest artists and websites. Below is a selection of just some of the publicity for our exciting new event:














































 Early interviews with some of the best media people on the Sunshine Coast. So here is a print interview and a radio interview. We have evolved so much since then (February/March). Everyone is excited to be on board.