A SPECIAL writers festival for students has pulled some big-name authors to Tamworth in the hope of inspiring a new generation of creative minds.
The inaugural Come Spin a Yarn Writers Festival brought together 600 students from across regional NSW with the aim of sparking alove of literacy in young people.
It also embraced a range of genres, including songwriting, poetry, novels, comedy and cartooning.
An initiative of the Priority Schools Program through the NSW Government’s Department of Education and Communities, the festival is aimed at country and disadvantaged schools.
Yesterday’s workshops were for primary students, and today the focus is on middle school students.
Priority Schools Program consultant Nina Russell said organisers wanted to create an opportunity for country kids to meet and interact with some of the country’s leading writers, with more than 25 schools signing up.
“We wanted to give country kids access to authors and professionals that the city kids get access to so readily,” she said.
“We have really had an amazing response and more students than we were really able to deal with.”
Ms Russell said she hoped to see the event happen annually.
“This is our way of engaging the kids and sparking an interest in
literacy and getting them to recognise their imagination and bring out that creativity that’s rife in children’s minds.
“Some of these authors have more than halved their daily fees and costs. The interest we had ... was just amazing.”
Both mornings kicked off with a musical performance by legendary Australian folk band and Tamworth festival favourites The Bushwackers.
Workshop topics included, Writing the Perfect Comedy, Getting a Head with Tales, and The Essence of Good Writing.
Authors who attended on both days were John Heffernan, Wendy Orr, Kate McLennan, Marco Gliori, Dave Hackett, Michael Wagner and, of course, The Bushwackers.