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Word for Word National Non-Fiction Festival 2015

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by Tamara Spargo (subscribe)
I'm a Melbourne girl, born and bred, and new resident of Geelong. Fantabulous adventures await as I explore my gorgeous new city and the stunning Surf Coast. But don’t worry—I’ll be crossing the bridge regularly to get my Melbourne fix.
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Reading, writing, literature, big ideas and tough questions
The power of the written word is immeasurable, and when the words are documenting one's life and experiences, dreams and turmoils, opinions and passions, that power is even stronger. The Word for Word National Non-Fiction Festival is the nation's largest event of its type, and is being held in Geelong from 11-13 September 2015. After the success of the inaugural event in 2014, the festival is back for 2015, and promises to have something for anyone who has a love for non-fiction literature, reading, writing and the exploration of ideas, issues and tough topics.

Word for Word
Held at the Deakin University Waterfront campus, the festival has a three-day program with workshops, keynote speakers and guests, panel discussions and relaxed 'In Conversation' sessions. A broad range of topics will be discussed, presented and debated, from some of Australia's top non-fiction authors, journalists, academics, social commentators and television presenters. The festival is an exciting addition to the burgeoning calendar of events in the Geelong region, and is presented by Deakin University in partnership with the City of Greater Geelong and the Geelong Regional Library Corporation. The stunning waterfront location of Deakin University is the perfect setting to stimulate some healthy debate and encourage the creative juices to flow.

Word for Word
The stunning Deakin University Waterfront Campus. (Image fro

The festival will be opened with a keynote address from Professor Tim Flannery on the Thursday evening (10 September), who will discuss climate change and his latest book, 'Atmosphere of Hope'. You'll be able to meet and listen to this acclaimed author and scientist, and his address will be sure to spark the festival off with a dose of truth, hope, and perhaps some tough realisations about the current state of this precious planet of ours.

Word for Word
Professor Tim Flannery will open the festival with his keynote address. (Image courtesy Word for Word Festival).

Friday's events include four separate workshops aimed at those wanting to improve their non-fiction writing skills, run by experts in their fields. Professional writer Robert Gott will take you through the often difficult and somewhat confronting task of writing honestly and expressing your own point of view and best-selling non-fiction author Greg Pyers will explore the basics of non-fiction writing. Learn some of the strategies and techniques in researching and writing a biography with Robert Hillman, and Suzanne Burdon will work through how to combine both fact and fiction. Workshops are held at either the Belmont Library or the Waurn Ponds Library, and places are limited—book now on the festival website.

The myriad of presentations, discussions and 'In Conversation' sessions held over Saturday and Sunday cover such an expansive range of topics and issues — some light-hearted and some not so much — that there is surely something close to everyone's heart, soul or mind. There are sessions on sports writing, chances to meet publishing industry experts, and discussions on the challenges of writing about one's life experience. Sessions on grief and grieving in the public domain, sexuality and relationships, the ethics of writing about true crime and the considerations associated with documenting the treatment of the elderly and dying are just some of the tougher topics that feature on the festival's program.

Word for Word
Maggie MacKellar will present in the session 'Response to Loss: On Grief and Grieving'. (Image courtesy of Word for Word Festival)
Word for Word
Ramona Koval will be part of the panel discussion 'The Real Me: Exploring self through memoir'. (Image courtesy Word for Word Festival.)

For a bit of light relief, television personalities Nicky Buckley and Adam Ford and writer Patti Miller will talk with Margaret Linley about writing a memoir—principally what to tell and what not to tell. A panel of medical experts will be debunking medical myths that lie within the overwhelming plethora of medical information that is available to us these days, and Mal Leyland, Robert Gott and Lorna Hendry will all share their remarkable stories about travelling and exploring this wondrous country of ours.

Word for Word
Nicky Buckley presents on the challenges of writing one's memoir (Image courtesty of Word for Word Festival.)

The perfect accompaniment to engaging conversations, riveting discussions and some tough debate is of course food and wine, and Word for Word's BackStory Salon Event on Saturday evening affords the chance to do just that. Held in the stunning Waterfront Kitchen at Deakin University's Waterfront campus, tickets are $45 per person, and include fine wine and fabulous finger food from the talented folk at Truffleduck Catering, and the opportunity to chat and socialise with the wonderful Word for Word Festival presenters and writers.

Word for Word
Television personality Adam Ford is just one of the many engaging speakers and presenters at this year's Word for Word Festival. (Image courtesy Word for Word Festival).

The world of non-fiction writing has the ability to engage us, inspire us, and resonate with us. It can be powerful and empowering, emotional and practical, heart-warming and heart-wrenching. Whether you're a lover of reading and writing, an impassioned supporter of creative arts and literature, or simply want the chance to see, listen and interact with a group of lively and engaging speakers and presenters, be sure to head on down to Geelong for the Word for Word Festival. The festival website has all the details, a full program of events, and online ticket sales.

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Why? To be inspired, engaged and entertained by some of the nation's top non-fiction writers, authors and publishing experts in the gorgeous waterfront city of Geelong.
When: Friday 11th September - Sunday 13th September, with the opening night address on Thursday 10th September
Phone: (03) 5227 3093
Where: Deaking University Waterfront Campus
Cost: General Sessions $20 per person; Workshops $50 per person; Opening Night Address $20 per person; BackStory Salon Event $45 per person.
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