Aspiring writers of all ages were out en masse on the weekend, soaking up the words and wisdom at Toowoomba’s first-ever writers’ festival hosted by the University of Southern Queensland.
USQ Bookcase Organiser, USQ Alumni & Advancement Manager, Tiffany Hardy said she was overwhelmed by the response from the community. “When we first came up with the idea for this event, I said I would have been happy to have 100 participants take part. But to have some 400 people come to the university and leave inspired by what they’d seen and heard has been phenomenal,” she said. “Our alumni writers who ran the free workshops and panels and hosted stalls have been extremely generous, with many travelling from Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and even Sydney to take part in the festival. I am immensely grateful to them, the participants and my brilliant team of staff and volunteers for making this year the huge success that it has been.”
The day’s highlights included workshops, forums and readings, with many sessions filled to capacity. The most popular being the workshop on Digital Publishing with standing room only available. More than 20 writers took part in the festival including USQ alumna best-selling fantasy author Kylie Chan, crime writing novelist Lea Scott, artist and author Lyne Marshall and well-known food and travel writer Christine Salins.
The inaugural event was widely praised as it offered authors, writers and attendees opportunities to meet up, network, debate literary ideas and buy books. “Congratulations to the organisers of USQ Bookcase. I only attended specific workshops relevant to my area of interest, but was delighted at the variety of workshops on offer and all FREE. Thank you for supporting budding writers in this way,” Michelle Herbert said via Facebook. Terese Eglington added “Thanks for a great day. It was a worthwhile and informative event with interesting guest speakers. [It was] the kind of event that makes you realise you’re not in the soup of uncertainty alone.”