Wendy O'Hanlon and Eileen Walder with committee members and volunteers of the Sunshine Coast International Readers and Writers Festival show off their festival's funky surfboard signs in preparation for the festival.
Wendy O'Hanlon and Eileen Walder with committee members and volunteers of the Sunshine Coast International Readers and Writers Festival show off their festival's funky surfboard signs in preparation for the festival. Patrick Woods

Creatives unite for new festival

COOLUM will become the focal point for creative types when the inaugural Sunshine Coast International Readers and Writers Festival comes to town.

Brightly-painted surfboards will adorn the seven venues that are part of the three-day festival, which kicks off on September 9.

Festival founder and director Wendy O'Hanlon said more than 100 international, national and regional writers and creatives would share their knowledge and stories with festival-goers.

Huge names in the literary world, such as founder and director of the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival Janet DeNeefe, Jordan-born slam poet Tah Riq Amawi, Maltese poet Antoine Cassar, Indonesian novelist Ahmad Fuadi, and internationally-acclaimed Aboriginal novelist, poet and oral historian Herb Wharton, have thrown their support behind the event.

Ms O'Hanlon said the festival would support regional creatives to expand their networks and also provide a welcome injection into the economy, with Coolum accommodation houses, cafe and restaurant owners embracing the new event.

"The mentoring and networking among the regional authors and publishers has already begun and when they can extend that out to the international guests, it is an amazing opportunity for everyone and that is what it's all about," she said.

This innovative new festival also features original singer-songwriters and music, children's picture writers, illustrators and publishers sharing their craft in presentations, panel discussions and workshops.

The over-arching theme of the event is to highlight our rich Aboriginal heritage, celebrate the surfing culture and increase awareness of safeguarding our natural environment.

To find out more or buy tickets, visit sunshinecoastreadersandwritersfestival.com.


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