FIND YOUR NICHE: USQ Bookcase allows would-be writers to explore different genres and areas of interest with experienced authors.
FIND YOUR NICHE: USQ Bookcase allows would-be writers to explore different genres and areas of interest with experienced authors. Davd Martinelli

Open a new page of life at Bookcase Writers' Fest

HAVE you had a story burning away in the back of your mind and finally have the time to get it down on paper?

Perhaps you have the idea but aren't sure just what to do with it or how to start writing.

Toowoomba's third annual writers' festival, USQ Bookcase on July 22-23, is the place to discover everything from how to start writing, to how to pitch your book, market and promote yourself as an author.

USQ Alumni Relations events co-ordinator Kim Wildman said there was a huge interest in the festival from the older demographic.

"A lot of people don't start writing till later in life," Ms Wildman said.

"For many, they finally have the ability to sit down and put their ideas together.

"The festival provides the perfect opportunity to learn about particular genres or areas of interest."

And it costs almost nothing to attend - just $5 on the Saturday to attend as many workshops as you can fit in. Eight workshops are offered as well as panel discussions on the main stage, author book signings and Q&As. Subjects range from writing historical fiction to fantasy, magazine writing to the perfect book pitch, marketing, promotions and beyond.

"It's not about making money for us, but promoting our writers and where studying for a degree at USQ can take you," Ms Wildman said.

For that reason most of the guest speakers are USQ alumni. Award-winning director and playwright David Burton is keynote speaker on Saturday, while fellow-headliner Billy Law, better known for his time on MasterChef and now boasting his own food and travel blog A Table for Two and two cookbooks, will be guest speaker at the opening cocktail night on Friday, as well as taking part in one of Saturday's panels.

Friday is also a chance for those who want to "delve into a particular genre" to enjoy in-depth full-day Master Classes with David Burton, children's author Narelle Oliver, crime writer Lea Scott or story-mapper Linda Fairburn.

Master Classes are $65 for alumni and $75 for the general community. Bookings close July 15. Saturday festival passes are available online or on the day.

The festival regularly attracts crowds of about 400, but hopes are high that with a new format and top talent again at hand, this year's festival will be more popular than ever.

To find out more, go to www.usq.edu.au/usqbookcase.


Meghan, Harry ‘struggling to cope’ in LA

Meghan, Harry ‘struggling to cope’ in LA

Dream of a blissful new life has quickly turned into a nightmare

Fresh confusion over virus 'detention'

Fresh confusion over virus 'detention'

Thousands of Melbourne public housing residents have been provided with "detention...

Man in iconic 9/11 photo dies from virus

Man in iconic 9/11 photo dies from virus

This man miraculously survived the 9/11 terror attacks