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Our top picks for the 2024 Newcastle Writers Fest

One of our favourite times of the year is almost upon us - the Newcastle Writers Festival is back again with another stellar line up of speakers and events.

If you’ve never been to a Writers Fest event before, you’re in for a real treat. We’re so lucky to have the opportunity to welcome such a wonderful group of writers into our city, and we can’t wait to head along.

In case you were having trouble deciding what to attend (understandably…there’s so much gold this year), we’ve rounded up some of our top picks for this year’s festival.

Welcome to Sex - Yumi Stynes and Melissa Kang in Conversation

Saturday April 6, 6.30pm - 7.30pm

Who remembers the media buzz surrounding this book? Welcome to Sex is your 'No-Silly-Questions Guide to Pleasure, Sexuality and Figuring it Out'. A moral panic ensued when it was first announced and, following complaints and backlash by conservative groups, the book was banned and removed from shelves in some places. So, if not with a fun, frank, and fearless book, how do we teach our teens about sex in an age-appropriate way? Yumi Stynes and Dr Melissa Kang will be in conversation with Maeve Marsden. As a big fan of Yumi Stynes’ podcast ‘Ladies We Need to Talk’, Sance is particularly excited about this one.

Crime Writer in Pink - Sally Hepworth In Conversation

Saturday April 6, 11.30am - 12.30pm

We’re pretty excited about this one as big fans of Sally’s work. Her novels are so easy to read, with super intriguing characters and lots of twists and turns, plus often set in familiar Australian locations. It’s no wonder she’s a New York Times bestselling author. In this session Sally will speak about her stellar career, from writing her first novel on maternity leave and gaining interest from Hollywood heavyweights, to recently publishing her ninth novel, Darling Girls . The session is also hosted by our own local author, Amy Lovat.

Dark Places - Chris Hammer and Louise Milligan

Saturday April 6, 1.30pm - 2.30pm

Kristy and Bec’s family are all huge fans of Chris Hammer’s work, so when we saw he was appearing at this year’s festival we were quick to jump on board to this session. After decades working as journalists, it might seem a natural progression for Chris Hammer and Louise Milligan to turn their attention to crime fiction. Chris covered international affairs and federal politics for more than 30 years, and Louise’s investigative journalism has most notably included high-profile child sexual abuse cases, such as the trial of Cardinal George Pell. They'll speak with Dan Cox about how their careers have influenced their fiction writing, and the dark places they draw from.

Family Fun - 'Eww Gross' with Dan Marshall

Sunday April 7, 10.50am - 11.30am

One to take the kiddos along to! Join local author and illustrator Dan Marshall as he takes you on a revolting ride through his new book, ‘Eww Gross’ , which contains the foulest facts and the most putrid pictures. The kids will love learning all sorts of gross facts which they will no doubt proceed to bring up at the dinner table for many weeks to come. Dan will invite the kids to illustrate some of their own disgusting facts in this fun, hands-on event.

Man Made - Tracey Spicer in Conversation

Sunday April 7, 1.30pm - 2.30pm

When her son said, ‘Mum, I want a robot slave’, Tracey Spicer had an epiphany, and set about exploring who should be held accountable as society grapples with the rise in AI. This exchange, and years of research, resulted in her most recent book, Man-Made. The Walkley Award-winning journalist exposes the intersection of tech and sexism, and discusses the future with Beejay Silcox.

The Love Language of Food - Reece Hignell, Linda Marigliano, Charlotte Ree, Yumi Stynes

Sunday April 7, 11.30am - 12.30pm

As a bunch of highly food-motivated people, this one immediately piqued our interest. Plus, how could we say no to our very own Cakeboi, Reece? After twice appearing on Masterchef and reaching the top five, Reece Hignell now runs the popular Newcastle bakery, Cakeboi. Linda Marigliano’s memoir Love Language covers family, music and pasta, to uncover her people-pleasing in relationships. In her cookbook-memoir Heartbake, Charlotte Ree writes about learning to cook, and in turn learning to love again. Join them in conversation with Yumi Stynes about the delicious marriage of food and love.

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