Saturday, April 2, 2016


Opening Night of Newcastle Writers Festival is always a great evening out. You can feel the excitement and buzz of everyone ready to take on the next two days. It is a feeling of anticipation and wonder.

This year Opening Night was held for the first time at The Civic Theatre and what a splendid venue it is for such an important evening.

James Valentine hosted the evening again and gave a great speech about reading and how wonderful it is to be a reader in this golden age of books. So true, for years people have been asking me about the future of books like they are dodo birds. I have never bought the theory that the book is dead, not because of fear but because I never actually saw it. I know personally my own to read list grows exponentially each year so things are indeed quite peachy!

Rosemarie Milsom, without whom there would be no festival, gave her best ever speech. She spoke with passion about the festival's fourth year, those that tirelessly assist her and seeing her own family grow with the festival and it was a thing of beauty. Words make a book, and books make a festival, so Rosemarie's words made it all so personal and touching, that you just knew the following days would be spectacular.

The entertainment for the evening was John Doyle and Tim Flannery, riffing off each other in a way true long time mates can. Doyle was a laconic and dry as ever, and Flannery earnest and full to the brim of geeky and important information about this land of ours, the creatures on it, and what we are doing to it. The talk was funny, informational, intelligent, and political. Everything you want from an evening such as this. I personally could have listened to them chat all night.

Then night ended and I drove home full of excitement and wonder, thinking about the next two very full days that lay ahead!

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