Scone Literary Long Week End
Featured Image: Acknowledge ‘Maintain the Page’; The Scone literary Long Week End inspires Passion for Books’ by Paula Stevenson; ‘The New England Magazine Spring 2015’
The luminaries are Dr Judy White AM PhD of ‘Belltrees’, Graham Simsion (Guest Author), ‘Soiree in the Garden’ plus inaugural President Anne Davies, Dr Patrice Newell PhD and Phillip Adams AC.
This is how it began; see title above. OK it mutated to the Scone Writers Festival. So be it. I have a few regrets; but not many.
It started with a chance meeting between local ABC Radio Journalist Mike Pritchard (1044 Muswellbrook) and myself in 2013. It mushroomed from there. We negotiated an MOU with ABC Rural Radio and Phillip Adams became our unofficial ‘Godfather’. In view of his convictions he might not appreciate the title? We purloined ‘Maintain the Page’ as our motto from him. I’m very good at ‘plunder, plagiarize and purloin where possible’. It fills a lot of gaps.
I wrote a vignette which I cheekily named ‘Writers from Scone’; and was moderately elastic with the truth; another one of my traits. I listed Havelock Ellis (true), Mark Twain, Patrick White, Phillip Adams, Dr Patrice Newell and Dr Judy White. Later I added Barbara Baynton (Gundy) and Donald Horne (Muswellbrook). I also stole Phillip’s unique treatise on books to richly embellish the script:
‘Books are increasingly the sleepers on the rusting railway line of your life, the pickets in the fence of your history, the bricks with which you’ve built your brain’
Thank you Phillip! You were the inspiration.
See: “The shelf life of beloved books” by: PHILLIP ADAMS From: The Australian February 04, 201212:00am
Our inaugural festival in 2014 was an outstanding success. ABC Award Winning Journalist Scott Bevan (‘The Hunter’) was the most diplomatic and charming guest of honour. He had a fascinating mild contretemps with Ron Morrison in the Moonan Pub! We couldn’t have had a better start! It’s flourished from there. Dr Judy White AM PhD delivered the inaugural plenary Patrick White Oration in 2015. We haven’t had another; yet! We came close with David Marr in 2018. We’ve also enjoyed and greatly benefitted from outstanding and munificent sponsorship led by Paradice Investments.
I’ll leave you to Pauline Stevenson’s excellent style in capturing the essential ambience and unique quality of our now totemic tribute to books and literature in a truly rural idyll.
Paula Stevenson: Scone Literary Festival Review 2017
My small country town, Scone, last weekend, welcomed a bevy of great writers and producers to celebrate the life of books and the love of literature. The Scone Literary Festival is in its infancy but growing so fast that this year we were bursting at the seams.
It is a unique festival, revealing all that is wonderful about living in a rural community that may be small, but fosters a wealth of artistic and creative talent. We were blessed to have local identity Philip Adams, who is not only a social commentator and broadcaster but also a farmer, to facilitate a number of panels with well-known writers such as Don Watson, Peter Fitzsimons and journalist Joanne McCarthy.
The panel discussions were held in the deconsecrated church that has become the Arts and Crafts Hall and in the adjoining room, there were tables groaning with books for sale from the local Hunt-a-book shop as well as displays of photos from the movie The Dressmaker.
Outside, the weather was perfect and visitors could sit under umbrellas and enjoy the fragrances wafting from the garden and it must be said, the occasional scent from the nearby stabled horses, which is only fitting for the Horse Capital of Australia.
The outdoor venue proved to be perfect for the soiree on Saturday evening with a talk by author Rosalie Ham and the producer of the movie, The Dressmaker, Sue Maslin. The blow up screen rose into life as the sun set and the audience was treated to a visual feast of stunning sets and costuming. And even if you had seen the movie before, as that gorgeous young man Liam Hemsworth met a tragic end, it was hard to hold back the tears!
After all that sentiment, some bleaker issues were under discussion on Sunday, with Joanne McCarthy in conversation with Philip Adams about the exposure of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, followed by a panel discussing the dark art of writing Domestic Drama. Lighter relief was provided by a panel of authors, Cathryn Hein, Kim Kelly and David Darcy, discussing rural fiction and the influence of rural life on their writing and creative endeavours.
The weekend concluded with a lazy Sunday Afternoon Book club under the spreading branches of an old tree in the garden and the discussion consolidated the belief that books are not a dying art, but alive and well.