Clare Bowditch is one of 25 authors taking part in this weekend's NWF Stories To You online event
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WRITE ON: Newcastle Writers Festival heads online for free weekend program

The COVID-19 pandemic may have put the kibosh on this year’s Newcastle Writers Festival but as Plato once said: “necessity is the mother of invention.”

To that end, 25 authors who were due to appear at the festival this weekend will feature in a new online program – NWF Stories To You – and best of all it’s all completely free!

The program includes 17 sessions that will be delivered via Facebook and YouTube with the likes of Clare Bowditch, Behrouz Boochani, David Leser, Favel Parrett and Charlotte Wood participating across the weekend.

Festival director Rosemarie Milsom said that while cancelling the festival three weeks out from kick-off was a huge blow, she was determined not to let this year’s carefully curated program “go to waste.”

“We were the first large Australian writers’ festival to cancel,” Rosemarie said.

“It was devastating on so many fronts and in particular for the writers who were due to participate. This worsened as a cascade of cancelled festivals and events followed.

“I’d spent months creating the program and I didn’t want it to go to waste so I decided to focus on doing what I could to support writers and also provide content for our loyal, house-bound audience.”

Rosemarie said that while committed to offering the online program for free, donations to the festival are welcome.

“NWF: Stories to You is free and many of the participants have donated their time although they have been offered payment,” she said.

“We have been so grateful for the offers of support from many in our community to donate their ticket refunds. We welcome donations, no matter how small, as we do our best to plan for 2021.”

NWF Stories To You will run from Saturday 4 to Sunday 5 April. Head here to download the program and viewing times.

Tax-deductible donations to the festival can be made here.