Festival to strike gold

THE talk of Australian literature, a shelf of the year's most read books and a reel of internationally renowned historians, biographers and foodies.

The founders of the Beaconsfield Festival of Golden Words claim their event will be the biggest in Tasmania's literary history.

And mercurial convenor Stephen Dando-Collins still has a few surprises up his sleeve.

The Tasmanian-born historical author said his committee was finalising the program of workshops, panels, readings and signings that will feature more than 70 authors and literature personalities.

The festival's October launch revealed the bulk of the line-up, including 2013 superstars Hannah Kent, Graeme Simison, Romy Ash and Carrie Tiffany, while tantalising with the promise of writing masterclasses and competitions.

Mr Dando-Collins said the final list of events would be released next month, but was cagey over the addition of new names.

"Let's just say we've got a few surprises to spring," he said.

Last week the festival's coffers were swelled by a $10,000 New Ideas grant from the state government, which will be used to spread the word to the mainland and beyond.

Mr Dando-Collins said the Festival of Golden Words could instate Beaconsfield as the literary capital of the state.

He also predicted the event would have a similar effect on the Tamar Valley as the Byron Bay Writers Festival did on the New South Wales north coast.

"This event will be an absolute game-changer for Beaconsfield," Mr Dando-Collins said.

"When Byron Bay started in 1997, it was a similar size to our community.

"Their festival now sells 45,000 tickets a year, and it is because of that event that the place has grown to what it is.

"In five to 10 years we will be in a very different Beaconsfield, one that has its heart and soul in literature."

Festival secretary Garry Bailey said the event had far outgrown the original plan of 30 writers.

Mr Bailey agreed that this was a sign of things to come

"We read on phones and tablets these days, but we still need people to put the words down," he said.

"It's part of being human - picking up something and reading."

The Beaconsfield Festival of Golden Words will run from March 14 and 16.

The festival's website can be viewed at www.festivalof goldenwords.com.au

Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide