Writers' festival a new chapter for Tasmania

LOCATING a writers' festival in Tasmania has been a boon for the Beaconsfield Festival of Golden Words, organisers say.

The full festival program was released to a packed audience at Fuller's Bookshop in Launceston last night.

Additions to the already stellar line-up include human rights advocate and barrister Julian Burnside, AO, QC, multi award-winning author Alex Miller, author and former Big Brother host Gretel Killeen and Bay of Fires author Poppy Gee.

Best-selling author and fifth- generation Tasmanian Rachael Treasure opened the evening.

She said the allure of the state had compelled many of the authors to immediately agree to attend.

"It is one of the best festival line-ups I've seen," Treasure said.

Festival convenor Stephen Dando-Collins said organisers had a "terrific strike rate".

"For a first-time festival in the Tamar Valley, in Tasmania, it's been astonishing," he said.

"To have so many writers of such quality in one place in Tasmania is a rare and exciting event indeed, and to be able to be entertained by them in large measure for free is an opportunity for Tasmanians not to be missed."

More than 80 authors, illustrators, publishers and critics are involved in the festival running from March 14 to 16.

Writers' workshops, a schools day and a series of ticketed events, including literary lunches and Tamar Valley wine and food, are on offer.

For the full program of free and ticketed events visit festivalofgoldenwords.com.au.

The program includes:

•What Makes Women Glad, Sad and Mad: Katherine Scholes, Nikki Gemmell, Wendy Harmer and Fiona O'Loughlin, chaired by Irina Dunn, March 15, Marquee One, 11am.

•From Anzac to Afghanistan, the Cost of War: Sally Dingo, Stephen Dando-Collins, Professor Henry Reynolds and Professor Peter Stanley, chaired by Russell Eldridge, March 16, Marquee One, 11am.

•Maggie Beer in Conversation with Mike Bennie, $69, including a food plate and glass of wine, March 15, Tamar Ridge, 11am to 12.30pm. Bookings required.

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