Festival celebrates power of words

ERUPTIONS of laughter and applause bounced between marquees at Beaconsfield's Festival of Golden Words yesterday.

It was standing-room only as more than 400 people packed into the temporary venues to listen to some of the country's leading writers.

As discussions such as the idea of a modern-day social media-based version of  Pride and Prejudice  kept audiences intrigued with inspiration, writers and personalities Katherine Scholes, Nikki Gemmell, Wendy Harmer, Fiona O'Loughlin and Irina Dunn were stirring up hilarity.

The panel, titled ``What Makes Women Glad, Sad and Mad'', saw audiences crowding outside the entrance of the festival's packed Australia Post Connect Marquee.

Festival organiser and author Stephen Dando-Collins said his expectations had been surpassed.

``The story that I've been telling everybody is that at 8.30am there was one person here in the 200-seat marquee,'' Dando-Collins said, speaking above another roar of laughter.

``The only people that were arriving were those that thought they could vote here.''

Adelaide author Hannah Kent said the festival had brought her to Tasmania for the first time.

``I had a session at 9am about my book  Burial Rites , it was released last year but I'm still lucky enough to be travelling with it,'' Kent said.

``I'll come back if they'll have me.''

Festival secretary Garry Bailey said a debrief would be held next week to decide the future of the event.

Bailey said a large amount of volunteers and support from West Tamar Council meant there had been few hitches for the event.

 Presentations from more Australian personalities, including Rachel Treasure, Steve Bisley, Julian Burnside and Sally Dingo, will be held from 9am to 4.50pm at Beaconsfield today.

For the full program, visit www.festivalofgoldenwords .com.au.

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