This weekend I’m speaking at the Gloucester Writers Festival. What’s the Gloucester Writers Festival, you ask?

The Inaugural Gloucester Writers Festival is Australia’s newest writers event, a weekend dedicated to the love of books to be held in the Gloucester Recreation Centre this weekend (30th April and 1st May with a ‘Booklovers Barbecue” on Friday April 29).

The Hunter and Mid North Coast regions of Australia (the middle, eastern side of the country for those not familiar with Down Under) are home to a large number of creative souls involved in a myriad of the arts, but despite the large number of books clubs, writer groups and library goers there has been little for us book-freaks to kick-up our heels at.

The Director of the Festival, Lindy Dupree, has said “Our aim is to bring to Gloucester an annual literary event of substance, where writers and readers alike can enjoy sharing ideas in a relaxed country environment. To showcase Gloucester to visitors and promote local food and accommodation to our literary visitors. The world of books is truly a wonderful one and we want to share our love of words with others.” Personally, I think this is a bloody brilliant idea :)

Lindy: “We are very excited about The Gloucester Writers Festival and are thrilled that we have twenty Australian writers participating in panel discussions and workshops. We are developing a diverse programme which will have something for everybody  –  whether you want to find out about crime writing, romance writing, how to get published, how to write young adult books, how to get started to write romance fiction, find out what’s hot and what’s not in the publishing world, learn about the graphic novel process, poetry and other readings, and much more.”

I’m speaking Saturday on the Kiss and Sell panel. The Kiss and Sell panel is, as you can probably guess, about the Romance genre (my personal fav *grin*). On the Kiss and Sell panel with me are fellow Romance writers, Erica HayesHelene Young and Bronwyn Parry. Oh man, am I allowed to say I’m both a little nervous and utterly awe-struck? Part of the panel will be a 2-3 min reading from our books – the fact I’m an erotic romance author kinda makes me want to be really really devious and read something really really naughty, but the reality is, I’m so daunted by the other authors on the panel with me I’ll probably find the most sedate page in my most sedate book and then sit at the mic going “Errr…..” :)

Anyways, guest writers at the Festival include Philip LukerLes MurrayMichael WildingIrina Dunn,Julie DitrichJesse BlackadderJames RoyJaye FordNick BleszynskiAnthony LawrenceAnnette Hughes, Geoffrey Datson, Bronwyn ParryBruce MutardPamela RushbyHelene YoungPamela FreemanErica HayesBarry Maitland and Ross Fitzgerald.

All details of the programme, writers, workshops, panel discussions and much more are on the website so head on over and take a look here.

If you’re an Aussie with a love of writing or just looking for a brilliant soul-stirring way to spend a weekend, find yourself at Gloucester. And just to sweeten the invitation, I’ll give away a signed copy of The Sun Sword to the first person to mention this blog post to me at the Festival :)

(One of the things I’m totally excited about at the Festival is the Poetry Sprints. Check it out: Poets compete to perform an original unpublished poem in 60 seconds maximum, and then have it judged on memory, presentation, content and form. This is poetry like you’ve never heard it before.)