We respectfully caution Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers that this website contains images of people who have passed away.Close
Photo: Dub Leffler (bottom row, second from left) with fellow Australian and international writers at the 2016 Kimberley Writers Festival
I love my job. You get to travel to some fantastic places and when I got invited to the 2016 Kimberley Writers Festival, I didn't know what to expect. I had heard about the Kimberley in films and books and from well-versed travellers about its beauty, but I wasn't prepared for that beauty. We live in such an amazing country.
I got to spend eight days in Kununurra leading up to the two-day festival. During this time, I had the privilege of travelling to remote schools – sometimes by plane, sometimes by car – where I ran back-to-back workshops at the schools in Kalumburu, Doon Doon, Warmun (Turkey Creek), Wyndham and Kununurra.
I facilitated the workshops in tandem with renowned award-winning author, Norman Jorgensen, which was a bunch of laughs; I even had the honour of launching his latest book, The Smuggler's Curse on the opening night of the festival. I may have been dressed up as a sea captain.
Dawul School, located at Doon Doon, has under 10 students in the whole school. The school doesn’t receive many visitors so we happily ran workshops in every class (usually about four workshops per day).
As for the Kimberley Writers Festival – it was all over too soon as our eclectic group of writers got on like a house on fire. In such an egoless and relaxed atmosphere, it was hard not to.
I got to hang out with some of Australia's best; from Youth Without Borders founder and former Young Australian of the Year, Yassmin Abdel-Magied, to Mary Anne Butler, whose stage play, Broken, recently took out both the 2016 Victorian Prize for Literature and the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Drama. I also spent time with the festival's first international author, Agustinus Wibowo, who was stranded in Afghanistan for three years! As a result, he now speaks about 10 different languages. They were all such amazing people with amazing stories told in a backdrop of wetland, desert, and ancient culture.
You'd be lucky to be invited to such an exclusive festival where they treat you like royalty (minus the pomp and ceremony).