Life, death and correcting Australian history - it’s all up for debate at this year’s Big Sky Festival!

All the big issues to be tackled at the Big Sky Readers and Writers Festival in Geraldton.

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Hannie Rayson, Big Sky Festival

Hannie Rayson, Big Sky Festival [©Hannie Rayson]

Andrea Gibbs, Big Sky Festival
Big Sky Festival 2017
David Hunt, Big Sky Festival
Bruce Pascoe, Big Sky Festival


The full program has just been released and comprises 21 free and ticketed events and sessions designed to challenge, provoke, entertain, inspire and educate participants across the weekend of 5 to 7 May 2017.


Festival highlights include:

  • Esteemed and multiple award winning Australian author Bruce Pascoe presenting an alternative viewpoint based on his current book, Dark Emu: rethinking indigenous Australia’s agricultural past (Saturday, 9 to 9.45am, Geraldton Universities Centre, free)

  • We’re all going to die … a discussion with award-winning writer and physician Leah Kaminski and Moira McKinnon. Is ignoring death to ignore life? (Saturday 10.15-11.15am, Geraldton Universities Centre, free)

  • Big Sky Feast at Salt Dish Café with entertaining tales from comedy writer and children’s book author David Hunt and author/playwright/scriptwriter Hannie Rayson (Saturday 6.30pm, $100, 3 course dinner and drinks)

  • Literary Lunch in the picturesque Chapman Valley with readings by bestselling psychological suspense writer Sara Foster, author inspired by history, myths and legends Mark Greenwood and historian, comedy writer and children’s book author David Hunt (Sunday 1pm, Lavender Valley Farm, $60 inc buffet lunch. BYO)

  • The Mystery of Life and Death – a Q&A (Sunday 9.30-10.30am, Geraldton Universities Centre, free)

  • Big Sky Little Stories – Storytelling at it’s best by national radio presenter, actress and storyteller Andrea Gibbs where it’s done best – at the pub! (Saturday 6.30pm, Bootenal Famliy Tavern, $42 – including a 2-course dinner and free bus transfer from the Library at 6pm)

  • A workshop for aspiring adults on developing, planning and editing their own children’s book with artist, illustrator and writer Frané Lessac (Saturday 10am-12pm, Geraldton Art Gallery, free but bookings required)

  • Rum, Rebels, Outlaws and Heroes – Mark Greenwood and David Hunt will discuss their wonderful tales (Saturday, 11.45am-12.45pm, Geraldton Universities Centre, free)

  • Sessions on crafting good fiction, writing for youth, creating great characters, the significance of poetry in our lives today, a photographic life, Nose Pixies and Wandering Houses – capturing the imagination of young readers, and more.


This year’s Great Debate, one of the Festival’s best-attended events, is on the subject Movies Win, Books Lose. It’s a controversial topic for a readers and writers festival! Guest authors for the debate on Saturday 6 May from 1.15pm to 2.15pm are Hannie Rayson, David Hunt and Meg McKinlay who will be pitted against talented and opinionated locals Jackie Gill, Mark Canny and Brian Poller. Media personality Grant Woodhams will again adjudicate the debate.

There will be 13 guest authors, illustrators, and photographers visiting Geraldton to present at the Festival. In addition to those already mentioned we will also welcome Singaporean writer, playwright and flash fiction storyteller Felix Cheong; award-winning photographer Frances Andrijich who has published 11 photography books; prolific Victorian crime writer Garry Disher, and children’s writer, poet and winner of the 2016 Prime Minister’s Award for Young Adult Fiction Meg McKinlay.

Grab a copy of the full program from the Geraldton Regional Library or visit to download a copy. All tickets can be purchased from the Library.

This is the 12th year of the Big Sky Festival, which is made possible thanks to support from City of Greater Geraldton, the Departments of Culture and the Arts and Regional Development, and Royalties for Regions, writingWA, Friends of the Geraldton Library, Loan Market Geraldton, Geraldton Universities Centre, Eastman Poletti Sherwood Architects, Incite Security, Coop Bookshop Edith Cowan University Mt Lawley, Scoop Design, National Arts Council Singapore, Anne and Kim Pedlow.


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