The Manly Writers’ Festival is underway and proving popular with the literary crowd.

Launched yesterday evening (Thursday, 14 March) with a special event hosted by author Thomas Keneally AO and broadcaster Hamish Macdonald, the inaugural Manly Writers’ Festival saw a packed day today, with thirteen events and over 30 authors.

Beacon Hill author Amy Hutton (main image, right) joined a panel discussion titled ‘Everyone has at least one book in them, don’t they?’ with a panel including host and poet Michele Seminara, and fellow authors Lucy Lever, Ingrid J. Adams, Jill Valentine and Julia Levitina (image below, L-R).

Poet Michele Seminara, and authors Lucy Lever, Ingrid J. Adams, Amy Hutton, Jill Valentine and Julia Levitina

Ms Hutton said that the most difficult part of the writing process, was not actually the writing, but promoting her work. She revealed that she was surprised at how much skills from her former career in network television had come to the fore.

“Funnily enough, it turned out that being an ex-television producer was incredibly helpful because I can edit stuff, build graphics, write little scripts and do music edits.

“It never even entered my mind that my career as a TV promo producer, where I used to write things like ‘Tomorrow on The Voice…’, was going to become an integral part of my skill set on the other side of being an author. The publicity and business side of being an author is huge, and you have to do a lot of work,” explained Ms Hutton.

Author Amy Hutton

Manly Writers’ Festival Founder Bonita Mersiades said she was thrilled with the enthusiastic public reception to the inaugural program of events, which are mainly being held at the Darley Smith Building, next to St Matthews Anglican Church at 1 Darley Road, Manly.

Bonita Mersiades

Bonita Mersiades

Ms Mersiades said that despite some inevitable hiccups, such as an author coming down with COVID-19, the event was running to plan. With a full schedule set for the final day tomorrow (Saturday, 16 March) and something for almost everyone, she recommended one session in particular for people who may not normally consider attending a writers’ festival.

“At 1.30pm, we are hosting author and correspondent for The Times, Craig Lord. He has more than three decades experience writing about swimming and the Olympics. He is joined by Michelle Ford-Eriksson MBE, who was a swimmer and gold medallist at the 1980 Moscow Olympics.

“They’ll be talking about their book ‘Turning the Tide’, which is not just a book about sporting achievement, it’s also about the Cold War, state sponsored doping in sport and international politics. It will be an amazing session and very accessible to everyone,” said Ms Mersiades.

Manly Writers' Festival

The pop-up bookstore in the downstairs coffee shop was doing a brisk business following today’s sessions. Tomorrow (9.00am to 7.30pm Saturday, 16 March) is the final day of the Manly Writers’ Festival. The program is available on the Manly Writers’ Festival website. Tickets to sessions are still available and can be purchased online and shown at the door.

Images: Northern Beaches Advocate

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