Bendigo has the write stuff, photos, video

PICTURES: Day two of the Bendigo Writers Festival

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UPDATE 2.15pm: BENDIGO Writers Festival attendees have spoken of their praise for what the festival means for the city.

Latrobe University Bendigo head of campus Robert Stephenson, speaking outside The Capital theatre on Saturday, said the university had enjoyed a great relationship with the Bendigo Writers Festival. 

"We’ve been part of it since the first one; it’s fantastic how it’s been received," he said.

He said the university ran a special Writers In Action subject, which had about 60 students involved.

"We’re capitalising on what we’ve got in the city to enrich the experience for the university students," he said.

He said more broadly, the annual festival was an opportunity for the city to capitalise on its strengths.

"I think there’s a lot of things that we can do, we can capture niches, that there can be a unique experience in doing something in Bendigo, the things that are available in Bendigo and really building on those," he said.

Writers In Action group member Rachel Gibson, who was also at the festival on Saturday, said as well as listening to authors speak, the day was a great chance to network.

"It's a wonderful opportunity to meet all these people and authors," she said.

UPDATE 1.09pm: NEARBY businesses say they are enjoying a good trade thanks to festival goers in need of nourishment between sessions. 

Opposite The Capital, Borchelli Ristorante have enjoyed a busy lunch period.

Manager Sharon Lock said the festival and the flow-on trade was "fabulous".

"It's better than last year, and it's great with the Undressed exhibition as well," she said.

"It's a great atmosphere and and all the festival goers are just lovely people."

With the help of festival manager David Lloyd, the restaurant has also set up a "writers in residence" table.

"Basically so any writers who come for coffee can sit here and do some writing or reading," Ms Lock said.

Table: The 'writers in residence' window at Borchelli Ristorante.

Table: The 'writers in residence' window at Borchelli Ristorante.

The idea was the restaurant would then encourage other patrons to chat to the writer, and passers by could also look in the window and see the writer framed by books.

Nearby shop owner David Cay, of View St Bazaar, said he was looking forward to a busy afternoon.

"We've been quiet in the morning, but we expect it to pick up a bit in the afternoon," he said.

"You notice the difference when these sorts of events come to town."

UPDATE 11.45am: LIKE all good festivals, it's not always just what's happening at the official events which makes for interesting experiences.

Bendigo artist Suzie O'Shea set up a piece of performance art on the steps of The Capital which involved handing people bits of paper with her thoughts on it as people walked in.

"I'm trying to scare the writers because I'm scared of writing," she said.

On a more serious note, she said she was trying to test the waters of her own writing practice.

"I want to know if I can tell my total truth," she said.

Art: Bendigo artist Suzie O'Shea and festival goer Jim Bowles.

Art: Bendigo artist Suzie O'Shea and festival goer Jim Bowles.

UPDATE 10.43am: THE Capital theatre is a hive of activity with the day's first sessions now under way at the Bendgo Writers Festival.

Festival manager David Lloyd said the festival had enjoyed a successful start and he was looking forward to how the day progressed.

"It started last night with Blanche D'Alpuget in conversation with ABC local radio presenter Hilary Harper, so it was a great start."

He said the morning sessions had enjoyed good attendance.

"The Sustainable Garden session was chock-a-block," he said.

The Hub in particular, with books for sale, tables and chairs and even a live Twitter feed projected on the screen, would live up to its name as the festival progressed.

"There's two intensive days of writers and panel discussions," he said.

"Every now and then, people need to take a breather."

EARLIER: THE second day of the Bendigo Writers Festival kicks off this morning. 

It follows a successful first day, with Texts Mark The Spot attracting younger readers and aspiring writers.

Established writer Les Murray headlines today's festival, while many lesser known writers launching their first books are creating a buzz.

Authors, poets and experts who focus on niche topics - some who have never even been invited to a writer's festival because of their small market - will also share their passions on the weekend. 

For the full Bendigo Writers Festival program, click here

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