A friendly festival of ideas

HAPPY: Bendigo Writers Festival general manager David Lloyd outside The Capital theatre. Picture: JIM ALDERSEY

HAPPY: Bendigo Writers Festival general manager David Lloyd outside The Capital theatre. Picture: JIM ALDERSEY

PICTURES: Day two of the Bendigo Writers Festival

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Bendigo is still buzzing after another successful Bendigo Writers Festival, say organisers.

More than 1200 people attended the 2014 festival, which featured 100 writers and more than 50 sessions.

Bendigo Writers Festival general manager David Lloyd said the weekend's numbers represented about a 10 per cent increase on last year's. 

He said about a quarter of the attendees came from outside central Victoria, with Friday night's opening a success.

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

He said The Hub in particular, with free events, books for sale, tables and chairs and even a live Twitter feed projected on the screen, lived 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."

On Sunday, Mr Lloyd said all the sessions went well and he was surprised by how many sessions were really full.

"Unfortunately, we had to turn people away from some sessions," he said.

"It’s not great, but it is a nice problem to have."

The festival was a "terrific community event" and a true celebration of ideas, Mr Lloyd said.

A writers festival is a great festival of ideas. It gets people thinking, gets them inspired. - David Lloyd

"A writers festival is a great festival of ideas. It gets people thinking, gets them inspired," he said.

"So many people in the audience have written or have the desire to write, the inspiration and ideas they can get is invaluable."

He said one of the festival's strengths was that it was "really compact", with venues located in close proximity to each other, allowing readers and writers to talk to each other.

Another strength was that local writers were just as much a feature on the program as writers from further afield. 

"The other thing we’re getting from writers and readers is how interesting the panel sessions are," he said.

"They’re meaty, well facilitated and interesting discussions."

He said the friendliness of the festival had been on full display over the weekend, with enthusiastic volunteers and audiences.

"The feedback we're getting is how well organised it is," he said.

"This is our third festival and we’ve learnt an enormous amount after every one.

"We’ve got to a point where we’ve got a really good team."

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