The former home of celebrated author Eleanor Dark is gearing up for the inaugural Blue Mountains Writers' Festival.
Varuna, the National Writers' House, will host the four-day event from Thursday August 22 to Sunday August 25. Other locations like the Carrington Hotel, the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre, Katoomba library, and cafes and galleries around Katoomba will also host some of the 31 events.
Featuring a festival launch party, some of Australia's best writers in-conversation, a kids' day, as well as poetry by the fire pit, a visit to Darks Cave, music, book clubs and a program of writing workshops, the event will have something for everyone.
"We have an amazing network of Varuna alumni and have run a successful program as part of the Sydney Writers' Festival; it just felt like we had all the ingredients to go independent and do it really well and for it to be something the Blue Mountains community could be really proud of," Varuna's creative director, Amy Sambrooke said.
Celebrated authors on the line-up include Stan Grant, Wendy Harmer, Markus Zusak (The Book Thief), James Valentine, Tim Flannery and Melina Marchetta (Looking for Alibrandi).
Ms Sambrooke said her top picks included the planned live cross to Kurdish journalist and Manus Island detainee Behrouz Boochani, whose book was laboriously typed out in installments over What's App to his publisher and translated from the Farsi; and a performance by Indian poet and dancer Tishani Doshi.
Varuna has a stellar alumni, including 2019 Stella Prize winner, Vicki Laveau-Harvie who is also part of the festival.
They still need about 20 volunteers over the weekend to assist with the event's staging and to act as ushers.
The inaugural Blue Mountains Writers' Festival will be held in Katoomba from August 22- 25. A fringe festival and childrens' events are also on offer.Early bird ticket sales are now available at www.bluemountainswritersfestival.com.au.
The Blue Mountains Writers Festival has received special program funding from the federal Building Better Regions Fund and are hopeful for funding secured this week from the Blue Mountains City of the Arts Trust. They receive core funding from Create NSW and the Australia Council.
The festival is also supported by a number of local businesses and organisations, including ABC Radio Sydney, Bendigo Bank, the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre, Blue Mountains Library, The Carrington Hotel, Scenic World and the Writing and Society Research Centre.
Varuna also recently received a grant from Create NSW for an accessible studio, giving writers with mobility issues access to their residential program. The development application for the construction is with council.