Readers and Writers Festival joins the Orange Fire Festival

AUTHOR TALK: Felicity McLean, author of the Central West Libraries' book, The Van Apfel Girls are Gone is one of five speakers attending the festival. Photo: SUPPLIED
AUTHOR TALK: Felicity McLean, author of the Central West Libraries' book, The Van Apfel Girls are Gone is one of five speakers attending the festival. Photo: SUPPLIED

Poet Heinrich Heine infamously stated; "Where books are burned, in the end, people will also be burned."

Luckily, this Readers and Writers Festival collaboration with the Winter Fire Festival is more about bringing books and people to the fire and less about bringing them into it.

The Orange City Library will join with the second Winter Fire Festival to bring a weekend of warming events from August 2-4.

For the first time, authors from across the state will visit at the same time the region's wineries, restaurants and villages will put on a host of fire-fuelled events.

This year's festival includes visits from five inspiring authors - Debra Adelaide, Meg Keneally, Tim Ayliffe, Summer Land and the author of the One Library One Book project, Felicity McLean.

Book lovers who've borrowed, read and shared Ms McLean's The Van Apfel Girls are Gone, as part of the Central West Libraries' public bookclub initiative, will have the chance to get some answers on the book's mysteries direct from the author.

Ms McLean is a journalist as well as an author. Her writing has appeared in The Good Weekend, the Daily Telegraph, the Herald Sun, the Big Issue and more.

She has ghostwritten and collaborated with celebrities, business leaders and sports stars, including with Olympian Leisel Jones for their co-written Body Lengths.

The Readers and Writers Festival will include two workshops in the lead up to the main event on Saturday.

People can choose to do an oral history workshop on Thursday, or a workshop on family history on Friday, which will feature Elisabeth Edwards talking about her latest book on the prominent Orange Dalton family.


  • Oral History Workshop on Thursday

Join Louise Darmody and Andrew Host while they explain the importance of oral history, demonstrate use of equipment and suitable recording environments, teach pre-interviewing and interviewing skills as well as best practice protocols and copyright.

The workshop will run on August 1 from 9-4pm in the Local Studies Room at the Orange library.

Tickets are $20, which includes lunch. They are available online through

  • Memory Research and the Family Historian on Friday

A workshop on family history, local history, memory and material culture with Associate Professor Tanya Evans and local author Elisabeth Edwards.

Professor Evans will help attendees grapple with their history research problems.

Ms Edwards will share insights on her approach to research and writing.

The workshop will run on August 2 from 10.30-2.30pm at the West Room, next door to the Orange library.

Tickets are $15 for History Council of NSW Members, $20 non-members and are available online through

Main Festival Program:

  • Held on August 3 upstairs at the Hotel Canobolas

The program includes all five guest authors, as well as Kiara Harris talking about the Year of Indigenous Languages, the announcement of the Banjo Paterson Writing Award winners, as well as morning tea and lunch.

  • Welcome 10.05am - 10.50am
  • Debra Adelaide 10.50am - 11am
  • Kiara Harris - Year of Indigenous Languages 11am - 11.15am
  • Banjo Paterson Writing Awards Announced 11.15am - 11.45am
  • Morning Tea 11.45am - 12.25pm
  • Tim Ayliffe 12.25pm - 1.05pm
  • Summer Land 1.05pm - 2pm
  • Lunch 2pm - 2.40pm
  • Felicity McLean 2.40pm - 3.20pm
  • Meg Keneally 3.20pm - 3.30pm Close

Early bird tickets are now on sale for $80 until July 7, before going up to $90 until July 29.

Tickets for the Festival can be purchased online via, Central West Libraries website or call the Library on 6393 8132.

For more information about the Orange Winter Fire Festival and event tickets, visit