By Lorna Clayton

Last May, my husband Max and I splurged and stayed in the city for a couple of nights so that we could attend lots of sessions at the Sydney Writers’ Festival.  Marvellous!  I was on a huge high afterwards and kept thinking, ‘I’m sure we have writers at Living Choice Glenhaven.  We could have our own festival.  Why don’t we?’  And, last week, we did!

The Sydney Writers’ Festival is like a great oak and lasts for a week with a multitude of speakers.  Ours was an acorn and lasted one morning.  Greg de Moore, author of ‘Tom Wills: First Wild man of Australian Sport’, gave an inspiring opening address and helped to plant our metaphorical acorn; the weather provided the moisture for the planting.

There were seven speakers from our village – Graham Ascough, David Nelson, John Murray, Lorna Clayton, Anita Stevens, Helen Joyce and Dick Gillard.  We concentrated on a theme of family history, autobiography, memoirs . . .   We had talks and readings, and an open forum at the end.

There was a very appreciative audience of fifty or so, not all of whom were seniors.  A good roll up from the village was complemented by a number of friends and rellies.  A couple of the younger adults present commented that they rarely get to meet up with old people other than their grandparents.  One said, “I used to read these things in text books at school and it didn’t mean much to me, but hearing a lot of people’s actual stories made it real.  I loved it”.

I don’t believe this has been a one off event.  We’re planning to do it again next year.  And there are offshoots!  Already a number of people have expressed interest in forming a family history group and others have expressed interest in writing.