In 2015, Living Choice Glenhaven resident, Lorna Clayton, came up with the idea of holding a Writers’ Festival at Glenhaven. She planned for it to be a “one-off” event. Little did she know that it would grow to become one of the most popular Writers’ Festivals in the district.
Lorna, who was recently awarded an OAM for her services to the community, was inspired to hold the event after attending the Sydney Writers’ Festival with her late husband, Max. At the time, Lorna said, “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.” And in October 2015, they did!
Sponsored by Living Choice, the event attracted around 50 guests and Greg de Moore, author of ‘Tom Wills: First Wild man of Australian Sport’, was the first-ever guest speaker. He was joined by seven speakers from the Writing Group.
Fast forward to 25th March 2022 and an audience of more than 115 filled the auditorium to hear Dianne O’Brien, acclaimed author of “Daughter of the River Country” and the Moriarty sisters – Liane, Jaclyn and Nicola – speak about their journeys to become world famous, best-selling authors. Sitting in the audience was their proud mum, Dianne, who is a resident at the village.
Not to be outdone, nine members of the Writing Group presented their writings based on words such as broken, avoidance, next time, collection and look before you leap. Although not professional writers, this part of the program was a real surprise package, revealing some very creative thinkers and writers.
Many pearls of wisdom were shared at this year’s Writers’ Festival, including how sibling rivalry spurred on the Moriarty sisters, where they got their ideas for their books and tips for making publishing deadlines.
“Aunty Di” O’Brien set out to write her life story for her children and grandchildren and was persuaded to publish her remarkable memoir of abuse, survival and resilience for all to read. She continues to inspire as a volunteer and drug and alcohol counsellor.
At the conclusion of a very enjoyable day, Lorna paid special tribute to all the helpers, the Social Group Sub-Committee for the catering and the Writing Group members, Anita Stevens, Ann and Bob Flegg, Barb and Vern Wilkinson, Jeanette Kemp, Jenny Rioseco, Norma Johnson and Maurice York. Maurice was also responsible for the audio-visual display, including arranging a Zoom presentation with Liane Moriarty at the last minute, due to COVID.
In her closing remarks, Lorna reminded everyone of Margaret Atwood’s advice “If I waited for perfection I would never write a word’. We are sure many in the audience will now be putting pen to paper and we can’t wait to see what Lorna comes up with next year!