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Down the Track – August 2021

Set amongst a town surrounded by awe-inspiring landscapes, rooted deep in culture and histories, and filled with annual events that are spectacular and wild, the NT Writers Festival (NTWF) offers the opportunity to come together and think. Softly.

By Zoya Godoroja-Prieckaerts

Tinkerbee Eastern and Central Arrernte cultural performance at the 2019 NT Writers FestivalAs NTWF Artistic Director Dani Powell explains, the theme ‘anpernirrentye’ alludes to ways of positioning ourselves “in relationship with everything else”.

This year’s program, with its array of stories, voices and themes, helps us do just this, set within the peaceful surrounds of Alice Springs’ Olive Pink Botanic Garden with site-specific events thoughtfully sprinkled around town.

The program is not only diverse and dynamic in its line-up of authors, but in the artforms in which these voices are presented.

Of course, there are book launches and talks featuring local writers who are dearly loved, and – travel permitting – interstate talents that are admired, the lot of them deeply respected. But there are also other events to look forward to.

Expect affecting collaborations between musicians and storytellers, plays and poetry readings, tours and guided walks and talks. There’s storytime for young ones and educational sessions for teachers, parents and carers.

Explore literature and other forms of expression that have been in the making for years and years, finally ready to be celebrated. Others are fresh and experimental, others playful, others dense, all relevant.

On top of all this, there’s a considerable number of workshops on offer. Children are encouraged to dig deeper into releasing the stories from their minds and onto the page. Anyone feeling disconnected can become reconnected through beautiful poetry and words. These workshops offer opportunities to liberate our introspective selves, supported by practical exercises and caring facilitators.

NT Writers’ Centre Director Fiona Dorell perfectly puts it, that festival-goers have the wonderful chance to engage in “thought-provoking conversations that cannot be had elsewhere”.

How lucky to be given opportunities to stimulate curiosity, time for reflection on our positions in this profound world we live in, and our relationship with everything else.

Such artfully considered festivals should not be missed.

NT Writers Festival

Thumbnail and header – Crosslines Poetic Picnic at the 2017 NT Writers Festival, Alice Springs. Photo: Oliver Eclipse
Inset: Tinkerbee Eastern and Central Arrernte cultural performance at the Festival Opening of the 2019 NT Writers Festival, Alice Springs. Photo: Milly Moments Photography

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