The Out of Print Book Club on opening night. Damian Callinan, Rusty Berther, Fiona O'Loughlin  and Andrea Powell critique the greatest books never written, in a show that resembles the ABC's The Book Club meets Whose Line Is It Anyway?
Rusty and Fiona over lunch the next day, telling tales from behind the scenes and breaking the showbiz rule of what-happens-on-the-road-stays-on-the-road!

Reading List 2014

  • In the Morning I’ll Be Gone and The Sun is God  Adrian McKinty
  • The Golden Boys 
    Sonya Hartnett
  • Jacks and Jokers  Matthew Condon
  • Analogue Men Nick Earls
  • Watching You and Life or Death 
    Michael Robotham
  • Gentlemen Formally Dressed  Sulari Gentill  
  • Uncommon Soldier  
    Chris Masters
  • What, and give up showbiz?  Rusty Berther

Well that was WAM for another year!

It sounds clichéd to say it but WAM2014 did indeed feel like the best one ever. Each year builds on the previous as we refine and hone those things that enhance the festival experience and continue to build WAM’s reputation to attract world class presenters and expand our festival audience.

The theme Everybody has a story to tell unfolded a festival that very successfully wove the tales and knowledge of visiting authors and presenters together with that of audiences and local storytellers in ways that were intimate, inspiring and spectacular all at the same time. There was a lovely bond between presenters and the public which is one of the characteristics of WAM. 

WAM2014 was full of highlights, contrasts and beautiful examples of the diverse reach and interest of the festival. The art of puppetry as story-telling featured in the festival opening with touching home-grown stories told through shadow puppetry by local aged-care residents and refugees, reviving memories from other times and stories from other places. Appealing to an altogether younger audience, Punch and Judy transported an old tradition of raucous slapstick puppetry from Italy, which had kids laughing uncontrollably 400 years later here in Albury.

The Out of Print Book Club on opening night heard more peals of laughter, this time from adults, as comedians Damian Callinan, Fiona O’Loughlin, Rusty Berther and Andrea Powell riffed on genres and book titles made up by audience members, who also joined hands across the aisles and rows to help the actors channel dead authors who never existed in the first place! An utterly hilarious crowd pleaser.

Radio National’s Now Hear This was also a huge crowd pleaser. Host Melanie Tait was a cracker bag of fun as she wove together a night of brilliant stories about ‘the first time’ from festival guests Nick Earls, Michael Robotham, Meme McDonald and four first time local story-tellers, with funny and moving anecdotes from  the audience. Fingers crossed this won’t be the last time we host Now Hear This in Albury.

Experienced and developing writers were treated to brilliant advice, knowledge and crafting exercises in workshops with Kirsty Murray and Michael Robotham on the weekend. Kirsty commented on being especially moved by the passion and engagement of the young writers, noting WAMs important role in feeding their hunger for cultural connection. Anyone who was at the Butter Factory theatre for rehearsed readings from the inaugural HotHouse-La Trobe monologue writing competition, Solo, would testify to the calibre of youth writing, beautifully showcased by the equally talented young studio actors. Let’s hope this also becomes a fixture on the WAM program, alongside the Nano and Short Story Awards which always unearth a swell of local writing talent.

There were a great many stories shared and unfolded during WAM2014. Our impressive guest list also included Chris Masters, Matthew Condon, Wendy Harmer, Boori Monty Pryor, Sonya Hartnett, Sulari Gentill, Adrian McKinty, Jason Steger and more. You can have a look at photos from the event on our flickr site.

More than 30 guest presenters and 60 events were held over the 5 days, including the 3 day schools program which reached more than 1600 students. The LibraryMuseum again provided an extraordinarily versatile and welcoming facility, catering easily to children, their grandparents and everyone else between, under the same roof at the same time. The early bird cafe topped it all off by creating a fantastic little hub in the centre around which festival guests and patrons enjoyed informal chats and soaked up the wonderful WAM atmosphere.

You can DOWNLOAD THE FULL PROGRAM for 2014 here

Festival Newsletters

For all the first-hand information on Write Around the Murray 2015, make sure you sign up for the e-newsletter on the left hand side of this page. Prior to the festival you will receive monthly newsletters about events. You will also be the first to know of any special events or early booking offers.