Writers’ festival presents new reading initiative

The reading initiative will kick off in March Photo: Syl Marie

Words on the Waves Writers Festival is introducing a Central Coast-wide book club and reading project incorporating a seniors stream as part of its 2024 program.

The project, Central Coast Reads: Fostering a Literary Community, will be launched as a community-wide reading program incorporating book clubs and author talks into the existing festival program.

Its primary objective is to promote reading and facilitate social and human connections through a shared love of books and also to position the Central Coast region as a hub of readers on the cultural map of Australia.

It will be an annual initiative encouraging community organisations, local libraries, book clubs and individuals to unite in reading a selected book.

It aims to stimulate broader conversations about reading, explore important themes and foster engagement within the community.

Various events will be organised, allowing participants to meet others, discuss the chosen book, host their own book clubs with provided support materials, and attend author sessions where the author will discuss the featured book.

The initiative will also incorporate a stream specifically designed for the seniors of the Central Coast thanks to a $19,154 grant from the NSW Department of Community and Justice for an innovative community readership project.

In addition to the singular Central Coast Reads title, a series of extra book club and author events will be incorporated for seniors.

These events will provide opportunities for connection within intimate book club settings at community venues, libraries and aged care centres.

Additionally, a larger-scale author event at an easily accessible venue will be organised, facilitating connections beyond established social and geographical circles.

Central Coast Reads will run from March to December.

Participation in the book club and author events will be completely free and individuals, groups and organisations can find out more at https://mailchi.mp/d8e9d07c4732/centralcoastreads

Project Manager Mandi McIntosh said community-wide reads were a great way to connect with others.

“We are excited to be bringing this idea to the Central Coast,” she said.

“The addition of the specific grant for extra events for seniors is a wonderful bonus for us to be able to offer.”

The first book to be read will be The Tea Ladies of St Jude’s Hospital with an author talk by Joanna Nell scheduled for April 5 at Everglades Country Club, Woy Woy.

Attendees at last year’s festival Photo: Syl Marie

Words on the Waves is a not-for-profit literary festival, the first of its kind for the Central Coast region.

Its mission is to deliver an immersive annual festival of stories, ideas and connection, set against the scenic Central Coast, and to enrich the cultural landscape of the region year-round.

Its vision is to become one of Australia’s leading regional literary festivals, known for its vibrant and diverse program as well as its unique setting.

In 2024, Words on the Waves will celebrate its fourth year.

The festival encompasses two full days of author talks and panels held concurrently across two venues, as well as an evening conversation event, an opening address event, professional development stream, late-night poetry readings, a literary cruise, a storytelling evening, family fun day and schools program, writing workshops and book launch program for local authors.

In 2024 the festival is adding a new large-scale festival marquee venue and programming stream, entitled The Dip.

In 2024 Words on the Waves Writers Festival will take place from Wednesday May 29 to Monday June 3.

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