#LitFest2444 Festival

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The #LitFest2444 Festival is coming to Port Macquarie on May 19! we catch up with Karen and Suzanne, to find out what this event is all about …

Hi Karen and Suzanne. Litfest is a brand new festival that is taking place in May. What is #LitFest2444, and how did it all come about?

Back in December 2015, the two of us, Teacher Librarians at MacKillop College and St Joseph’s Regional College, met to plan a “literature” festival for youth. We recognised a niche existing in this area, with regions north and south well-serviced by Readers’ and Writers’ Festivals, but not this one. As we began to curate the program, we realised that the essence of the festival was more  about “story”. The aim of #LitFest2444 is to “engage young people with the written, spoken, visual and digital word”.

What are some of the workshops that students will be able to         participate in?

Many of the workshops are interactive, and participants will come away with a “made” product. Examples include Comic and Zine making, Podcasting, Digital Storytelling, Filmmaking and Illustrating. Additionally, there are sessions in writing, journalling, character development, blogging, generating ideas, performance poetry, blackout poetry, journalism, social media and so on.

There is also a rare regional appearance by members of The Stella Schools’ Program, who will present a panel discussion about Gender Online. A very exciting aspect of #LitFest2444 is the inclusion of locals and ex-students of the area in the presenter lineup. These include Jenna Mynott, Stacey Morgan, Lucy Watson, Heidi Pett, Annie Hannan Smith, Osman Faruqi, Michael Wilkie, Jessica O’Callaghan and Liz Brennan.

Three of our presenters have works that have been shortlisted in the 2017 Children’s Book Council of Australia Awards – Liz Anelli, Will Kostakis and Shivaun Plozza.

Why is it so important that festivals such as #LitFest2444 get enough support to make sure they go ahead?

This is a “first” in our community, and invitations have been extended to all secondary school students in all educational sectors both government and non-government schools in our area.

We are hoping that this may become a regular event, as it means that our regional and rural students can access an event normally only on offer in the metropolitan areas.

What can students expect when they attend the festival?

The festival will be a vibrant event, with participants able to get up close and personal with our presenters and workshoppers. There will be competitions, “Storyphones”, streaming of “Microlit” stories, prizes, book sales and signings, music and entertainment, food and more.

How can get tickets, and where is it all taking place?

There is an exciting pre-festival Community Soiree happening on the evening of May 18 between 6 – 7:30pm at the Port Macquarie-Hastings Library in Grant Street, Port Macquarie. Here, community members can meet the presenters, view some of the entries in the HeadOn Photo Festival on a big screen, and enjoy light refreshments.

The actual festival will be held at MacKillop College, Ocean Drive, Port Macquarie on Friday May 19.

Tickets can be purchased by phone (6583 2632) or in person from MacKillop College during school hours. The ticket office is closed over school holidays. The cost of an all day ticket is $30. The program and an expression of interest form is available at litfest2444.com.au/tickets/

Is there anything you would like to add?

We are very grateful to our sponsors – Catholic Schools Office, Lismore; Charles Sturt University; Holiday Coast Credit Union; Port Macquarie-Hastings Council; Snap Print; and St Joseph’s Regional College and MacKillop College. The support from these organisations has been instrumental in the preparation and planning for what we know will be a vibrant, engaging, inclusive and successful event.

Thanks Karen and Suzanne.

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