Words in Winter is celebrating 20 years with a thought-provoking lineup

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Words in Winter is celebrating 20 years with a thought-provoking lineup


From August 25 – 27 this year, Hepburn Shire’s Words in Winter festival is hosting a festival of art, literature, music and food with a program featuring the likes of Jon Faine, Marieke Hardy, Alicia Sometimes and more.

Words in Winter warms the heart and nourishes the soul of Hepburn, Daylesford and their beautiful surroundings each winter. The wonderful festival celebrates 20 years in 2023 with one of its best programs, featuring some of Australia’s finest minds.

Explore Melbourne’s latest arts and stage news, features, festivals, interviews and reviews here.

August 25


The festival begins on the morning of August 25 with Mount Franklin puppeteer Georgie Rose, of Georgie Rose Puppetry, performing an excerpt from The Little Prince. Georgie’s puppets are truly staggering in their beauty and artistry and it should be a fittingly heart-warming start to the festival.

The festival will then formally launch with Wear It Purple Day, a purple-themed launch party in support of the region’s LGBT youth. Erin Riley will speak about gender identity in their writing, a Babble Open Mic will allow budding writers and poets to perform their work to an audience, while Maia & Petrus will shine a light into the life and work of renowned Victorian ceramicist, Petrus Spronk.

August 26

One of the undoubted highlights will be the Words in Winter Festival Gala. The gala features two legendary ABC presenters; Marieke Hardy in conversation with Jon Faine, in addition to music from Jarrah Olive, The Bedridden – David M Lewis, Alex Miller & Emma Rassmusen – the world’s only muppet punk trio – and poet Sean M Whelan.

Hardy will also appear on the festival’s Women to the Front panel earlier in the day, an Out of the Shadows discussion that will be hosted by Rebecca Lister, and also feature Riely, Alicia Sometimes and Shalini Kunahalan.

On Saturday, Rose will also delight us all with a Puppetry Workshop (she’ll also be performing shadow puppetry the following day). Toby Sime, local poet laureate, will present a discussion of Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray, while Tony Kelly and Rebecca Lister – co-authors of Growing Pineapples in the Outback – will hold a talk hosted by Terence Jaensch about the trials, tribulations and glowing successes of co-writing, just to name a smidgen.

August 27

There is so much happening on August 26 and 27 that we must encourage our readers to peruse the full program for themselves.

A clear highlight of the final day, however, will be Mark Dickenson presenting tips on structure, character, archetypes and other crafty tools for aspiring and emerging writers, while Jade Rosina McCutcheon will also present a workshop specifically on writing for social justice.

A wonderfully relaxed way to round out the festival will be Beck Lister and Anvil Productions presenting the inaugural show of On The Couch with Beck Lister – “part chat show, part therapy”. Lister will chat with Harmony Byrne, Adam Fawcett and Alexandra Collier about their work, inspirations, motivations and doubts, with resident musician Douglas Lee Robertson.

Find out more and view the full program here.

This article was made in partnership with Words in Winter.