Built from a fortuitous partnership between the Tathra Hotel, Candelo Books and South East Arts, HeadLand Writers Festival in Tathra was an undeniable success in its inaugural year this past May.


The festival is the newest literary event for the Far South Coast featuring conversations with authors, industry forums, workshops, performances, live music and more. Co-owner of the Candelo Books in Bega and Artistic Director for the festival, Myoung Jae Yi, helped bring the festival to life through his personal ethos. As a singer-songwriter himself Myoung Jae Yi believes in “evocations of the printed word [to] celebrate the emotional power of storytelling”.


South East Arts provided support for the festival bringing their experience in event management and strategic development to the table. Executive Director for South East Arts, Andrew Gray, is confident in the festivals future.


“With business partners Tathra Hotel and Candelo Books on board, this new event has a strong chance of becoming an ongoing, sustainable and successful new festival on the arts calendar.


“HeadLand Writers Festival is a celebration of reading, writing, sharing stories and indulging the mind. It is an opportunity to reconnect, recharge and be inspired,” said Andrew.


With a strong focus on local musicians, poets and writers, the festival is a lively confluence of local heart and national ambitions. The ultimate goal for the Headland Writers festival is to be recognised on a national scale as a unique, regionally based, boutique event that reflects the values and aspirations of the local community while exploring ideas and experiences of the wider world.


The festival in May 2021 featured such local talent as Sophie Laguna, Mark McKenna, Bruce Pascoe, Ailsa Wild, Gary Lonesborough and Luke Horton who have each have strong connections to the region. Tathra has proven to be an ideal location for such an event, with the festival revolving around three venues that make up the fabric of Tathra, the Tathra Hotel, the Tathra Hall and the Tathra Wharf Museum.


South East Arts is proud to have led such a fantastic event from concept to completion, with many more years on the horizon. “Books in all their beautiful and boundless glory have been our constant companions through recent challenging times of bushfires and COVID induced isolation, offering us solace and respite. They afford us precious time to reflect and reconsider what is important to us, rejuvenating our minds with new ideas and time-worn truths,” commented Andrew.


The festival was able to come to fruition thanks to a boost from the Create NSW Restart Fund. With applications underway to secure funding for the HeadLand Writers Festival in 2022, a date has already been set for the festivals return. An event not to be missed, you can now save the date for October 28-30, 2022.


Image: Opening night of the 2021 Headland Writers Festival. Photo by David Rogers.