Andrew Hansen and local author Chris Kennett talking all things mummified!

Bendigo Writers Festival director Rosemary Sorensen nominated the highlight of this year’s festival as Ann Cleeves visit to the Boort Library on the eve of the festival.

The award–winning author of the Vera and Shetland mystery series, Ms Cleeves was thrilled to discuss her new book with a small and excited audience.

“It was the first time she had the opportunity to talk about her book Wild Fire which has just been released and she told me she enjoyed the discussion very much,” Ms Sorensen said.

From Boort the festival rolled into Bendigo where Ms Sorensen said the numbers were up this year.

“BWF audience numbers across the weekend were approximately 3000 people, with 14,147 attendances to more than 130 events, including the schools program,” she said.

Ms Sorensen said stand out participants included the poet and performer Lemn Sissay.

“So many people were telling me how impressed they were with his powerful play, Something Dark,” she said.

“And he was able to reach the school audience during the Friday sessions. His ability to reach and move people is extraordinary.

“I think this year too, we utilised Ulumbarra Theatre much more effectively, in particular the Strategem Studio.

“I’ve been going through photographs taken over the weekend and looking at the audiences, the high standard of participants, our wonderful volunteers and thinking, how good was that!”

Bendigo Weekly chief of staff Steve Kendall had the pleasure of interviewing Bob Carr and immediately cleared up the mystery behind the cancellation of his Brisbane Writers Festival participation.

The answer to the mystery is that there was no mystery. Bob Carr was simply told his services were no longer required.

“I have no idea why they cancelled me, they just did,” Mr Carr said during the interview.

“I think he was bemused more than anything else,” Mr Kendall said.

The Weekly’s senior journalist Sharon Kemp interviewed veteran, anti-nuclear campaigner Helen Caldicott who at 80 years of age, isn’t in the mood for conciliatory messages.

“If I met Donald Trump I’d tell him about the horrific medical effects of a nuclear blast,” Ms Caldicott said.

BWF enthusiast Lynda Newton said she was struck by the warmness of the atmosphere.

“I think we are very welcoming of our visitors.

“That is definitely one of the benefits of a regional festival like Bendigo.

“We do it so well and the standard of the talks and discussions is truly impressive.”

Perhaps the last words on the matter should be left to Ms Sorensen.

“We are definitely now on the calendar.”