THE Bendigo Writers Festival has enjoyed its most successful event to date attracting 5700 visitors and a 30 per cent increase in box office sales during the three-day event last weekend.

Manager Capital Venues and Events David Lloyd said the breakdown of figures also revealed that 60 per cent of those who attended were from the local community.

“It’s a great endorsement to see such strong local support and commitment for the event,” he said.

“More than a third came from regional Victorian and Melbourne combined and five per cent from interstate and overseas.

“Most opted for a three-day pass so they could stay in the city and make the most of the impressive program of events.”

Festival director Rosemary Sorensen was equally enthusiastic.

“This has been our best festival ever,” she said.

“I’m so grateful that David Lloyd and council have continued to support us. The feedback I get from the community is so positive. They love it. Our festival with its mix of events nourishes the mind and

the body.”

More than 100 events and 150 speakers took part in the festival where food and good living were the strong themes.

“If there are any hitches, I love the way there are always people who rally round,” Ms Sorensen added.

“We’ve also adapted to what audiences wanted based on feedback from previous years and now offer better accessibility to move between the venues, which I believe has had a positive effect on visitor

numbers.”

“Our festival has established a strong reputation amongst publishers who realise we have now evolved into something brilliant,” she said.

The finale of the festival was the internationally acclaimed surgeon Munjed Al Muderis who talked about how hope and courage could change lives.

– Dianne Dempsey