Words at Wagstaffe

Saturday 27th March 2021 10:00 – 17:00
Wagstaffe Hall, 55 Wagstaffe Avenue, Wagstaffe, Central Coast, NSW.

DAY PASS $89 + booking fee

Saturday 27th March 2021 10:00 – 17:00

In support of the Words on the Waves Writers Festival, The Bouddi Society is hosting this one-day event at Wagstaffe Hall. The Bouddi Society is a community group which organises public events and publications aimed at displaying and fostering the artistic, historical and cultural life of the local community. It administers the Bouddi Foundation for the Arts which is dedicated to supporting and encouraging young artists on the Central Coast of NSW.

The exciting day’s program comprises four sessions by authors with links to the Bouddi Peninsula and the Central Coast.

The morning sessions are focused on memoirs, whilst the afternoon looks at historical fiction.

There will be book signing and sales after each session.

Please join us for a day of riveting conversations with Australia’s leading literary luminaries, with Graeme Blundell as MC. Entry is $89 + booking fee for access to all sessions.

Please note that this will be a COVID-compliant event. Ticket refunds will be available if COVID restrictions force the cancellation of the event.

The doors will open at 9.15am. Coffee and pre-ordered lunch boxes will be available from the Wagstaffe Store (at an additional expense). 


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10am – 10:10am


Introduction & ‘Welcome to Country’

10:10am – 11:10am


This waterway life: The art of living on the Brisbane Water

Vicki Hastrich & Charlotte Wood

Author Vicki Hastrich talks about her remarkable memoir Night Fishing, with fellow writer, Stella Prize winner and friend Charlotte Wood.

11:30am – 12:30pm


From Famine to Freedom: Surviving the Great Leap Forward

Andrew Kwong & Chris Masters

Author and local physician, Andrew Kwong, discusses his insightful memoir One Bright Moon with Walkley Award winning journalist Chris Masters.

1:00pm – 2:00pm


Lunch Break

2:00pm – 2:10pm


Lily Cameron: Now and the Future

Lily Cameron & Patrick Gallagher

Lily was the recipient of the inaugural Allen & Unwin Creative Writing grant from the Bouddi Foundation for the Arts. Patrick Gallagher, Chairman of Allen & Unwin publishing oversees this award and he will interview Lily.

2:10pm – 3:10pm


Writing In The Family: Meg and Tom Keneally

Tom Keneally & Meg Keneally

Tom Keneally’s first novel was published before his daughter Meg was born. Now they have collaborated on the four Monserrat novels as well as writing more of their own. Join Meg and Tom to talk about writing, family and an obsession with Australian history.

3:30pm – 4:30pm

Judy Nunn

Where Research Meets Imagination 

Judy Nunn & Jane Palfreyman

Judy Nunn, well-known actress and author of Khaki Town and many other historical fiction novels, will be interviewed by leading publisher Jane Palfreyman.


Vicki Hastrich

Vicki Hastrich is a Sydney writer. She started out with the ABC as a TV camera operator and became an assistant director in drama. When she began writing, a range of jobs followed, including warehouse-hand, picture researcher, factory worker, archivist and oral historian. Her two novels, Swimming with the Jellyfish and The Great Arch were published in 2001 and 2008 respectively. Turning to memoir, her most recent work is Night Fishing: Stingrays, Goya and the singular life. The book takes the form of a collection of essays with a focus on the place she loves, the Brisbane Water on the New South Wales Central Coast. A cornerstone essay in the collection, ‘Things Seen’, was first published in The Best Australian Essays 2016. Writing in the Times Literary Supplement, critic Beejay Silcox has called Night Fishing ‘the literary equivalent of a glass-bottomed boat, a frame for wonderment’. Vicki is currently working on a biography.

Charlotte Wood

Charlotte Wood is the author of six novels and two books of non-fiction. Her latest novel, The Weekend, won the 2020 Australian Book Industry Award for Literary Fiction, and was shortlisted for the Stella Prize and the Australian Literature Society Gold Medal among other awards. Her previous novel, The Natural Way of Things, won the 2016 Stella Prize, the 2016 Indie Book of the Year and Novel of the Year, was joint winner of the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Fiction. Her non-fiction works include The Writer’s Room, a collection of interviews with authors about the creative process, and Love & Hunger, a book about cooking. Her features and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, Literary Hub, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Saturday Paper among other publications. In 2019 she was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant services to literature, and was named one of the Australian Financial Review’s 100 Women of Influence.

Andrew Kwong

Andrew Kwong was born in Zhongshan in the Pearl River Delta, China, and educated in China, Hong Kong and Australia. He works as a family physician on the Central Coast of New South Wales. He has published many short stories and has been the recipient of numerous writing awards and fellowships. His upbringing during the Great Leap Forward was seminal.

Chris Masters

Chris Masters retains the record of the longest serving reporter on Australia’s longest running current affairs program, Four Corners. Over 25 years he made a series of nation shaping reports, among then The Moonlight State, which helped trigger Queensland’s Fitzgerald Inquiry. He has received multiple awards including the premier Gold Walkley for his international expose of the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior. Chris is the author of five bestselling books, the most recent, No Front Line, Australian Special Forces at War in Afghanistan. In 2017 Chris Masters was inducted into the Australian Media Hall of Fame.

Lily Cameron

Lily Cameron is a writer and editor based in Sydney. She is a UTS Master of Arts (Creative Writing) student, recipient of the inaugural Allen & Unwin Creative Writing grant from Bouddi Foundation for the Arts, and winner of the Inner West Council 2020 Young Writer Award. Lily was an editor for the 2020 UTS Writers’ Anthology, and is the former Fiction and Online Editor for Vertigo magazine. Her work focuses on simple representative moments, often exploring queer identities and experiences. Her writing has appeared in Cordite, Voiceworks, UTS Writers’ Anthology, The Brag, Filter, and elsewhere.

Patrick Gallagher

Patrick Gallagher established Allen & Unwin as a one man band in 1976, and it has grown over 45 years to become the largest independent book publisher in Australia. The company publishes some 200 books per year, including fiction, non-fiction and childrens’ books. We are proud to publish a wide range of young and emerging writers, and hope that the Bouddi Award for Writing will encourage young writers on the Central Coast.

Tom Keneally

Tom Keneally

Thomas Keneally was born in 1935 and his first novel was published in 1964. Since then he has written a considerable number of novels and non-fiction works. His novels include The Chant of Jimmie BlacksmithSchindler’s List and The People’s Train. He’s won the Miles Franklin Award, the Booker Prize, the Los Angeles Times Prize, the Mondello International Prize and has been made a Literary Lion of the New York Public Library, a Fellow of the American Academy, recipient of the University of California gold medal, and is now the subject of a 55 cent Australian stamp.

Meg Keneally

Meg Keneally is the author of two novels, Fled and The Wreck. She started her working life as a junior public affairs officer at the Australian Consulate-General in New York, before moving to Dublin to work as a sub-editor and freelance features writer. On returning to Australia, she joined the Daily Telegraph as a general news reporter, covering everything from courts to crime to animals’ birthday parties at the zoo. She then joined Radio 2UE as a talkback radio producer. For more than ten years, Margaret has worked in corporate affairs for listed financial services companies, and doubles as a part-time SCUBA diving instructor.

Judy Nunn

Judy Nunn

Judy Nunn’s career has been long, illustrious and multifaceted. After combining her internationally successful acting career with scriptwriting for television and radio, Judy decided in the 90s to turn her hand to prose. Her first three novels, The Glitter Game, Centre Stage and Araluen, set respectively in the worlds of television, theatre and film, became instant bestsellers, and the rest is history, quite literally in fact. She has since developed a love of writing Australian historically based fiction and her fame as a novelist has spread rapidly throughout Europe where she is published in English, German, French, Dutch, Czech and Spanish. In 2015 Judy was made a Member of the Order of Australia for her “significant service to the performing arts as a scriptwriter and actor of stage and screen, and to literature as an author”.

Jane Palfreyman

Jane Palfreyman has been a proud publisher of Australian books for over 30 years. Among the award-winning and acclaimed writers she publishes are Charlotte Wood, Vicki Hastrich, Michelle de Kretser, Heather Rose, Clementine Ford, Bri Lee, Christos Tsiolkas, Malcolm Knox and Craig Silvey. She works at Independent Australian publisher Allen & Unwin.


Graeme Blundell

An actor, producer, award-winning director, highly regarded journalist, and the television critic for The Australian, Graeme Blundell has been associated with many pivotal moments in Australian television, theatre and film. His books include his autobiography, The Naked Truth, and the biography, King: The Life and Comedy of Graham Kennedy. He is also the co-author of a biography of painter Brett Whiteley, An Unauthorised Life, and the editor of Australian Theatre: Backstage with Graeme Blundell.

Support our first Festival

As a not-for-profit organisation run with a small team of volunteers, contributions of any size go a long way in enriching the creative culture of our community. The Committee includes local Peninsula residents passionate about bringing the arts to the Coast. We are seeking support from the community to help us create a wonderful and inclusive festival.