Get your teeth into Reality Bites literary festival
  • Monday 21 June 2010

Living up to its name, this year’s program for the Reality Bites nonfiction literary festival will provide a feast of thought-provoking sessions with 36 leading Australian authors over two weekends – from 24 July to 1 August.

The stellar line-up opens with a panel discussion led by Sydney Morning Herald journalist and celebrated author David Marr on how to tackle population growth and sustainability.

Councillor Lew Brennan said Sunshine Coast Council was delighted to support the Sunshine Hinterland Writer’s Centre in presenting this year’s program, which offers 43 sessions.

“Reality Bites will be hosting some of Australia’s best nonfiction writers and showcasing the superb new facilities at the Mill Place precinct in Cooroy,” he said.

“It is most appropriate that we can bring readers and authors together in the recently opened Cooroy library.”

The program will cover many topics close to the hearts of local residents. The organisers have assembled a line-up of experts to discuss broadly based environmental issues. In the first session of the festival, a panel of experts including David Marr, Brendan Gleeson and Liz Minchin, will explore ideas to do with population growth, sustainable cities, and the battle for limited resources, especially water.

ABC personality Michael Cathcart, author of The Water Dreamers, will discuss his view of the past – of a nation and its history shaped by the idea of water. Professor Ian Lowe, author, pre-eminent scientist and president of the Australian Conservation Foundation, discusses his book A Voice of Reason and covers topics that concern all Australians – the environment, culture, science, politics, education.

This year, Reality Bites includes a series of sessions especially for local writers of nonfiction to present their work at the festival. These free sessions under the banner of The Truth About Us, will be held in the Cooroy library. Local authors will also have the opportunity to pitch their writing projects to a panel of industry professionals; a publisher, festival director, theatre director and a documentary film maker will advise on the forms of storytelling and how to further develop a story.

Local poet/musician Geoffrey Datson will launch and perform his audio memoir and resident theatre director with Sydney Theatre Company, Stefo Nantsou will be conducting a workshop Turning Real Stories into Theatre. Jill Roe, (Stella Miles Franklin: A Biography), winner of the 2010 Adelaide Festival Literary Prize for nonfiction and the 2009 Qld Premier’s Literary Award, will discuss her work in conversation with Mary-Lou Stephens, well known presenter with ABC Coast FM.

“Reality is not all serious stuff,” Cr Brennan said.

“The program covers an amazing array of true life experiences and personal stories – there’s plenty of humour, love and passion and there’s plenty of opportunity for audiences to interact with the authors.”

Booking details and full program can be found at realitybites3.blogspot website or by calling (07) 5447 7090.