Truth stranger than fiction at Reality Bites
  • Wednesday 27 May 2009

Like a gripping page turner, the Reality Bites festival will keep literary lovers wanting more as Australia’s top authors, writers and journalists converge on the coast for five weekends of literary events from 6 June to 2 August.

As Australia’s only non-fiction writers’ festival, Reality Bites will delight audiences with a contemporary program of events including blogging sessions, ‘in conversation’ interviews, literary lunches, workshops, forums, panel discussions and book readings.

Community Policy and Programs portfolio holder Councillor Jenny McKay said the festival would bring in a fresh wave of ideas, debate and discussion to the coast.

"Learn how to blog, listen to two surf gurus talk about their passion for surfing at a literary lunch, get involved in a heated political debate… there’s something for every taste at the festival,” Cr McKay said.

“It’s like a good read you can’t put down – entertaining, thought-provoking and challenging with a great bunch of characters and an intriguing plot.”

Local author and Reality Bites program director, Annette Hughes, said audiences should expect big ideas, a bit of controversy and lots of fun at the festival.

“It's great to have the opportunity to bring these writers to the coast, not only for local audiences to enjoy, but for our local writers to connect and participate in the national debate,” Annette said.

“Truth is stranger than fiction and I've been blown away by the depth of experience and knowledge of the participating authors – amazing journeys, big ideas, startling facts and cutting edge politics.”

Annette says one of the highlights of the festival’s program is the three literary lunches, where people can enjoy local cuisine and lashings of insight from Australia’s top writers.

Sunday 14 June Surf gurus Tim Baker and Phil Jarratt talk about the sport, the athletes and the love of surfing. Sunshine Beach Surf Club

Sunday 5 July Best-selling author Mary Moody shares her story of coming to terms with a mid-life crisis and French escapes by embracing the inevitable – ageing and the pull of family. The Boathouse, Noosa

Saturday 25 July Raconteur Hugh Lunn paints a loving portrait of his old mate and grand slam tennis star Ken “The Great Fletch” Fletcher. The Boathouse, Noosa

The festival events will be held over five weekends at four locations on the coast:

Welcome to the blogosphere
The festival kicks off with a social networking session. Get connected with local bloggers Rhonda Hetzel, Lonely Planet's Matthew Cashmore and eMentor Sarah Stewart, then sign up for the afternoon workshop to discover how to get your own blog up online.

Rock 'n' Roll into science
Embiggen Books hosts a series of conversations and talks on topics ranging from Charles Darwin to international affairs, conservation and the environment, with high-calibre thinkers Ian Lowe, Peter Rodgers and Nicola Marcus, multi-award winning playwright Katherine Thomson, and pop-culture guru Toby Creswell.

Expand your horizons – head for the hills
Take a drive into the beautiful Sunshine Coast hinterland to the Cooroy Butter Factory Arts Centre, venue for the remainder of the festival events, where memoir, biography, politics and history are on the menu, including an evening of film screenings by the festival documentary filmmakers.

So, what's your story?
Got a true story in your bottom drawer but not sure how to take it to the next stage? Let Reality Bites help. UQP non-fiction publisher Alexandra Payne will join a panel of industry experts to conduct a pitching clinic for local non-fiction authors. Write up a synopsis of your true story and present it to the panel at the session.

Festival passes include - One Day Pass ($20), Weekend Pass ($30) and Season Pass ($150). Literary lunch tickets are $40 (14 June) and $50 (5 and 25 July).

Bookings are filling fast, so book your seat before you miss out! Visit or call 5472 0107 for more information or to order a free program.