“I want to create an eclectic, welcoming festival that celebrates words and ideas, as well as the depth of local writing talent.”
– Rosemarie Milsom, Director of Newcastle Writers Festival.
Rosemarie Milsom wasn’t the first person to wonder why Newcastle didn’t have its own writer’s festival, but she was crazy enough to do something about
it. The inaugural Festival was held in 2013 and attracted more than 70 writers who participated in 38 sessions, half of which were free to attend.
The festival attracted hundreds of passionate readers and writers who raved about their experience and the excitement of meeting renowned authors.
In 2013, Rosemarie was successful in obtaining financial and in-kind support through Newcastle Now’s sponsorship program and used this as the catalyst
to turn her dream into a reality. As part of the application process, Rosemarie was required to present her idea to the Newcastle Now Committee of
Management and demonstrate her level of professionalism through a well thought out project plan complete with budget and evaluation mechanisms. She
was then required to present a post-event evaluation to the committee and put a business plan in place for the following year.
Newcastle Now continued to fund the project for two additional years with support funding incrementally so that eventually it could become self-sustainable.
Rosemarie and her dedicated team have managed to grow her crazy idea into an annual event held each April, and 2016 will be the first year the Newcastle
Writers Festival will not receive funding from Newcastle Now. Looking forward, Rosemarie plans to build the festival to a point that it rivals writing
festivals from across the country and can sustain can sustain paid staff.
Additional festival funding supporters have included Arts NSW, University of Newcastle, Newcastle City Council, and Hunter Writers Centre.