Anna Bligh and Stan Grant bound for Clunes Booktown Festival IN a coup for organisers and festival-goers alike, former Premier of Queensland, Anna Bligh and Australian journalist and correspondent for Sky News Australia, Stan Grant are confirmed as guest speakers at this year’s 10th Anniversary Clunes Booktown Festival. From April 30 to May 1, 18,000 people are expected to descend on the township of Clunes for a weekend of author talks, book sales and entertainment for all ages. While well-known as a political identity, Bligh recently added ‘author’ to her list of achievements, last year publishing her memoir.
‘Through the Wall: Reflections on Leadership, Love and Survival’ explores Bligh’s challenges in her public and private life, including her lessons of leadership, resilience, community and family as the first woman to be elected Premier of an Australian State in her own right and from her battle with cancer. Meantime, Grant has covered some of the world’s most significant news events including conflict in the Middle East, the release of Nelson Mandela and the death of Princess Diana. Grant’s profile in the political arena is steadily rising: his book ‘Talking to my Country’ was released last month and is described as ‘an extraordinarily powerful and personal meditation on race, culture and national identity.’ A video of a speech that Grant made about the impact of colonisation and discrimination on Indigenous people and their ancestors was published online in the lead up to Australia Day this year. The footage, which shows Grant speaking at an event held by not-for-profit group, The Ethics Centre, has since received 1.4 million views on Facebook. There is even a Facebook group called ‘Stan Grant for PM’.
The Festival’s Artistic Director, Ailsa Brackley du Bois, said that the legacy of Clunes welcoming high profile Australian identities with a political conscience, such as Barry Jones OAM, Malcolm Fraser, Bob Hawke, John Marsden, Anne Summers and William Yang, is one that she is thrilled to continue in 2016.
“With Anna’s impressive capacity as a female leader and Stan’s rise as a political commentator of note, our visitors are in for an absolute treat at this year’s Festival.
“My biggest challenge now is finding a space big enough for Anna and Stan to speak, but I’m onto it!” The program for Clunes Booktown Festival has more than doubled in size from last year, with both the Clunes Warehouse and the old St Thomas Aquinas Church hosting speakers such as Helga Leunig, Andrew Chapman, Sean Gorman and Peter Yeldman OAM, with talks also scheduled for the National Hotel. The Kids Village is expanding, with new additions for teens, and a wide range of activities and performances. Tickets are available at the four entrances to the event and are now available online here: www.trybooking. com/KSVJ.
Tickets are $10 for a weekend pass, which includes access to all authors’ talks, entertainment and an exhibition, while children 14 years and under are free.