Literary Lunch – with Suzanne Leal

Literary Lunch – with Suzanne Leal

THRUSDAY, 6 JUNE

12noon – 2pm at the Masonic Lodge, 58 Neil Street Toowoomba

Guest Speaker:  Susan Leal, author of The Watchful Wife

Tickets:  48pp which includes a delicious 2 course meal and a glass of wine

There will also be a lucky door prize, Fibbers competition and literary quiz

Suzanne Leal

Toowoomba holds a special place for Suzanne as her father, Barry Leal, a French academic by training, was the inaugural Vice-Chancellor of USQ.

Suzanne’s fourth novel, The Watchful Wife is the story of Ellen Wells, a sheltered young woman brought up in an authoritarian church whose life unravels when her husband is accused of a crime he swears he didn’t commit.  In writing this novel, Suzanne drew on her experience as a lawyer, especially in the area of criminal law.  Through the eyes of Ellen Wells, she wanted to explore those who are both central and invisible to the legal system: the families of those people who stand accused of a crime. In The Watchful Wife, Suzanne also return to the schoolyard, the focus of her earlier novel, The Teacher’s Secret, this time turning her attention a scandal at an elite high school.

In essence, The Watchful Wife is a story of suspicion, faith, love and the limits of the truth.  Suzanne is an experienced public speaker and would be delighted to give an author talk to introduce The Watchful Wife to readers. 

Author Expo with Pop-Up Bookstore

Author Expo with Pop-Up Bookstore

SATURDAY 8 JUNE

9:30am – 2:15pm at the Community meeting rooms, level 2 Toowoomba Regional Council Library.

A feast of workshops covering a variety of literary topics that will get your creative juices flowing!

$12 per session BOOK TICKETS HERE

Pop-Up Bookshop – All authors’ book signings and sales
Seminar room – 9:30am to 2:15pm

TimeRoom 1Room 2Room 3
9:30am – 10:20amThea Hayes
Preserving the history of our champions
Marianne Buchanan
Puppet Making and bringing puppets to life
Aileen Bradley
Travel writing
10:30am –11:15amSuzanne Leal
The Watchful Wife
Antonia Hildebrand
A living book borrow – Poetry
Nola Passmore
Have you seen a Zine?
11:30am –12:20pmLizzie Cook-Long
Where did that song come from?  Lyrics
Adele Jones
Y/A writing
Jen Munt
Budget, books and Bronte
12:30pm –1:15pmMarianne Buchanan & Liz Schneidewin
Playing around with scripts
Jessica Ritchie
Make your mark
Jane Smith
A living book borrow – Historical fiction or fact
1:30pm –2:15pmHeather Reyburn
The scent of the bush
Ian Heydon
Comedy writing
Jean Kent
When writers and illustrators collaborate

Author Bios

Thea Hayes

spent twenty years living and working on Wave Hill Station in the Northern Territory. Her first book, An Outback Nurse, recreates her life in the Outback working on the second largest property in the world under one management. She arrived at Wave Hill as a twenty-two-year-old nurse from Sydney, but when she left in 1979 she was married with four children and eager for her next adventure. Thea’s second book, A Country Nurse, tells the story of her new life in rural Queensland. From a stint running a corner shop in the small town of Toogoolawah to dairy and cattle farming and working as a nurse in hospitals and nursing homes, Thea’s life has been eternally colourful. Traversing Wave Hill to North Stradbroke Island, London to the Riverina in NSW, and just about everywhere in between, Thea’s story is rich and inspiring. 

Marianne Buchanan

Director and Playwright.  Life goal: ‘To use the best and worst of the road I’ve walked to make impact!’. 

Marianne Buchanan is a high school art teacher, a published playwright and has 20 years’ experience in the performing arts. Marianne’s theatrical training was initially gleaned on the road when she spent 2000 – 2002 touring Australia and New Zealand full-time; with an itinerant theatre company. Here she was immersed in the Stanislavski and method acting techniques and trained in directing, set design, and running productions. She later studied drama and writing for stage and screen, through Griffith University, and worked as a singing and drama Teacher with Showbiz talent school. She has been involved in productions in Brisbane, Darwin, Cairns, Maitland and Toowoomba. In 2016 she created the drama workshop and puppet wellbeing business, Starlet Creative Industries.

 Aileen Bradley

Wrote Everyday was Chooseday as she travelled around Australia with her husband.  The book provides actual practical experiences and travel advice, plus maps that match the Australia-wide routes travelled.  As the pages turn, the reader finds personal anecdotes relating to age and illness challenges, events faced in everyday life, the benefits of a practical common-sense approach, humorous anecdotes and useful tips for potential travellers to avoid pitfalls.

 Deciding that flexibility achieved their desired relaxed lifestyle, it also increased opportunities to maximise finding and exploring Australian treasures at their leisure.  Taking time to appreciate the gems they stumbled across, meant choosing to let go of rigid plans and assumptions and deciding each day was, in fact, a Chooseday.  The story follows how it started, the trials and tribulations of full-time life on the road and how it ended.  It is a gratifying read for virtual armchair travellers, trip planners, history buffs, photographers, nature lovers or those who simply like a good yarn with a few laughs.

Suzanne Leal

Toowoomba holds a special place for Suzanne as her father, Barry Leal, a French academic by training, was the inaugural Vice-Chancellor of USQ.

Suzanne’s fourth novel, The Watchful Wife is the story of Ellen Wells, a sheltered young woman brought up in an authoritarian church whose life unravels when her husband is accused of a crime he swears he didn’t commit.  In writing this novel, Suzanne drew on her experience as a lawyer, especially in the area of criminal law.  Through the eyes of Ellen Wells, she wanted to explore those who are both central and invisible to the legal system: the families of those people who stand accused of a crime. In The Watchful Wife, Suzanne also return to the schoolyard, the focus of her earlier novel, The Teacher’s Secret, this time turning her attention a scandal at an elite high school.

In essence, The Watchful Wife is a story of suspicion, faith, love and the limits of the truth.  Suzanne is an experienced public speaker and would be delighted to give an author talk to introduce The Watchful Wife to readers. 

Antonia Hildebrand

Antonia first published short story appeared in Downs Images and in ‘Woman’s Day’ Summer Reading’ and she has since been widely published in journals, magazines and anthologies in Australia as well as Britain and the USA and Ireland. She has contributed to ABC Radio National’s Bush Telegraph program. Many of her short stories have been broadcast by Radio 91.3FM Yeppoon. She won the University of Southern Queensland Library Poetry Prize 1998 and the Fellowship of Australian Writer’s Marjorie Barnard Award in 1999 for her short story, ‘To Breathe’. 

She is the author of nine books, ranging from biography to autobiography, essays, poetry, short fiction through to novels. Her novel, ‘The Darkened Room’ was published by Ginninderra Press in 2022. Her next novel, ‘The Birthday Lunch’ is a work in progress. Her latest book is a poetry collection, ‘Broken Dolls’. She won ‘The Studio Prize’ for poetry in 2023.She is the author of eight books, ranging from biography, autobiography, essays, poetry, short fiction through to novels. Her novel, ‘The Darkened Room’ was published by Ginninderra Press in 2022.

Lizzie Cook-Long

Lizzie Lizzard Queen (Lizzard) is the front woman, lead vocalist and chief song writer for Toowoomba melodic punk band, Kathleen Turner Overdrive. With an appreciation for personal expression via various art forms, the medium of song writing stands out as one of her favourites. A background in teaching and educational leadership has made it clear to Lizzard, that an impactful and efficiently presented message usually results when one subscribes to the theory that ‘less is more’.  With several of her songs placing on independent music charts around the globe, and with three of these immortalised in ‘Top 100’ spots for the years 2022 and 2023 on 4ZZZ and Atomic, it seems that there might be something to this theory!  

This workshop will provide some information for beginners about starting the song writing process.

Photo by Synaesthete Media – photographic services & equipment

Nola Passmore

Nola Passmore (aka Nola Lorraine) has a passion for faith and social justice issues, and loves weaving words that inspire others with courage and hope. Her inspirational historical novel Scattered was published in 2020, and was one of three finalists in the 2021 CALEB Awards.  She has also co-edited the Christian charity anthology Glimpses of Light with Jeanette O’Hagan. She has more than 150 short publications, including fiction, poetry, devotions, true stories, magazine articles and academic papers. As well as her published writing, she loves creating her own zines, cards, bookmarks and art. 

She and her husband Tim run a freelance writing and editing business, The Write Flourish. She’d love to connect with you through her website: www.nolalorraine.com.au

Adele Jones

Adele Jones writes young adult fringe, science-fantasy and  near-science fiction that explores the underbelly of bioethics and  confronting teen issues, including disability, self-worth, loss,  domestic conflict, and more. She also writes historical fiction,  poetry, inspirational non-fiction and short fictional works, with  themes of social justice, humanity, faith, natural beauty and meaning  in life’s journey. Adele’s first YA novel Integrate (book one of the Blaine Colton Trilogy) was awarded the 2013 CALEB Prize for  unpublished manuscript. As a speaker she seeks to present a practical  and encouraging message by drawing on themes from her writing.

Jen Munt

With a nervousness about sharing her passion for helping others with essential life skills, budgeting and making the most of what’s in her pantry for her family of 5, Jen has launched herself under the guise of Mrs Jam’s Pantry.  Local radio segments sharing budget friendly meals and how to become an Op Shopping Queen are now regular local additions to Toowoomba’s cost of living solutions.  This has meant venturing out of her comfort zone! Jen is working on writing her life story about budgeting and providing zero waste solutions with energetic teens, faithful pets and with a wealth of practical experience through many ups and downs to provide a guide for others who are renters or carers of those with special abilities.  She puts her heart and soul into community care and her insights into surviving whatever is thrown her way, is an inspiration.

Liz Schneidewin

Liz describes herself as an Astro Fan, Playwright, Encourager, Thinker, a Code and Typewriter Tinkerer, and Misplacer of Small Things.  Liz has been writing in one form or another for most of her life. She has been writing plays since primary school and still hasn’t stopped. She has had many plays performed on many different stages in many different towns and cities around Australia and other places. She sometimes has a crack at other kinds of writing too. This year she is 53 but this is likely to change in the future. 

 Jessica Ritchie

Jessica is a multi-award winning brand expert, consultant, speaker and business coach.  She creates transformational personal and business brands through strategic marking and personal energy management.  Founder of the Transformational Brand Lab, Jessica works with high-performing, emerging leaders, entrepreneurs and business owners to create clarity, connect and communicate with confidence.  

Jessica is also a Reiki master, neurolinguistic programming practitioner and certified life coach.  These skills giver her exceptional insight into the energy and essence of individuals and businesses to help them amplify their uniqueness across their marking and branding, and reach their full potential.

Jane Smith

is a Toowoomba author, freelance book editor, archivist and librarian who loves bringing the stranger-than-fiction stories of our past to life for all ages, both in fiction and non-fiction. Three of her children’s books have been listed for significant literary awards, and her narrative non-fiction book for adults, Ship of Death: The Tragedy of the ‘Emigrant’, was shortlisted for the 2021 Frank Broeze Memorial Maritime History Book Prize. Jane also edits a range of genres, including historical fiction, general fiction, memoir and other non-fiction, children’s books and picture books.

Heather Reyburn

enjoyed an idyllic childhood in beautiful New Zealand, before settling on the Darling Downs in Queensland. With a passion for nature, animals, reading and all things farm related, it wasn’t long before her rural lifestyle inspired dreams of writing stories of her own. She loves happy endings, history, suspense, and characters who remain with the reader long after “The End”. Her tenth novel was released on June 20th, 2023 – with many more to follow! When not writing, Heather is often found in the garden, hiking, or spending time with her husband and family.

 Ian Heydon

is an award-winning comedy writer who, over the past four decades, has written for television, radio, print, stage, internet and has a number of recordings.

Ian’s hobbies include scuba diving (before the wheelchair), painting (canvases, not houses), fine wine (and not so fine wine) and playing pool, piano and ten-pin bowling.  Married with two grown-up kids he lives in Toowoomba in South-East Queensland.

After 20 years away from writing full-time to work in the travel industry and, following his MS diagnosis, Ian returned to writing creatively in 2020. Possibly a rare positive to come out of COVID-19!

Jean Kent

grew up in rural Queensland and spent her teenage years in Toowoomba. Her ten books of poetry include The Shadow Box (PSP, 2023), based on the experiences of her maternal grandparents, during WWI, and afterwards, when they settled at Jimbour on the Darling Downs. Jean has received many awards, including the Anne Elder, Dame Mary Gilmore and Wesley Michel Wright Prizes for her books. The awards that have most profoundly affected her life are her residencies at the Australian Government’s Keesing Studio, Paris, in 1994 and 2011. Paris in my Pocket, a selection of Jean’s Paris poems, with artwork by her husband, Martin Kent, was published in 2016. Her new book, Paris Light: A Personal ‘Plan de Paris’ (PSP, 2024) is also a collaboration with Martin, combining poems and paintings based on their time trying to live like locals in Paris. Their more usual home is at Lake Macquarie, NSW.

Puppet Making Workshop with Marianne Buchanan

Puppet Making Workshop with Marianne Buchanan

Unleash Your Creativity 
Join Our Puppet Making Workshop! 

Are you ready to embark on an exciting journey into the whimsical world of puppetry? 

Look no further! We’re thrilled to invite you to our upcoming Puppet Making Workshop.

When? Saturday, 13 April 2024 (10am – 12noon)

Where? Mosaic Hues, Level 1 Rowes Complex, Keefe St, Toowoomba

How? Tickets $20 (includes materials)

🌟 What to Expect:

  • Hands-On Experience: Dive into the magical realm of puppetry with our interactive workshop. From mastering the art of muppets and animal puppets to exploring the intricacies of marionettes and ventriloquism, there’s something for every puppet enthusiast.  
  • Creative Exploration: Let your imagination soar as you design and craft your very own puppet. Whether you’re creating characters from socks or bringing intricate designs to life, our workshop offers a plethora of creative opportunities.
  • Expert Guidance: Led by Marianne Buchanan of Starlet Creative Industries, our workshop facilitator brings a wealth of experience in drama and puppetry. With over 60 puppets at her disposal, Marianne will provide expert guidance and insider tips to help you unleash your puppetry potential.
  • Community Connection: Connect with fellow puppet enthusiasts and share in the joy of creative expression. It’s a fantastic opportunity to make new friends and bond over a shared love for puppetry.

🎈 Who Should Attend:

  • Families: Perfect for families looking to spend quality time together while unleashing their creativity. 
  • Educators: Ideal for educators seeking innovative ways to engage students in the arts and storytelling.
  • Artists: A must-attend for artists seeking new avenues for self-expression and artistic exploration.
  • Curious Minds: Open to anyone with a passion for creativity and a desire to learn something new.

Writing Your Life Story – with Mardi Sands

Writing Your Life Story – with Mardi Sands

10 April 2024 (10am – 1pm)
Mosaic Hues, Level 1 Rowes Complex, Keefe Street, Toowoomba

Mardi Sands is addicted to words, with a love of words, books and poetry.

With husband Brian, she manages a cattle property in the Taroom/Wandoan area.  They have three children and six wonderful grandchildren.  

Mardi’s desire to help others record their life was fuelled by her love of history, and her many years with the u3Aonline.  Here, twice a year, she led an eight-week course of Autobiography and Journalling. This has led to a deep understanding of the many facets of a Life Story.  She has further developed her skills with a Diploma of Family History from the University of Tasman. 

She has conducted several workshops and this year is leading a full-day workshop, as part of Words out West, by Western Downs Regional Council.

She has been involved in the life of her community, including the local Arts Council, Kindergarten Director, Miles Writers Group, and supporting Brian with his horse sports.

Mardi believes that everyone is special, everyone is different, everyone has a story, and everyone can tell that story.

Writing Your Life Story
With Mardi Sands
10 April 2024 (10am – 1pm)

Mosaic Hues, Level 1 Rowes Complex, Keefe Street, Toowoomba

 $20 per person. BYO drinks and snacks

Gain the confidence and tools to record your story.
See that there are different ways to tell your many stories.
Find out that it is a task that can be both enjoyable and doable by everyone.
Gain the tools and ideas to remember and record life memories.
Most importantly, learn how to ‘stick with it’ and complete the task.

2024 Writers’ Retreat at Downs Steam Tourist Railway

2024 Writers’ Retreat at Downs Steam Tourist Railway

On 16th March, Word Fest Toowoomba proudly presents 2024 Writers’ Retreat at Downs Steam Tourist Railway.

Saturday, 16 March 2024Downs Steam Tourist Railway – 16 Cambooya Street, Drayton

Toot toot!  Time to get on board…

Writers are invited to a great workshop with a BIG difference…but limited numbers!  Get in NOW!

Be inspired and guided by nationally acclaimed author, journalist and presenter, Michael Burge, as he brings his expertise to the Training Carriage at the beautiful location of DownsSteam Tourist Railway and Museum at Drayton.  His workshop ‘Write Regardless’ is a beauty.  What an opportunity for Toowoomba and the region!

Writers have the serenity of the beautiful gardens and platform nostalgia to inspire the creative juices.  The Retreat is open to delightful, like-minded authors from experienced, published writers to beginners across all genres, who are eager to learn.

There are two options for the day:

  1.  Full Day Retreat which includes Workshop 1 (9:45am-12:00noon) PLUS individual mentoring with Michael as you work on your writing in the historic Sunlander Carriage with writing ‘desks’ from 1-3pm.
    Lunch packs included in ticket price of $92.
    Also includes guided tour of the inspiring Dreamtime Carriage, painted by Dom from Doolamai Art.
  2. Workshop Only from 9.45-12 noon…set in the Training Carriage.  Bottomless Tea, coffee and Juice provided.  Tickets only $40

Michael Burge is a journalist, author and artist who lives at Deepwater on Ngarabal Country in the New England region of NSW.

His debut novel Tank Water is a coming-of-age crime thriller set in the bush and was released by MidnightSun Publishing.

His non-fiction debut Questionable Deeds: Making a stand for equal love (High Country Books) lifted the lid on familial, institutional and government homophobia in Australia.

Michael co-manages The Makers Shed, a creative hub in Glen Innes. Browse his books in his online bookshop and view his artwork at his online art gallery.

He is director of High Country Books. A graduate of Australia’s National Institute of Dramatic Art, Michael was touring co-ordinator for Arts North West.

In a series of hard-hitting articles for Guardian Australia, Margo Kingston’s NoFibs and Gay Star News, Michael’s journalism has always covered issues of equality, LGBTIQA+ history, popular culture, politics and pathways for independent artists and writers.

He has also edited and written for Fairfax Media, Australian Community Media, Intermedia, United News & Media UK and News Corporation.

Toowoomba Word Walk 2024

Toowoomba Word Walk 2024

Explore Toowoomba in a whole new way with the Toowoomba Word Walk, a 2-hour guided tour that takes you through the city’s key landmarks. Meet your guide at 7am under the Windmills on the corner of Lindsay and Campbell Streets.

During the walk, you’ll visit iconic sites like Queen’s Park, Frog’s Hollow, the General Post Office Building, The Court House Building, Strand Theatre, Masonic Lodge, Empire Theatre, St Stephen’s Church, and The Lighthouse.

After the tour, head back to Queen’s Park entrance on Campbell Street for a delightful morning tea featuring bush tucker treats. Choose between Friday, 22 March or Sunday, 24 March for your adventure. Don’t miss this chance to see Toowoomba from a different perspective!

To Join Us Book Your Spot Here