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Hundreds pack venues for Lines in the Sand literary festival

1 October 2019

Councillor David Lewis, Fraser Coast Libraries regional librarian Tara Webb, authors Melissa Fagan and Charlotte Nash, Mayor George Seymour and authors Kerry O'Brien and Caylie Jeffery at the Fraser Coast Lines in the Sand welcome reception.

Well-known journalist Kerry O’Brien told a packed audience during the three-day Fraser Coast Lines in the Sand Festival that encouraging children to read was one of the best things parents could do for them.

“There are probably few better things that you can have taught them in their lives than that because it just opens up a world to them,” the former presenter of ABC TV’s 7.30 Report said.

Mr O’Brien, 74, said he was heartened by the number of young people who sought him out to sign copies of his memoir.

“(They) don’t just come up to me and ask me to sign it because they’ve bought it but they come up to me and say ‘I’ve read the book’ and want to talk very intelligently about it – and yes, they are our hope of the future,” he said.

Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour said more than 130 people heard the Logie Hall of Fame recipient speak at the welcome reception on Friday night and more than 170 people attended his keynote address on Saturday.

“Kerry’s speeches have been highlights of the program but the event has included a great line-up of visiting speakers including bestselling author Josephine Moon,” he said.

“This is a fantastic festival for local readers and writers and most of the workshops, along with Kerry’s keynote address, have been booked out.”

Award-winning Hervey Bay writer Pam Swain has attended many Lines in the Sand author talks and workshops, hosted by Fraser Coast Libraries, during the past few years.

She said it was great to meet talented published authors and learn from their experiences.

“It’s also an opportunity to mix with other writers attending workshops, have some laughs and hear about their writing,” Mrs Swain said.

She caught the writing bug in 2006 after attending a five-day workshop on the Gold Coast hinterland and has won a bunch of writing prizes since then.

This year Mrs Swain grabbed first place in the Romance Writers of New Zealand Chapter Short Story Contest with her contemporary romance The Plan published in the group’s online magazine Liaisons.

Also, her paranormal romance titled The Future is Behind You was chosen to be published in the Romance Writers of Australia’s Tiger’s Eye Little Gems Short Story Anthology 2019.

Back in 2015, Mrs Swain’s writing talent won her a trip for two to Cannes on the French Riviera including a tour of Monaco.

“I’m still buzzing several years later at winning such an incredible prize,” she said.

Mrs Swain said she would recommend other aspiring authors attend writing workshops because “there is always something to learn, no matter what stage your writing is at”.

Lines in the Sand sessions were held at Hervey Bay Library and the Fraser Coast campus of USC from Friday to Sunday.

The free festival, run by Fraser Coast Regional Council, was sponsored by U3A, USC, Books by the Sea and Kingfisher Bay Resort and Village.