Big names to headline Canberra Writers Festival 2017

International best-selling authors Nikki Gemmell (After), Graeme Simsion (The Rosie Project) and Maggie Alderson (The Scent of You) will headline the Canberra Writers Festival in 2017.

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Festival director Vickii Cotter announced the list of first-round authors on Thursday, which also included Richard Fidler, Julia Baird, Robyn Williams and local young-adult author Jack Heath.

“With more authors to be announced over the coming months, the festival is shaping up to be even bigger and more action-packed than last year,” Ms Cotter said.

“We were overwhelmed by the response to the inaugural festival and our team is looking forward to building on last year, growing the festival and delighting audiences.”

Others already committed to the festival, to be held over the weekend of August 25-27, include brain expert Dr Nicola Gates; one of Australia’s favourite food writers Valli Little; writer of hardboiled action thrillers James Phelan; leading young adult fiction author Gabrielle Williams; foreign policy and intelligence expert Allan Gyngell; Cameron and Samantha Bloom talking about a remarkable story of courage expressed through Penguin Bloom, the Odd Little Bird who Saved a Family.

They’ll be joined by author and documentary maker Jeff Maynard; award-winning combat photographer Gary Ramage and psychological thriller writer Anne Buist.

The festival has also appointed former Australia Council CEO and general manager of Musica Viva Australia Jennifer Bott as its new artistic director.

“I am thrilled to be working with the festival team and talented colleagues from our cultural institutions, bringing together outstanding Australian and international literary talent with skilled moderators and engaged audiences,” Ms Bott said.

“Writers Festivals are ultimately festivals of ideas, and Canberra provides a fertile environment for such a feast.”

The festival will again build on the theme Power, Politics, Passion bringing in a diverse range of thought-provoking topics such as war, peace and insecurity.

The 2017 festival will also feature new events including wine and crime shows, a program for young adults, and more literary dinners and luncheons.

In 2016 more than 5000 people attended the 95 events across three precincts based around national institutions.

A range of early bird tickets are already available including season passes and day tickets.

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