Why Words Matter

Five years after its inception, the Newcastle Writers Festival is stronger than ever, attracting thousands of eager readers and writers from around Australia. Festival director and award-winning journalist Rosemarie Milsom chats to Laura Jackel about the successful annual event, as well as announcing some of the exciting big-name guests coming to Newcastle in April.

Rosemarie Milsom’s name is well known in the Hunter thanks to four years as a feature writer at the Newcastle Herald as well as a more recent role as a presenter at 1233 ABC Newcastle. She has more than two decades of experience writing and editing for some of Australia’s most recognisable publications including The Sun-Herald, Sunday Life magazine and Vogue Australia.

In 2012, there was a lot of uncertainty in the print media and Rosemarie came close to returning to Sydney to take up a job offer. “It made me consider what would be best for my family, and also how I could direct my energy into something creative and positive. While I’ve always loved Sydney, with small kids and no family support it was going to be hard to go back. “I’d been attending writers festivals as well as interviewing writers and doing book reviews for years. Writers are the best people. When I worked for The Sun-Herald, I also hosted sessions at the Sydney Writers Festival and there is such a buzz at the event. I wondered why Newcastle didn’t have its own festival and it seemed to me that no one had been crazy enough to take on the challenge of organising the first one.

“The first person I discussed the festival idea with was my husband and fellow journalist Ben Drzyzga. His response, ‘If anyone can do it, you can,’ spurred me on.”….

Photography: Chris Patterson, Intervision Photography