by Peter Carruthers
KEYNOTE speaker at the Whitsunday Writers Festival and first ever female Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Sallyanne Atkinson, delivered the same kink of honesty from the floor as she penned in her memoir entitled: No Job For a Woman.
Remembering a moment of her "accidental life" in an Edinburgh laundromat while washing dirty nappies, Sallyanne reflected on how she became involved with politics.
Sallyanne said she was accosted while doing the laundry by a member of a politically-charged mother's group who offered babysitting.
She had always had an interest in politics but hearing the word "babysitting" when caring for three kids under four-years-old was what got her involved.
She said her experience at the Whitsunday Writers Festival had been a fantastic one and she was happy to play a part in the Whitsundays bouncing back after Cyclone Debbie.
"It has brought writers from all over Australia to take part. Being writers we will all go back and talk about it and write about how wonderful the Whitsundays are," she said.
"After Cyclone Debbie we really need to be getting that message out that the Whitsundays still are beautiful and people are still welcome."
Sallyanne said she enjoyed a wonderful day on the water last week and visited Whitehaven Beach.
"It was bliss," she said.
Sallyanne joined a host of accomplished authors including Daryl Barnes, Mohamed Khadra, Helena Pastor, Craig McCormick and Linda Frylink Anderson.
On Friday writing workshops were held, followed by presentations by the authors and a gala dinner at Lure today.
Writers Festival committee member and writer/journalist Deb Friend said it was an intimate gathering this year which allowed the crowd a high level of engagement with the festival's guests.
"We pitch the festival as a really friendly, small, intimate festival where the attendees can mix with the authors and that is really one of our strengths," she said.
The writing of any book is a journey and Deb said the authors this year shared so much of that journey and their life with the Writers Festival crowd.
"At the festival, you very much become a part of the author's own personal journey, which is nice I think."
Deb said the annual festival supported by the Regional Arts and Development Fund brings together as punters a mix of published authors and aspiring writers yet to be published, with a wish to be inspired.
"Most authors have had interesting lives because otherwise, they wouldn't write a book. So a lot of our attendees purely want to sit and listen and hear authors talk about their books," Deb said.
Local marine biologist from Hydeaway Bay, Tony Ayling, tomorrow will host a discussion about the Great Barrier Marine Park and the coal industry to close the festival.