BOOK FESTIVAL: Tiana Sebastian, 8, and Umaiza Rashid, 7, with their favourite books by the authors in the Whitsunday Voices Youth Literature Festival.
BOOK FESTIVAL: Tiana Sebastian, 8, and Umaiza Rashid, 7, with their favourite books by the authors in the Whitsunday Voices Youth Literature Festival. Emma Murray

Budding young writers ready for annual literary festival

SEVEN-year-old Umaiza Rashid dreams of adventures through crystal caves. The Whitsunday Anglican School student said if she were to write a book, it would be filled with adventure, suspense and drama.

At this year's Whitsunday Voices Youth Literature Festival, Umaiza will be able to workshop her book ideas with some of Australia's best known children and young adult authors, illustrators and presenters, including adventure writer Allison Tait and author of Mao's Last Dancer Li Cunxin.

The Whitsunday Voices Youth Literature Festival is the largest youth literature festival north of the Sunshine Coast, and a signature event on Mackay's educational calendar.

More than 5000 students, educators and parents are expected to attend the three-day festival in July.

Mackay Regional Council mayor Greg Williamson said the festival was a unique opportunity for regional and rural students to experience a world-class literary event.

"The festival is leading with the passion for literature that improves our community tenfold.”

Tiana Sebastian, 8, said she had read almost every book in the Diary of a Wimpy kid series.

She said if she was going to write a book, it would be a journal about her day, filled with her own illustrations.

Elliot Eckman, 6, said his favourite book was Weirdo by Anh Do.

"It's about this weirdo who goes on adventures,” he said.

Elliot Ecklan, 6, with books by some of the authors appearing at the this year's Whitsunday Voices Youth Literature Festival.
Elliot Ecklan, 6, with books by some of the authors appearing at the this year's Whitsunday Voices Youth Literature Festival. Emma Murray

Festival manager Tonia Wilson said it was exciting to see the community's enthusiastic support for children's literacy. She said 48 local businesses had sponsored the event, which would ensure the festival would be as inclusive as possible.

Ms Wilson said travel subsidies and reduced ticket prices would enable more students from across the region to attend workshops and speaker events.

TICKETS

  • Whitsunday Voices Youth Literature Festival runs from Wednesday, July 17 to Friday, July 19
  • Buy tickets for all festival events at www.whitsundayvoices.com.au