17th – 26th August 2018

Welcome to Words in Winter 2018


Words in Winter is an annual literary and arts festival held in August each year in the Hepburn Shire and surrounding districts. Words in Winter is a celebration of words, stories and ideas in all their forms shared by locals and visiting presenters through readings, poetry, theatre, music, talks, workshops, visiting authors, and exhibitions.

Words In Winter is supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria.

Our Platinum Sponsors


Festival Highlights

Festival Workshops

11th – 26th August 2018

We have a fantastic line up of workshops for you to check out this year… Try your hand at lyric writing, join a storytelling slam, learn to write for kids, or overcome your nerves and try some spoken word poetry.

find out more

David Holmgren.

2pm, 18th August 2018

Can a Book Change the World? Join David Holmgren, permaculture co-originator, as he explores the critical need and possibility of ecological writing for our transition to a carbon positive low-energy future. Music by Charlie McGee.

Cate Kennedy

11am, Saturday 18th August 2018

Like a House on Fire and other stories: The insider scoop! Author Cate Kennedy’s short story collections are currently on the VCE English syllabus In this session she will be giving an insider scoop on the stories, their themes, how she wrote them, and how to craft your own short stories for assessment.


Arnold Zable

5.30pm, Friday 17th August 2018

A writer’s journey: The humanising power of story Arnold Zable, distinguished author and rights advocate on the power of storytelling, how it can be inspired and change society.


Festival Competitions

Short Story Comp.

15th July 2018 Deadline!

Calling all budding Wordsmiths… this is your chance to win $500 just by penning your thoughts on this year’s theme, Change and Chance.

Only $10 to enter so sharpen your pencils (or um, open that Word Document…) and get going.

Enter Here

Kid’s Story Comp.

Deadline 4pm Thur 16th August 2018

Kids, It’s time to get writing! Talk to your school about how you can enter the Children’s Writing Award as part of Words in Winter 2018. Your story can be about ‘Chance and Change’ or the 2018 Book Week Topic ‘Find your Treasure’. Winners will be announced at Daylesford Town Hall at 11am on Saturday August 25th.

Download Flyer

Poetry Competition

20th July 2018 deadline.

The Venie Holmgren Environmental Poetry Prize is now open for submissions for 2018. There’s $1000 to be won and the shortlist and winner will be announced during the festival. The judges this year are Jessica Wilkinson and Stuart Cooke. Only $10 to enter.

Enter Here

Trivia Night.

Thursday 9th August 2018

Test your wits against the best minds in town (or at least some clever literary types). Get a group of 2-10 together and come along to the Woodshed for our trivia night. You will have the chance to win some great prizes and meet new friends! Tickets are $10 and all proceeds go to Words in Winter 2018.

Details coming soon.

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From the festival director’s desk

First of all, we acknowledge the Dja Dja Wurrung, the Traditional Owners of the land on which Words In Winter is held.

This is the 16th annual Words In Winter writers’ festival! This is the third year that Kevin and I have run this festival, and it’s impossible to thank festival creators David and Lorelle Hall enough for bringing the warmth of community and shared experience to the unforgiving, cold month of August in Daylesford. Londoners even swear it’s colder here!

This year, we have combined our experience and talents to curate what we believe is a thoughtful and moving programme, with a theme of “Change and Chance”.

A twist of fate, a happy accident, an uncanny coincidence… how often have our lives and our futures been transformed and transfigured by the invisible hand of fortune? This is what we hope to explore over two weekends days in August. Join us as we warm ourselves around the hearth of electrifying ideas and stimulating conversations.

To help us, we’ve brought together some of the best thinkers, writers, poets and musicians in our region and beyond. You’ll experience intimate personal moments and compelling panel discussions as we tease out what it means to spin the wheel and roll the dice as the pace of innovation and disruption increases around us.

The countdown is on, so get ready for the launch of Words In Winter 2018 and early bird tickets.

Maia Irell, Festival Director

“We live by stories. It’s the principle by which we organize our experience and thus derive our sense of who we are. ”

Tobias Wolf

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Words in Winter is an annual literary and arts festival held in August each year in the Hepburn Shire and surrounding districts.