Words in Winter is a not-for-profit organisation (operating as Spa Country Events Inc). It is one of the broadest festivals in the Hepburn Shire region. Each town offers events that are organised by a volunteer Words in Winter committee or co-ordinator who creates their own unique program.

Words in Winter was founded in 2002 by David Hall and is now in its sixteenth year.

“The greatness of a culture can be found in its festivals.”

 Siddharth Katragadda

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

Our Festival Directors


Previous Festivals


2017 Origins
From fiction to a fresh view of the nation’s history; some of the nation’s best writers to local storytellers and bards; an unvarnished view on our refugee crisis; blended families and ‘rainbow’ families; launching of books from the weird and wonderful to the ancient art of fermenting; stories of hippy days to a crossword challenge; a hitchhiker’s guide to ceramics to tales of childhood eating; untold stories of Daylesford’s Lost Children to poetry from many cultures; this year’s program will amuse, enlighten, provoke and delight.

Festival Directors – Maia Irell and Kevin Childs.

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2016 Food for Thought
We’re in Daylesford, the golden triangle of food, so why not go with the most natural theme. From Alla Wolf-Tasker’s Lake House food demos to local foraging with Artist As Family to conversations on food politics with Milkwood Permaculture and Melliodora and Jonai Farms and Rohan Anderson and food for the mind with Arnold Zable, this festival packed a punch and fed our local souls.



Festival Directors – Maia Irell and Kevin Childs

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2015 The Tree of Life
How does your garden grow? All things botanical and horticultural will be discussed this year, with plenty to see and do.

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2014 Words on the Wildside
When was the last time you tried to push the envelope? When was the last time you felt really passionate about something? Have you ever tried to change the world?? These and more questions are pondered at this year’ winter festival.

Festival Directors – Jen Bray, Anne E Stewart, Mark Dickenson.

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2013 Hidden Treasures
 Hidden Treasures is this year’s theme and our diverse range of presenters will share stories of precious things. We are very rich here in this community – with history, with places of special significance, with local interest groups, with exceptional people, with arts, and ideas. This region has many hidden treasures beyond the gold and sparkling water.

Festival Directors – Jen Bray, Anne E Stewart, Mark Dickenson.

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2012 From Little Things
 Yes! Big things grow. From popular events like the Book Ball, Scrabblefest, Clever Town Challenge, and poetry readings to the wide range of new tempting offerings, the celebrations continue to please

Festival Directors – Jen Bray, Anne E Stewart, Mark Dickenson.

2010 Journeys
No matter how you look at it, life is indeed a journey, and every journey has its own special story. Rather fitting, then, that our many and varied stories this year should all tell of journeys.

Festival Directors – Glen Heyne, Sally van Rooden, Jenny Dickson, Lesley Hewitt, John van Rooden.

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