Welcome to Words in Winter 


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.

If you would like to submit an event for this year’s festival, please submit your expression of interest here.

Our Platinum Sponsors


Festival Highlights from 2018

David Holmgren

Can a book change the world? David Holmgren, permaculture co-originator, explored the critical need of ecological writing for our transition to a carbon positive low-energy future.

Cate Kennedy

Author Cate Kennedy’s short story collections are currently on the VCE English syllabus. In this session she gave us an insider scoop on the stories, their themes, how she wrote them, and how we can craft our own short stories for assessment.

Slow Grains Panel

Hosted by Dr Miin Chan, this session was filled with the passion fueled stories of Australia’s pioneers in artisanal, small scale baking, from growers to millers, bakers, activists and researchers.

Clementine Ford

Best-selling author and feminist commentator, Clementine Ford was joined by festival director, Maia Irell and Lauren Mathews.

Poems of Change and Chance

Daylesford favourites, Ross Gillett, an Australian multi-award winning poet, and Richard Perry, a Canadian emeritus professor of Asian Arts read and discussed some of their favorite poems of Change and Chance.

Bain Attwood

Leading historian Bain Attwood discussed the impact of white settlement/invasion on Aboriginals in Central Victoria.

Festival Workshops

We had a fantastic line up of workshops  this year… From lyric writing, storytelling slams, learning to write for kids, to overcoming nerves with some spoken word poetry.

Shokoofeh Azar and Dee White

Kevin Childs asks rising star of Iranian literature, Shokoofeh Azar and prolific local author Dee White, how to write good fiction based on factual events.

Milkwood Permaculture

Nick Ritar showed us some low-tech mushroom cultivation methods and Nick and Kirsten Bradley shared some tips from their brand new book Milkwood – Real skills for down-to-earth living.

Snow on Snow

Renown harpsichordist Ann Morgan was joined by soprano Vivien Hamilton and Alison Catanach playing baroque flute. They played a delightful ‘winter’ themed programme of classical works.

Arnold Zable

A writer's journey: The humanising power of story

Arnold Zable, distinguished author and rights advocate convinced us of the power of storytelling, of how it can be inspired and change society.

Marieke Hardy and Mika Pediaditis

Daylesford locals Mika Pediaditis and Marieke Hardy chatted candidly about friendship and growing up.

2018 Competition Winners

Poetry Prize Winner

Venie Holmgren Environmental Poetry Award Winner:

Shari Kocher – Ode to Earth

Runners up: Michael Farrell – Nature is a Misreading, JP Quinton – The Dingo Poem.  Honourable mentions:  Connor Weightman – Plastic Free July,  Dennis Garvey – Three Teared Wedding Cake.

Typwriters in Cafes

Drusilla Dickenson-Bray

With and entertaining story about pillow forts…

Short Story Winner

Suzanne McKinley

With her story But You Always Have the Carbonara.

Story Slam Winner

Winner of the inaugural Mosquito Story Slam:

Rania Awad

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“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

Our Gold Sponsors


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