Pre-programme launch night at the Woodshed.

What a tremendous start to this year’s festival season! Thank you to everyone who turned up at the Friday night pre-programme launch to celebrate the start of another year of Words in Winter.

crowd of people in a room

Great crowd at the Woodshed.


We eased into the evening with some smooth sounds on keyboard from Marlin Toner and a short set from talented singer and guitarist Alfie Pleasance. Such great talent from the our local high-school.

person singing and playing guitar

Alfie playing great music

The music was accompanied by a lovely beverage or two (thank you Passing Clouds, Daylesford Cider, Daylesford Brewing co and Daylesford and Hepburn Springs Mineral Co for the wine, cider, beer and mineral water…!) and heaps of delicious food from Spade to Blade.

A great selection of drinks

Amazing food from Spade to Blade


We were welcomed to the evening by David Hall who we have to thank for starting Words in Winter sixteen long winters ago. He took us on a little trip down memory lane by describing festivals past and the people who helped make them happen.

David Hall and Kevin Childs showing one of the first programmes

Maia Irell gave an emotional welcome to this year’s festival that reminded us all how lucky we are to live in such an amazing community like Daylesford, where people support and celebrate such festivals.

Maia Irell and Kevin Childs


Kevin Childs gave us a quick run down on a few of the great speakers coming this year, such as Shokoofeh Azar whose book The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree was shortlisted for the 2018 Stella prize, and the historians Cassandra Pybus and Bain Attwood, both of whom have produced ground breaking books on Aboriginal history in the days of settlement.

Kevin Childs giving us a rundown on this year’s highlights

Joanne Tsakoumagos read us an excerpt from The Sonnets to Orpheus by Rainer Maria Rilke… and a beautiful E. E. Cummings poem.

Jo reading poetry

She later sang a Greek folk song that the women in her family taught her, and her daughter provided a spontaneous harmony that made the moment quite magical.

Jo and her daughter singing

Throughout the evening we were coerced out of our cash by a gang of short but ruthless raffle ticket sellers (thanks kids!) raising money for the festival. A huge thanks to David Holmgren for donating his latest book ‘Retrosuburbia’ to the night. We look forward to hearing David talk about his now internationally famous book at Words in Winter.

A happy crowd at the Woodshed

We are so excited about this year’s festival and so grateful for the support of everyone who has volunteered and donated.

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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.