On Saturday, international bestselling author Markus Zusak headlined StoryFest’s sold-out launch at Milton Theatre.
Attendees were transfixed as the The Book Thief author discussed his writing process, shared writing tips and explained how he attempted to convince his children that writing some 1.9 words per day for his new book constituted “work”.
Zusak admitted that when he wrote The Book Thief he didn’t think anyone would want to read it.
But a three-minute interview on Good Morning America catapulted the book to the New York bestseller’s list where it stayed for more than a decade. He talked about his connection to the local area with endearing charm, saying how he loved waking up early and walking his two dogs on the beach or in the hinterland.
Attendees at the StoryFest launch were some of the first in the world to hear Zusak read from his highly-anticipated new novel, Bridge of Clay. Scheduled for release in October, it has pre-sold more than 500,000 copies in the US alone. He will shortly commence an 18-month global publicity tour to promote Bridge of Clay and Milton was lucky enough to be the first stop.
The festival’s launch was the first fundraiser for StoryFest, a brand new festival to be held at various venues in the Milton-Mollymook-Ulladulla area on June 21 and 22, 2019.
Festival director Meredith Jaffé said the idea for a literary-type festival had been “percolating” for some time. Locals will be well aware of the enormous amount of goodwill generated by the team behind saving Milton Library. It was only a matter of time this passion for books and reading would extend to a festival.
“We want to celebrate everything we love about storytelling and share this wonderful area with visitors at a typically quiet time of year,” Jaffé said.
Ms Jaffé gave a brief run-down of the inaugural festival which commences on Friday, June 21 with creative writing workshops and two dinners. On June 22, there will be 15 events held across thee venues, including children’s events, culminating in a gala dinner with an internationally recognised Australian author.
In a brief Q and A one attendee recommended Mr Zusak visit Ulladulla High School for a talk to senior students, which drew an applause from the audience.
Organisers were extremely grateful to Mr Zusak who was so generous with his time, staying well into the night signing copies of his books and meeting fans.
To get involved with next year’s festival visit www.storyfest.org.au.