Bellingen Readers Writers Fest Announces Second Line Up

Second round of the BRWF features Good News. Paul McDermott, Claire Hooper and Mikey Robbins join authors Mohammed Massoud Morsi, Jenny Valentish and Ramona Koval.


THE second round of authors have been announced for the Bellingen Readers Writers Festival (BRWF).

It features a reunion of authors and television personalities from the much loved television program Good News aired on ABC and later Channel Ten.

Paul McDermott, Claire Hooper and Mikey Robins will hit the stage on Sunday night for a special Good News-worthy closing festival event.

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Paul McDermott has written for the stage, television and for film.

He began his career in the Doug Anthony All Stars and went on to create TV shows such as The Big Gig, DAAS Kapital, Good News Week, The Side/Show, SBS’s Room 101 and the ABC’s Think Tank.

Adam Norris, Head of Programming revealed the second round of authors.

“Across the June long weekend close to 40 authors and special guests will arrive in town in a flurry of typewriters, bookmarks and literary chutzpah.

“With the Poetry Slam once again acting as the traditional Friday start of the festival, we’ve been hard at work building a Sunday closing event to knock the dust off your jacket and, well, we think we nailed it.”

The trio will also feature in other events during the weekend.

They are joined by three other authors announced in the second reveal.

Mohammed Massoud Morsi, Jenny Valentish and Ramona Koval are appearing in multiple events across the three days.

Morsi spent almost two decades as a freelance journalist and photographer immersed in communities with forgotten people and conflicts around the world.

Born in Copenhagen to Egyptian parents and now living in Perth, his work has been published in all three of his languages.

Morsi’s intimate images and the nuance of his prose, whether from the edge of an AIDS hospital bed, from a rubbish dump with rubbish pickers in Cambodia, from the turmoil of the Gaza Strip or in South Lebanon, all reflect his deep sense of justice.

Jenny’s second non-fiction book, Everything Harder Than Everyone Else is an immersive look at why some people push their bodies to extremes.

It follows her 2017 research-memoir, Woman of Substances, which led to an appointment as a board director of SMART Recovery Australia and consultancy and ambassador roles in the drug and alcohol field.

Her other books are Cherry Bomb, a novel set in the music industry, and the anthology she co-edited, Your Mother Would Be Proud.

As a journalist she contributes to The Guardian, The Age, ABC and The Monthly.

Ramona Koval is a Melbourne writer, journalist, broadcaster and editor.

From 2016 to 2011 she presented Radio National’s Book Show, and she has written for The Age and The Australian.

She is the author of By the Book: A Reader’s Guide to Life, and Bloodhound: Searching For My Father.

Her latest book, A Letter to Layla: Travels to Our Deep Past and Near Future, was published in 2020.

Mr Norris said diversity is woven into the fabric of the festival.

“Diversity is something the festival has always done its utmost to represent, especially our Indigenous community and women.

“Jess Hill will be a remarkable addition and her book See What You Made Me Do won the Stellar Prize and it will be a terrific conversation.

“There will be really strong voices represented of Indigenous writers and women writers of fiction and nonfiction.”

Mr Norris said there wasn’t a theme as such this year but nevertheless audiences can expect a strong festival.


By Sandra MOON


Paul McDermott will reunite with fellow comedians Claire Hooper and Mikey Robins on Sunday night.

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