About Us

Newstead Short Story Tattoo is an arts-music-storytelling event that mixes academics with artists, politics with fiction, history with poetry, orators with musicians, and new voices with literary masters. It has been described as a “courageous event” that covers a broader brief than the major writers festivals.  Instead the “Tattoo” encourages and supports storytelling in all its forms: spoken word, oration, performance, music, dance, academia, theatre alongside other modes.  A weekend full of themed sessions, the Newstead event has held such events as  Sleazy Stories, Horror Stories, Earth Stories, Fire Stories, Story Songs, Love Stores, Footy Stories, Women’s Stories, War Stories and many more.

The 2015 event represents the fourth such festival,  having seen wonderful writers, performers and identities such a Gareth Lydiard (The Drones), Cate Kennedy, Courtney Collins, Josephine Rowe, Gary Foley, Don Walker, Martin Flanagan, and many more. The 2015 event has secured the appearance of Christos Tsiolkas (The Slap), firebrand Feminist Clementine Ford,  Joe Dolce , Annabel Tellis (The Book of Shane Warne Love Poetry), the sassy and scintillating Bella Frisky, and Aboriginal activist, actor, artist, and agitator Gary Foley, who will be bringing a world first via the inaugural Gary Foley Lecture, as a part of the parochial Anarchism, Activism, Asperger’s and Advocacy session. It is also hoped that Aboriginal filmmaker, artist and art critic Richard Bell will be, as a part of the lecture, screening his 2013 film The Dinner Party. Another tasty session is Food StoriesFood Stories will key into the local Italian-Swiss heritage through enjoying Sunday lunch with famous singer, songwriter, musician,  poet (and secret cook!)  Joe Dolce.  The Newstead Community Garden will facilitate a “cook up” with Joe’s secret pizza recipe whilst Joe entrances us with his stories, songs, and his food.  Opening night to the Newstead Short Story Tattoo features the super cool,  and sassy talents of Kirsten Boerema and Bella Frisky in Friday Night Jazz Club.  Kirsten Boerema is the Music Coordinator at Castlemaine Secondary College and is an accomplished, decorated, world class opera singer and multi-lingual performer. This will knock your socks off!  Our signature outdoor event Fire Stories is also hosting a cut-through array of storytellers including Stereo Stories, Klare Lanson, Fraser McKay and Rhonda Baum, Kirsten Krauth to name a few.  Lucky local writers Annie Drum, Melinda Kallasmaewon” their way into reading with Christos Tsiolkas at the Masters and Apprentices session;  supporting these two emerging talents is a must amidst thoroughbred literary talent. Seminal literary journal Going Down Swinging will also be presenting “Brunch Stories”, showcasing the immense talent and word-power this important journal has produced and promoted.

Newstead Short Story Tattoo is a private event that does not seek government funding, yet supports local and non-local writers, artists, schools and students, publishers of stories,  and local businesses in a meaningful way whilst including and inviting community engagement at all levels.  Community organisations involved with this years’ festival are the Newstead Race Course, the Newstead Community Library, the Newstead Community Centre, the Newstead Community Garden.

Newstead Short Story Tattoo is a biennial event.

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