Ignite your imagination with a stellar literary lineup against a beautiful coastal backdrop.

Is it the pale gums, the other-worldly blues of the ocean or the exceptional wine of the Margaret River region that draws such rich creativity from its residents? Whatever it is, “there’s an incredible community of storytellers in WA”, according to Sian Baker, creative director of the Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival (17-19 May).

Now in its 16th year and expecting up to 10,000 visitors, the festival has morphed from a small community gathering into a world-class literary event and, for the first time post-COVID, will welcome a slew of international guests in 2024.

Hosted in Margaret River town as well as nearby Busselton, free readings, workshops and children’s storytelling activities pepper the lineup. There are also popular ticketed events, such as the opportunity to share a three-course meal with legendary British philosopher and author A.C. Grayling at Voyager Estate. Holly Ringland (The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart) is the guest of honour at Saturday night’s dinner at Shelter Brewing Co. in Busselton, while arts hub Nala Bardip Mia – Margaret River HEART will host Scottish writer Andrew O’Hagan (Mayflies) for a discussion about his new novel, Caledonian Road.

Holly Ringland

“There’s no vibe of exclusivity, just people coming together to celebrate a love of storytelling,” says Baker. “That’s the true spirit of the festival.”

Make it a weekend

A morning swim at crystalline Gnarabup Beach is a gentle way to start the day, before ordering smashed pumpkin and dukkah on sourdough at local favourite White Elephant Cafe. A little later, snacks from Charcuterie Margaret River paired with a Vasse Felix chardonnay on a deserted beach equals a lunch to remember.

When it’s time to turn in, Cape Lodge and its vineyard setting make for a peaceful place to lay your head. The on-site eatery, fed by produce from its kitchen garden and neighbouring farms, serves delicious food – especially the Fremantle cuttlefish with capsicum and tomato.

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SEE ALSO: 10 Reasons Why WA Should Be on Your Radar

Image credit: Robert Frith. Daniel Boud

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