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Wrapping up The Big Sky Readers and Writers Festival 2022 in Geraldton with authors from Perth and interstate

Jamie Thannoo, Jessica Moroney and Lachlan AllenGeraldton Guardian
A dance lesson by Casa Blanca Dance Centre.
Camera IconA dance lesson by Casa Blanca Dance Centre. Credit: Jessica Moroney/Geraldton Guardian

The Big Sky Readers and Writers Festival has closed the book for another year, with authors from near and far returning home after offering their talent and passion to the Geraldton community.

The 17th year of festivities was another success and reflected this year’s festival theme and Greek phrase “to view a beautiful form”, Kaleidoscope.

The festival began with an opening night celebration at Geraldton Regional Library, attendees were treated to food and drink while listening to special guest authors, Holden Sheppard, Amanda Bridgeman, Emily Brugman, Brooke Dunnell, and Michael Trant.

Geraldton-born author Sheppard discussed developing as a young author, including a 30-minute rejection phone call from a publicist, and how he learned to use personal experience to make powerful pieces of writing.

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“That call forced me to write something real, and that’s where my experience in Geraldton came into play with Invisible Boys,” he said.

Tracey Snowball was awarded the Big Sky Short Story Prize for 2022, beating out five other finalists, to receive $500 cash and VIP access to the festival.

Highlights included the Geraldton Regional Art Gallery opening night, showcasing the Town Hall 1907-1984 exhibition and Banksia Ball 50th anniversary display.

The former town hall was covered with historical images of events captured throughout the years, with many donated by the Abdullah family.

The exhibition featured memories of the 1972 Banksia Ball in Geraldton, an important moment in Indigenous history and a turning point in the rights struggle.

Jill Abdullah said the art exhibition wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for her family, including her father and Indigenous rights activist George Abdullah. Ms Abdullah said she studied creative arts, and used her family’s collection of material to write a biography of her father.

Sue Graham, Jackie Shephard and Judy Rose.
Camera IconSue Graham, Jackie Shephard and Judy Rose. Credit: Jessica Moroney/Geraldton Guardian

“I’ve also found other ways to tell the story of dad, who he worked with and who were involved in the moving change to social, economic and emotional impacts of earlier times, which has enabled the many benefits we enjoy today,” she said.

Ms Abdullah said the Banksia Ball was one way her father could bring together differences and create harmony in the community.

“Dad was passionate, committed, charismatic and energetic, which enabled him to do the things that he loved. He was responsible for many things such as bringing the Aboriginal community together with the non-Aboriginal community. This joint approach has enabled Aboriginal people’s aspirations for the future,” she said.

Geraldton City Band performs at the Banksia Ball..
Camera IconGeraldton City Band performs at the Banksia Ball.. Credit: Jessica Moroney/Geraldton Guardian

The exhibition includes historical newspaper articles, history of World War I and II and other historical pieces to reflect a time capsule that celebrates 150 years of Geraldton’s local government. The Banksia Ball 50th anniversary exhibition was part of the Big Sky Readers and Writers Festival 2022.

Evelyn and Nickolas and Geronimos.
Camera IconEvelyn and Nickolas and Geronimos. Credit: Jessica Moroney/Geraldton Guardian

The exhibition is running at Geraldton Regional Art Gallery until November 20.

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