Celia Waldron

Back live after two years of cancellations, Words in Winter 2022 was smaller but seemed more intimate and was enhanced by two very different venues conveniently located across the road from each other in Hepburn Springs – Bellinzona Hotel and Radius Art Gallery, recently opened with raw with red tin roof and creepers crawling between the top of whitewashed walls and the red roof junction.

A small collection of recent pottery on an antique table greeted participants at the Gallery. Around a partition into the main exhibition space was a long table crafted from the trunk of a tree. To the left, wine bottles and glasses promised welcome hospitality.

The Gallery counter adjacent was ready for the workshop participants to arrive. Six in all, a good and friendly size for a workshop, planned to involve each participant and their writing. Once gathered, the convener briefed the group on her plan to discuss the works of participants. Any shyness dissipated as each was read by its author and reactions invited and shared.

Across the road, upstairs at Bellinzona Hotel,  the audience gathered in a stark white, elegant room with a view across the wide veranda to the tree tops and hedges of Hepburn Springs. The room is elegant in character – a modern and subtle interpretation in black and white of traditional pub tartan carpet of old. Bold charcoal prints adorn the white walls.

Carmel Bird in conversation about writing with Dennis Altman was entertaining and stimulating. Both are renowned Tasmanian writers who know each other well and bounced ideas in this conversation. Ready laughter seemed to support the joy of conversation between these two renowned Tasmanian writers lending authenticity to their conversation. It was a conversation about aspects of locations that I know personally, as I expect may have been the case for others in the audience of forty or so.

Carmel enhanced the importance of “Place “ in this event, dressed in an interesting combination of green taffeta, gentle embroidered black top, and a fun, felt flower, contrasting with her white curly hair. Dennis was in thick velvet trousers and checked shirt reminiscent of Tasmanian rural life.

A sense of “ Place” continued as the audience slowly moved to the Lounge Bar, open fire, deep leather armchairs and couches, inviting conversation and conviviality.

Congratulations to the team that brought Words in Winter alive again and may it continue to live on.

Thanks to sponsors Radius Gallery, Community Bank Daylesford District, Belle Property, Hepburn Shire Council, Hepburn Distillery, Hotel Bellinzina, Pace, Passing Clouds Winery and Lost Magazine, without whom it may not have been possible. Warm thanks are due to you all.