Bendigo Writers Festival 2018

August 11-13, 2017


Whipstick Writing Project

Are you ready to go prospecting in the Whipstick– for stories?

Bendigo Writers Festival, with the support of Creative Victoria’s Regional Centre for Culture, is inviting five Central Victorians to work with writer Mark Brandi, to develop a story for publication.

Mark will conduct an intensive full-day workshop at the Eaglehawk Library, on Saturday 21 April.

Participants will work with Mark to develop a piece of writing with “Whipstick” as the starting point.

Follow-up consultations in May will polish the writing – short story, essay, poem or script – ready for publication.

The resulting collection will be published in book form, and launched at Eaglehawk Library in the week prior to Bendigo Writers Festival, August 10-12.

How to apply

Applications to take part in the workshop intensive and follow-up consultation with Mark Brandi open from March 1 and close Friday March 30.


Apply by email to


Your application should include 1) a short description of an idea for a piece of writing inspired by the Whipstick (this may change during the workshop process, so it’s just to get you thinking) and 2) a couple of sentences on why you’d like to take part in this project.


We’ll announce the successful participants in the first week of April, and confirm your attendance at the full-day workshop on April 21.


Need more information?

If you have a question about the Whipstick writing project, please send an email to BWF director, Rosemary Sorensen,



About Mark Brandi

Mark Brandi’s first novel, Wimmera, won the British Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger, and is currently shortlisted for Best Debut in the 2018 Indie Awards.

His shorter work has appeared in The Guardian, The Age, The Big Issue, and in numerous journals both here and overseas. His writing is also sometimes heard on ABC Radio National.

Originally from Italy, growing up in a central Victorian town north of the Whipstick continues to influence his creative focus. He now lives in Melbourne and is working on his next book.


About the Whipstick

In 1884, an article in the Bendigo Advertiser bemoaned the removal from the Whipstick forest, north of Bendigo, of a “fine crushing plant”, that had been erected by the Homeward Bound company.

“It is known to most residents of the Bendigo District,” the article stated, “that there is a great field for prospecting in the vast area lying to the north of Sandhurst, and known by the comprehensive title of the Whipstick.”

First the Indigenous people of the region were pushed out by the huge post-settlement land grab, then those same station-owners saw their newly acquired territory invaded by gold-diggers. While vast tracts of land was dug over and devastated by the gold-lust of the era, the Whipstick resisted some of the worst depredations.

It was just too dry, too impenetrable, and too tough.

Now, the Whipstick is a wedge of forest that runs from the outer edge of Eaglehawk shire, through to the wheat plains north of Kamarooka.

While it can bloom with wildflowers after a wet winter, the scarcity of water means the vegetation is spindly, twisting, disconcerting. That – and the fact it was home to goldrush renegades – is why it is known as a haunted landscape, mysterious and strange.

Image: Kamarooka Track, Whipstick forest, photo Keith Stockwell

March 4 Jacqui Lambie

Authentic, heartfelt, unscripted

Meet Jacqui Lambie: “Rebel with a Cause”

Bendigo Writers Festival’s “Bookmark at The Capital” series presents former soldier, Senator and campaigner, Jacqui Lambie, talking about her autobiography, Rebel with a Cause.

This is the story of a working-class girl from Tasmania, her army years and medical discharge, the tough aftermath and rebuilding, her determination to beat unfair bureaucracy, her roller-coaster time as a politician.

Funny, honest and determined: Rebel with a Cause is a unique and inspiring memoir.

Bendigo Writers Festival Bookmarks at The Capital thanks Allen and Unwin and Dymocks Bendigo for their support.


Jacqui Lambie: 3pm, Sunday March 4, Banquet Room, The Capital, 50 View Street.

Tickets $8

Book at The Capital box office: (03) 5434 6100 or online

Rebel with a Cause by Jacqui Lambie is published Feb 21 by Allen and Unwin, $29.99


In an extraordinary investigation undertaken over 10 years, investigative journalist Chris Masters opens up the heart of Australia’s Special Forces and their war in Afghanistan.

He gives voice to the soldiers, he takes us to the centre of some of the fiercest combat Australia has

ever experienced and provides the most intimate examination of what it is like to be a member of this country’s elite fighting forces.

He also asks difficult questions that reveal controversial clouds hanging over our Special Operations mission in Afghanistan.

“What has been discovered and laid before you is as tough an investigation mission as I’ve ever undertaken…In journalism speak, I worked both inside and outside the tent.” Chris Masters

Masterfully told, No Front Line will find a place as one of Australia’s finest books on contemporary soldiering.


CHRIS MASTERS won Australia’s most prestigious award in journalism, the Gold Walkley for his Four

Corners report on the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior. His reports ‘The Big League’ and ‘The Moonlight State’ both led to royal commissions that helped transform the nation. The author of the bestselling Jonestown (2006), his previous book is the critically acclaimed Uncommon Soldier.



Chris Masters in conversation with Sian Gard from ABC Central Victoria, a Bendigo Writers Festival Bookmark event: FREE but bookings essential. Capital box office 5434 6100 or online.



Buist & Simsion in Maryborough

Charmed by The Rosie Project? You are going to love Two Steps Forward.

And if you have ever day-dreamed about walking the Camino across the top of Spain, then here’s the novel that may just have you packing your bags and setting off.

Written by Anne Buist (Medea’s Curse, Dangerous to Know) and her husband, Graeme Simsion (The Rosie Project, The Rosie Effect, The Best of Adam Sharp), Two Steps Forward takes you on a madly adventurous 2000 km journey.



Where to go.