Somerset Times

A Festival of Disruptive Ideas

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“Giving books our undivided attention is an action of loving devotion that palpably stills our bodies, opens our minds and nourishes our souls,” Jane Gleeson-White.

"Reading is so important to children and society. Deprive children of books and stories and you deprive them of history, heroes, of lessons in how to live, of how to find your way around. There are few things as important as a story and a book is the best way for a story to be told. It engages you. You become the main character and that is compelling," Paul Jennings.

MBR Festival Welcome 2017

The Somerset Celebration of Literature is primarily a literature festival concerned with infusing people of all ages with a passion for reading and writing. Over its 24 years, the festival has grown and changed in a multitude of ways; with change and innovation being the one constant. Song, theatre, music, slam poetry and performance art are but a few of the ways in which the festival has reinvented itself and yet, at the very heart and soul of the festival, lies the belief of the primacy of the narrative.

The 19th century American poet, Emily Dickenson said:

Heaven is what I cannot reach
The apple in the tree
Provided it do hopeless hang
That Heaven is to me.

Dickenson’s metaphor refers to the significance of the life of the mind and the soul; to the need for intellectual aspiration and spiritual succour in our lives. To her, worthwhile things are not always easily grasped (the apple that hangs just out of reach) or conversely, what is easy to grasp is often not worth retaining. In our increasingly post-truth world, this truth is doubly potent. By reading and extending ones horizons, one understands that the universal truths in literature can transcend mere facts and by doing so, help us to sift out the half-truths and give each one of us meaningful directions in our individual journeys.

Literature then, in all its permutations, is more relevant today that it ever was!

We understand that the sign of a vibrant and thriving culture is one that has a flourishing system of artists, writers, musicians, thinkers and scientists; people who value the narrative and challenge us to hold the mirror up to our society; and yet, just as importantly, a culture also needs people who can read and critique and discriminate and argue and participate – intelligently - in the debate on the important issues in society. Books help us in this endeavour.

We are convinced that the Somerset Celebration of Literature contributes to the building of a vibrant and thriving culture on the Gold Coast; one that recognises the relevance of the story and rejoices in disruptive, innovative and compelling ideas.

We are delighted to be your hosts and we know that you will have fun, be stimulated and feel welcome at the College over three balmy days of a Gold Coast Autumn.

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