Counting down


Flyer01CTWF LitDin

Hi all,

This is a very exciting time in the lead up to the festival. I mean look who is coming to dinner –  Geraldine Doogue – wow!

To get us all into the swing of celebrating the written word Cairns Tropical Writers Festival Committee invite you all to our fundraiser Writing, Reading and Music with Seaman Dan and Catherine Titasey – happening Saturday 23rd August – yes this Saturday. Visit to get your tickets. You won’t get afternoon tea unless you have booked, paid and bring your ticket with you.

Seaman Dan launches his latest book Steady Steady – he may sing asong or two and Catherine Titasey will read from her book My Island Homicide.

To find out more about the fundraiser, Geraldine Doogue and her book – The Climb, Iain McCalman, Helene Young, Andrew Matthews and all the other amazing festival events and personalities visit

Seaman Dan




Hi everybody,

I’ve been a busy bee again – not all by myself – but as part of the Cairns Tropical Writers Festival committee. We didn’t get the grant money we applied for  – but the show must go on. So we have been fundraising and our first fundraiser “Tea For Two” went really well. Authors Josephine Moon – “The Tea Chest”  and Elizabeth Martin  – “Tea House in the Lime Trees” delighted the audience with insights into their lives, writing habits, research and some of the serendipities along the way.

So the news hot off the press on the next fundraiser. An afternoon tea celebrating Writing, Reading and Music in the tropical setting of Rydges Tradewinds Hotel in Cairns.

Seaman Dan an iconic Torres Strait Islander brings his singing, story telling talents and the release of his latest book – “Steady Steady”

He is joined for the afternoon by Catherine Titasey author of “My Island Homicide” – now there’s an intriguing title!

Bookings are essential for afternoon tea – please remember to bring your ticket with you –

For more details on the full festival programme visit

Emily the Emotional Onion

Emily the Emotional Onion

Hi everyone,

It’s been a while since I’ve posted – the Cairns Tropical Writers Festival has been keeping me very busy. However those wonderful folks at The School Magazine have published Emily the Emotional Onion in Countdown. So as it’s official now I thought I’d share it with you.

Read on and enjoy…


Emily cried. She cried all the time and no matter how hard her friends tried they could never find out why.
“Tell us please, Emily. Tell us why you cry. If we knew what made you cry maybe we could do something to help,” said Veronica the pumpkin.
“I can’t tell you, it’s just the way I am.”
“But when you cry,” said Angela the carrot, “it makes us think we’ve done something to upset you.”
“Oh! You don’t upset me – I just feel like crying a lot of the time, well most of the time. Okay – all of the time. I can’t seem to stop.”
“I’ve met other onions,” squeaked Ursula the pea, “and none of them cry like you. They did cry, but not all of the time. It makes it very hard to have any fun with you because you’re always crying and then that makes us want to run away. Then we think that makes us look mean so we come back, but you’re still crying.”
“Yes that’s the problem,” agreed Pia the tomato, “we’re getting sick of being with you!”
Emily howled.
“Oh Pia!” chorused the other vegetables.
“Well it’s true. It’s something we’ve all been thinking but never said.”
“She’s right,” sobbed Emily. “I go around making everyone miserable. I don’t know why you lot have bothered to stay my friends for so long. I mean look at me. I’m round, fat in the middle and all I have to wear is this tatty brown dress. I’m a mess. When I look at you, Pia, in your gorgeous red dress with that green tiara and Angela in your beautiful orange, floor length gown I feel so ugly. I’m the wrong shape too!”

“Excuse me,” huffed Veronica, “I’m the same shape as you, so are Ursula and Pia. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being round.”
“But Veronica …”
“I love my shape.”
“And if I was any other shape,” said Pia, “I wouldn’t be a tomato, Ursula wouldn’t be a pea and Veronica wouldn’t be a pumpkin. You need to be round – you’re an onion. If you were the same shape as Angela you wouldn’t be an onion anymore.”
“Maybe I don’t want to be an onion!”
“What do you mean,” gasped Veronica. “How can you say that?”
“I just think if I was something else I wouldn’t be so sad and emotional all of the time. Maybe if my dress was dark green and shiny like yours Veronica I might feel better; or if I was small like Ursula.”
“Emily I know I’m small, but I’m round too – just like you.”
“Yes but you have such a beautiful bright green dress.”
“Oh, Emily, you are a funny onion. You’re crying all the time because you want a new dress,” said Ursula.
“Yes, I want a new dress. I’d feel much better if I didn’t have to wear this tatty thing.”

 “You don’t have to keep wearing that old brown dress – why do you think it’s peeling off?
“I don’t know Ursula. All I know is, it’s getting worse each day and I don’t know what to do.”
“Emily you funny old thing, you’re an onion, you get a new dress every few weeks.”
“Where from?”
“You’re wearing it – silly – underneath the old one. That’s what is so special about onions. Once one dress gets old and tatty it peels off and underneath there is a beautiful new dress,” explained Veronica gently.
“Really!” sniffed Emily, drying her tears. “Show me.”
“Okay girls – help me peel,” said Angela. The vegetables went to work on Emily.
“There now, Emily – you’ve got your new dress.”
Emily looked down at her round shape in its beautiful new, pale yellow, silky dress and burst into tears.


Tea for Two


Tea for two


Hi all,

It’s been a while but I’ve been busy trying to put the program together for the Cairns Tropical Writers Festival – check out

The program will be launched at the wonderful ” Tea for Two” event planned for Friday 27th June in the Botanical Gardens, Cairns.

I said to a writing colleague recently that putting the program together was like doing a Rubic’s cube whilst drunk. Right when you think you have everything in place you notice one tiny little problem, you make the adjustment, but … that leads onto another tiny little adjustment and so on which brings a cascading effect of hugely demoralizing proportions.

I’ve taken a rest from fiddling for the moment. It will be ready for 27th June, it will be on the festival website and you will be able to start planning your festival experience. Which workshops, which chats, which book signings – so hard to choose. Seeing the program for the first time will be like opening a gorgeous box of chocolates. The difference is with a writers festival program it’s none fattening so you can gorge to your hearts’ content filling your head with knowledge and not gaining a single kilo!

I invite you all to “Tea for Two”, hosted by Tropical Writers Inc.  featuring the effervescent Elizabeth Martin and the intriguing talent of Josephine Moon.

Collins Booksellers of Smithfield will be managing the book sales.

It’s all coming together


Hi all,


The first Cairns Tropical Writers Festival brainstorming session in March brought an absolute flood of ideas, not just on the day but they continued to flow in via e-mail.

I’ve just got back from the second brainstorming meeting and it’s as if some sort of magical process is happening – a theme is developing the ideas are taking shape the programme seems to be almost putting itself together.

Thanks must go to those regional writers who travelled from as far afield as Townsville, Port Douglas, Mossman and even the outer reaches of Gordonvale.

It’s time for me to get some sheets of butchers paper so I can plot out the rough draft of how the two days – 13th and 14th September will look. Whatever happens it will be exciting.

Keep a close watch on for developments and the big news on our star presenters.

More Brainstorming.


Hello everyone,

This is a reminder that the next Brainstorming meeting will be:
Saturday 5th April at Rydges Tradewinds 10.00am – mid-day with complimentary morning tea/coffee.

We had a wonderful turn out to the meeting in March and since then have had so many fantastic suggestions for content in the public arena, workshop requests and workshop presenters stepping up to the plate.

Check out this link for photo’s of that first meeting.

The writers of this region are phenomenally talented and this shines through in the quality of proposed events, the ideas and suggestions which have come from as far afield as Townsville. This is what makes it so exciting for the committee.

I can see it all taking shape before my eyes.

If you can’t attend this session and have an event proposal please e-mail to me asap at

As many of you know Queensland Writers Centre QWC are sponsoring Veny Armanno ( senior lecturer in Creative Writing at QUT ), to present a Masterclass at the festival. Veny is keen to provide whatever the writers of this region request.

Check him out:

Please give some serious thought on content for his Masterclass – you can bring your ideas or send them to me in an e-mail at

On behalf of the committee I look forward to welcoming you all to another Brainstorming Odyssey!

Cairns Tropical Writers Festival 2014


 Diane and Tropical Writers Festival banner

Hi all,

I’ve been very quiet but very busy.  I spent the latter part of last year redrafting my children’s novel in preparation for online presentation to a publisher.  Online submissions are great; speedy, saves trees, saves on postage but you still go through the horrors of waiting to find out if that publisher is interested in your work. The guidelines said if the publisher didn’t get back to me inside 3 months then I had not been successful. Well … the deadline approaches – I’m feeling less than chirpy! However I have picked myself up dusted myself down and looked into other possiblities.  I can do something on Friday 31st January so I will.

Facing rejection after rejection is soul destroying so in order that I don’t completely loose faith in myself and my abilities, the other thing that has been absorbing my time recently is THE FESTIVAL! Yes Cairns Tropical Writers Festival is set to leap onto your calendar on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th September 2014.

My position on the committee is to represent the regional writers of far north Queensland in much the same way as I do on Regional Arts and Development Committee.

So read on and find out how you can become involved with the 2014 Cairns Tropical Writers Festival – an initiative of Tropical Writers Inc.

Your festival needs you and your ideas.

Saturday 1st March 2014 – 10.00am to midday.

I hope you are well rested and ready to launch into the festival year. 
CTWF committee has been busy behind the scenes for some months now but we’re at the point where we need your input.

The popular Public Arena is an integral part of Cairns Tropical Writers Festival – it is a fabulous opportunity for local and regional writers to showcase their talent.

The Festival committee has already received a number of innovative ideas for presentation in the arena but we want to offer yet another stimulating, entertaining and action packed programme. It’s been done before – three times – 2008, 2010 and 2012.

Can it be done again? Absolutely!

The venue for the fourth biennial Cairns Tropical Writers Festival is Rydges Tradewinds Esplanade – the same venue as 2012 and takes place over two days: Saturday 13th September and Sunday 14th September, with the Literary Dinner on Saturday evening.

Please join the Festival  committee on Saturday 1st March 2014 – 10.00am to midday for free morning tea served at 10.30am; poolside at Rydges Tradewinds Esplanade.

Take the opportunity to have a say in your festival. Network with other regional writers, stimulate your coffee buds and your brain cells for a fun morning of brainstorming. 

  • If you are unable to attend this meeting please take the time to complete the short survey. Just click on this link which will take you to Survey Monkey
  • We would really appreciate your feedback at each stage of the planning to ensure the program reflects Regional Writers current needs.  Your details will remain confidential.  We only ask that you include them so we can follow up on any suggestions or comments you make.

There will be a follow up meeting on Saturday 5th April 10.00am – midday for those of you who are willing to become more actively involved. Please put the date in your diary but I will send out a reminder.

  • For catering purposes it is very important to have numbers. Please RSVP to me –  Diane Finlay at I’d hate you to miss out on cake.
  • By spreading the word you will support the success of the 2014 Cairns Tropical Writers Festival and ensure that people in your network have the opportunity to be involved in an inspiring event.