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3 June, 2021

Mackay gears up for Youth Literature Festival

WITH nearly 5,000 tickets sold in just one week, this year’s Whitsunday Voices Youth Literature Festival is gearing up to be a show-stopping event.

Gracie Ramsay, Anna Tamsaouit, Yvette Iturbe, Grace Tamsaouit and Jayden Wong.
Gracie Ramsay, Anna Tamsaouit, Yvette Iturbe, Grace Tamsaouit and Jayden Wong.

Major partners and sponsors gathered today at the Festival Business Partners and Program Launch, with Mackay Mayor, Mr Greg Williamson, opening the event.

Mr Williamson noted the large number of sponsors in the room, adding that Mackay “punched above its weight” when it came to supporting local events that made a difference.

This year the Festival is proud to work with 50 local business partners, without whom the Festival could not take place. Festival Manager, Tracey Gurdler, said she was overwhelmed with the contribution of Mackay businesses.

“Because of their support, our children are inspired and educated every year by some of the best Australia has to offer in the world of literature," she said.

“We thank our Business Partners for valuing the education of our youth, for valuing their future, and for opening up their world to what lies beyond the pages.

“It is so important in a modern world to get our children reading more than their social media, and writing more than a status update on their iPhones.”

Whitsunday Anglican School Principal, Mr Andrew Wheaton, said he was looking forward to another great event in 2021, particularly as the Festival was unable to go ahead in 2020.

“As a parent and as a Principal, what I see from this Festival is children developing a love of literature, books piled up at home and heads buried in a novel each night… this is incredibly powerful,” Mr Wheaton said.

“Literacy is such a critical skill for our young men and women to be able to embrace the future world – a world which we can only imagine, where the only constant is change.

Dr Varai Ncomanzi and Festival Manager Tracey Gurdler
Dr Varai Ncomanzi and Festival Manager Tracey Gurdler

“One of the most poignant aspects of the Festival is that it provides an opportunity for students in regional and rural areas to experience a world class literature event.”

Schools and members of the public who have not secured tickets are urged to get in fast, for both the Festival and Literary Dinner.

Tickets and a full Festival Program are available online at:

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