Bendigo Writers Festival – August 10–12
Writers don’t get out much. So, it’s important to support them with much-needed social contact whenever they do. Perhaps the most appealing location in which this reclusive species comes together is Bendigo, where the city’s annual writers festival is celebrating its seventh year. A generous swathe of Australia’s finest writers will be in attendance, including Stella Prize-winning novelist Charlotte Wood, historian Bruce Pascoe (Dark Emu), journalist and fearless feminist champion Tracey Spicer and exemplary Wiradjuri poet Jeanine Leane. On the local front, photographer Darron Davies asked the children of Dunolly to answer his images of abandoned goldfield sites with their own poetry and prose for the exhibition Responding Lines, while writer Mark Brandi worked with five Central Victorians to develop a collection inspired by Bendigo’s historical mining destination Whipstick Gully; the book will be launched at Eaglehawk Library. And in her Regional Centre for Culture festival address, The Nomadic Mind, Tracks author Robyn Davidson will discuss the loss of pre-agricultural economies and the value of travelling and taking risks. More information

It Takes a Child to Grow a Village by Ann Ferguson – August 2 to September 3
Our political leaders are like children squabbling in a sandpit. So why not hand over control to literal children? Castlemaine artist Ann Ferguson is set to do just that, employing local preschoolers to build tiny ceramic buildings while in kindergartens and day-care centres. They’ll then be used to populate an interactive exhibition at the Central Goldfields Art Gallery. But will the results be more Lilliputian or Lord of the Flies? You’ll have to head up to Maryborough to find out. More information

Another Day in Paradise by Myuran Sukumaran – July 6 to September 16
Myuran Sukumaran’s short life was marked by tragedy. The son of Sri Lankan Tamil immigrants, his early years were marked by bullying and racism. In his early twenties, Sukumaran became involved in smuggling drugs between Indonesia and Australia, and in 2015 he was executed by a firing squad for that fatal mistake. But, in between, the glimmering rays of another kind of life emerged in Sukumaran, who began painting in Kerobokan Prison. Under the tutelage of Ben Quilty, he developed a bold, direct style of his own, and began mentoring other prisoners on death row. Whatever your thoughts on Sukumaran, this survey of the artist’s body of work at the Bendigo Art Gallery will challenge your ideas on how much one person can change. More information

Words in Winter, Literary Festival – August 17–26
Words in Winter has a central edition in Daylesford, but its tentacles reach into other RCC communities, including Creswick, Clunes, Trentham and Maryborough. Winters are pretty fresh in these parts... so it makes perfect sense that Central Victorians would retreat to their firesides with a good book. The Words in Winter festival, which has been running since 2002, celebrates that hallowed activity. Highlights for the 2018 Daylesford edition include permaculture pioneer David Holmgren, who’ll discuss ecological writing with Maya Ward, the author of The Comfort of Water; short fiction writer Cate Kennedy, who will host a three-day writing workshop; and human rights activist Arnold Zable on the power of storytelling. There’s also an extensive series of workshops covering children’s writing, gourmet mushroom cultivation and improving your skills as a spoken-word poet. Beyond Daylesford, Trentham will host a discussion of dystopian fiction (complete with reading list), contemporary and bush poetry, and a screening of the classic Australian coming-of-age film The Getting of Wisdom, among other offerings. And closer to Maryborough, the Dunolly Arts Hub will host Stories of Love, an intimate conversation with regional romance authors Nicole Hurley-Moore and Stacey McCoy, paired with an afternoon high tea. More information

Vantage Point by Tara Gilbee – September 24– 29
Using old-school camera-free photographic techniques such as the camera obscura – an uncanny projection most famously used by Vermeer – artist Tara Gilbee will transform the Old Castlemaine Gaol into a metaphoric space that allows visitors to interrogate the very act of viewing. High concept to be sure, but the Rick Amor Prize-shortlisted artist is playing with some very concrete ideas of our sociopolitical history embodied in the physical presence of the disused prison. More information

Enlighten: Festival of Projection in Bendigo – August 29–31
After-dark festivals have been snaking their way around the country in recent years. One of these is Bendigo, thanks to the Enlighten Festival of Projection. Drawing on the talents of local artists, the fest was first held in 2016, when Enlighten lit up the conservatory gardens. In 2018, it’s back on a much bigger scale: over three nights, digital canvases will pop up in intimate and sometimes hidden spaces of the Bendigo CBD, from Rosalind Park to Town Hall. More Information

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In Celebration of the Pudding: 100 Years of the Magic Pudding – July 14 to October
The Magic Pudding was invented to settle a bet. Norman Lindsay told his mate Bertram Stevens that kids would rather read about food than fairies. So he wrote a book to prove it. One hundred years later, and The Magic Pudding’s still in print – and that creepy, cranky, tub-headed dessert man is still haunting kids’ dreams to this day. To celebrate the centenary of this Australian classic, Creswick Museum is hosting an exhibition of Lindsay’s illustrations, as well as sculptures, toys, and costumes based on the book. More information

This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with the Regional Centre of Culture 2018.