Statement from the Director

Re THE 2020 CANBERRA WOMEN’S WRITERS FESTIVAL

As a Festival Director, sometimes one must make hard decisions, and today, unfortunately, I have had to make one. I am calling off the Festival for this year. Please understand my reasoning as below.

The COVID-19 virus itself is not particularly scary for average healthy Aussies.

BUT we have several presenters and numerous attendees appearing who are in the zone of those most likely to be affected, and some who are already immunocompromised. These people may be unwell by the time of the Festival and unable to appear. They may be unwilling to appear and or travel, or they may be in quarantine. They may also be home looking after or mourning affected family members. People worrying about the Festival is the last thing we need.

Ticket holders may not want to or be able to attend, might be sick or home looking after sick family members or quarantined, or mourning.  People may stay away in droves, leading to no/reduced ticket sales, which will threaten the ongoing viability of the Festival in coming years. The government may also ban mass gatherings as a preventative measure.

Transport and the venue may be impacted by reduced staff availability, commercial kitchens may be closed, and we may not be able to look after presenters and/or attendees in terms of food and shelter. That would suck. Hotels etc may be closed depending on whatever government restrictions are in place, and transport such as planes, etc may be curtailed and or shut down. All these factors impact how the Festival would run.

If people do attend the Festival and end up sick as a result, I will be heartbroken, and it’s not a risk I’m prepared to take at this point in time. 

I hope everyone can understand and appreciate my position on this, getting to this point has been gut-wrenching. I had hoped that we might have been able to avoid it, but things are not working out that way

Let’s just get through the next few months. Please look after yourself and your loved ones and each other. It might be a rough ride.

Cath Brinkley

Festival Director
3 March 2020