Sunshine Coast authors Emily Larkin, Michelle Law, Lynette Noni and Tash Turgoose all started their writing journeys on the Sunshine Coast and are now taking the publishing world by storm.

Students and the Sunshine Coast community can hear their story, and those of 32 other writers, illustrators and performers at this year’s Voices on the Coast – a literature festival hosted by Immanuel Lutheran College and USC Sunshine Coast.

A festival for all ages, Voices on the Coast will be held from 18 to 21 July. To be held at USC, 158 different talks and workshops will cater for up to 5,000 attendees where students and the general public can register to attend as many of the talks or workshops as they like.

In 1996, teachers from Immanuel Lutheran College organised an event to inspire young people to love reading, writing and illustration. Fast forward twenty-two years and Voices on the Coast is one of Queensland’s leading youth literature festivals.

Proudly presented by Immanuel Lutheran College and USC, Voices Co-ordinator Kelly Dunham has seen the event grow in popularity but some things remain the same.

“Festivals like Voices aim to instil a lifelong love of reading; to encourage children and adults to escape to a world of someone else’s creation, whether it be fantasy, fiction, comedy or adventure,” said Mrs Dunham.

“Voices ensures there is something for everyone during the festival. Guest authors, poets, illustrators and performers will share their knowledge in a series of talks, workshops and performances. A number of Voices Plus events will also be held including a literary breakfast with Kon Karapanagiotidis who is the CEO and founder of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC), the largest independent human rights organisation for refugees and people seeking asylum in Australia. Kon’s personal experience of racism and passion for human rights led to him volunteering at 25 charities before going on to complete six degrees and become a lawyer, social worker and teacher. His work has been recognised with over two dozen awards including an Order of Australia Medal and his memoir, The Power of Hope, has recently been published by HaperCollins.

“We’re also thrilled to present a session called Sunshine Coast Girls Conquer the Publication World featuring the talents of local, published authors Emily Larkin, Michelle Law, Lynette Noni and Tash Turgoose. Michelle is also a playwright and actor whose work has appeared on the ABC and SBS,” said Kelly.

For more information, and to purchase tickets for the breakfast, talks and workshops, go to www.voicesonthecoast.com.au Tickets are $40.00 for the breakfast, $8.00 for the talks and $15.00 per workshop.

Voices on the Coast is proudly supported by the Sunshine Coast Council’s grants program.