It might be called the Sydney Writers’ Festival but there are some events planned a little further afield for book lovers not based in or near the city. This year the majestic NSW country town of Bowral will host three, unique SWF events on Sunday May 22nd and the area is also planning its own literary initiative, Southern Highlands Writers’ Festival on Saturday 16 July.

SWF in the Southern Highlands kicks off at 10 am on May 22nd with a discussion hosted by Aviva Tuffield and author Emily Maguire. The duo will talk about the significance of The Stella Prize - a major literary award first offered in 2013 in honour of the iconic Australian author, Stella Maria Sarah ‘Miles’ Franklin. Next up Petina Gappah, a Zimbabwean writer with law degrees from Cambridge, Graz University and the University of Zimbabwe, will talk about her debut story collection - An Elegy for Easterly, and her poignant latest novel, The Book of Memory. Finally Shirley Barrett, best known as a screenwriter and director, (Love Serenade - her first film that won the Camera D'Or at Cannes Film Festival in 1996) talks about her debut novel, Rush Oh!

Then less than two months later, The Southern Highland’s own Writers’ Festival will take place (July 16) with many additional big literary names programmed to appear in conversation including Wendy Whiteley, Jane Caro, Sofia Laguna and Dr Barry Jones. Budding writers may also benefit from the day with professional insight from a number of publishing industry dynamos on-hand in the open forum: Inside Publishing.

Finally,doing what the Highland’s does best, the day-long festival concludes with a celebration of great food and wine at a literary dinner held at beautiful Ben Dooley Estate. The evening event will explore the work and enduring relevance of William Shakespeare – 400 years on since his death. Guest chef Simmone Logue designed the menu for the night based on recipes from her new book, In The Kitchen which you can expect will feature the fresh, seasonal food and timeless style she is well known for.

For more on SWF in the Highlands and The Southern Highlands Writers’ Festival: