READERS + WRITERS @ Clay Gulgong 2024

Clay Gulgong has always reflected on the practice of makers and once again this year we consider words and making, reading and writing. The program is coordinated by Catherine du Peloux Menagé, editor, interviewer and writers’ festival Director, working with the Clay Gulgong team.
It has two parts – Words @ Clay Gulgong consists of conversations with some of the Masters about the words that shaped them, as people and as makers. There is at least one The words that shaped me interview every day where you can find out more about the person and the work. Keith Brymer Jones opens the Festival talking to Catherine du Peloux Menagé about his book Boy in a China Shop. From Tuesday to Sunday Masters Tim See, Marina Pribaz, Brian Rochefort, Shiyuan Xu, Josh Copus, Aaron Scythe and Jack Doherty talk about the words and books which have shaped them as people and as makers.
Michael Brissenden, potter, journalist and crime writer is running a two-day workshop to help those who want to write about ceramics learn the skills to do just that.
On Friday evening and during the day on Saturday, Readers + Writers@Clay Gulgong will welcome a broad audience of book lovers from Gulgong, Mudgee and the neighboring areas. Writers and interviewers include journalist Jamelle Wells on outback courtrooms, crime fiction writers Michael Duffy and Rhys Gard, as well as journalist and writer Susan Wyndham and Mudgee-based writer Summer Land.
The Book Nest bookshop from Mudgee will be on Red Hill in the Trade Marquee as well as on the spot at the author interviews to bring you books by the speakers and other books you might enjoy as well.
More information on the Friday and Saturday program can be found here: Prince of Wales Opera House Program

Catherine du Peloux Menagé, the coordinator of the Readers + Writers program is a Festival Director as well as facilitating at writers’ festivals and literary events, following a career in educational publishing. She has been the Artistic Director of BAD Sydney Crime Writers Festival since 2019 and is a Judge of the annual Ned Kelly Awards. She was Director of the Rose Scott Women Writers’ Festival at the Women’s Club from 2020-2021, co-founded the St Albans Writers’ Festival in 2015 and was its Artistic Director from 2015 to 2018. Catherine is also a teacher and gives talks on the joys of scent and the history of perfume.

Michael Brissenden was a political journalist and foreign correspondent  with the ABC for 35 years and has published  both fiction and non-fiction books.  He is now writing fiction full time.   His first two novels were ‘The List’ published in 2017 and ‘Dead Letters’ published in 2021.  His next book ‘Smoke’ is another novel of murder, crime and corruption and will be published by Affirm Press in Australia in July 2024.  In recent years he has also returned to his ceramics practice.  Before he pursued a career in journalism Michael completed a visual Arts degree in ceramics at Sydney college of the Arts where he studied under legendary artists Mitsuo Shoji and Bernard Sahm.


Keith Brymer Jones is a British potter and ceramic designer, internationally known for his homeware ‘Word‘ range and celebrated as the lead judge on The Great Pottery Throwdown, Love Productions television series for Channel Four and HBO. After an apprenticeship at Harefield Pottery, he started hand-making ceramics for retailers including the Conran Group, Habitat, Barneys New York, Monsoon, Laura Ashley and Heals. As Head of Design for MAKE International he collaborates with other designers including Jane Foster, Scion Living, Hokolo and Becky Baur.

Susan Wyndham is a journalist, writer and former literary editor of The Sydney Morning Herald. She is co-editor with Brigitta Olubas of Hazzard and Harrower: The letters, a collection of correspondence between the two Australian writers.


Rhys Gard is a writer and a chef. Between careers, he studied English and Film at the University of New South Wales. He has worked as a journalist, marketer, wine writer and restaurateur. He lives in Mudgee. Four Dogs Missing is his first novel. He is also one of the organisers of the Mudgee Readers’ Festival.


Jamelle Wells is an ABC television and radio newsreader and the senior court reporter for New South Wales, commenting on courts and legal affairs on programs including Australian Story. Over almost two decades she has covered some of Australia’s highest profile cases including the criminal trials of schoolteacher Chris Dawson, the inquiries into the convictions of Kathleen Folbigg for killing her four children, the criminal trials of former Labor Ministers Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald, the murder trials of Keli Lane and Gordon Wood, Australia’s longest running terrorism trial, the Sydney Siege inquest, and the inquest into the disappearance of William Tyrrell.

Michael Duffy writes the Bella Greaves series of crime novels set in the Blue Mountains, where he lives. He is a public servant and a founder of the BAD Sydney Crime Writers Festival. He will be speaking about the three Bella Greaves books The Problem with Murder, The Man in Black and The Strange Death of Paul Ruel.

Photo: Amber Hooper
Summer Land is an author, writer, keynote speaker who moved to Mudgee from the US in 2010. Her books include Summerlandish: Do as I Say, Not as I Did, and I Now Pronounce You Husband and Expat. She has co-authored and ghostwritten over ten books, including Acting Up (Lynne McGranger), A Joyful Life (Rosemary Kariuki), and Aussie Ark (Tim Faulkner).


Ceramic Wordsmith Workshop
with Michael Brissenden

After 35 years as a political journalist and foreign correspondent with the ABC, Michael Brissenden is writing fiction about murder, crime and corruption and has also returned to his first love – ceramics which he studied before turning to journalism. He now needs to use the words he has worked with all his life to describe his ceramic practice. Join him to work together to find the right way to describe your own work.

What guides what you do? What do you want your work to say? Why should anyone care? Let’s find the best way to design the most effective and compelling artists statement and description of your work.

The workshop is open to all Clay Gulgong delegates and will take place over two days from 10am-12pm on Thursday 18th and Friday 19th April.
Participants need to commit themselves to attending both workshops. Bring a piece of your own work to describe if you would like to. Sign up at registration or send your expression of interest now to: