Hannah Moloney #2

Bellingen Readers & Writers Festival

The 2024 Bellingen Readers & Writers Festival is bringing some of its biggest names ever over the June long weekend, with a program featuring authors from every topic and genre you could ask for … including Gardening Australia host Hannah Moloney!

By Adam Norris

What: Bellingen Readers & Writers Festival
Where: Bellingen Memorial Hall
When: 7-9 June

Her latest book, Good Life Growing, follows the huge success of her 2021 debut, The Good Life: How to Grow a Better World. To get a sneak-peak prior to her two appearances at the BRWF, we caught up with the Tassie gardener/activist to find out all the dirt.

“I approached that first book with the mentality, ‘That it’s probably going to be the only book I’m ever going to write, so what’s the most important thing to write about?’” Hannah explains.

“And so I wrote about climate action, which touches everything. It’s kind of the reason I do the work that I do, both in the garden and beyond that in community development project.

It’s very much central to my day-to-day, it’s the reason why I turn up to workshops or on television, because it’s solution-orientated work. It’s a showcase so people can say, ‘I want to do that, it looks meaningful and fun!’”

Good Life Growing is a more practical book than its predecessor, teaching how to grow fruit or vegetables in any Australian climate – from bountiful hillsides to balcony pot plants.

Yet it also opens a door into Hannah’s personal life and observations.

“I think that’s because when I read books, I’m really drawn to personal experiences and stories. I’m looking forward to that at the festival. I really want to know why people do the things they’re doing, or how its impacting them. It makes me think deeper, because I’m offering a similar thing.”

“Yes, this is how you can grow your carrots, but this is also why we do it. It can so much more than just you and your personal food habits, it can be a transformative thing beyond your fence-line for a whole food culture.”

Hannah will be sharing her stories and insights at a dedicated In Conversation session at the festival, but also on a panel conversation centred around regenerative agriculture and food security.

“People are deeply concerned about the environment and humanity. They’re looking for solutions, and land management is a massive one. Wrapped up in that is regenerative agriculture and soil health.”

“But people are really acknowledging a return to First Nations knowledge. That doesn’t mean we’re trying to go back in time, [it] might not necessarily mean learning about soil health, but it is about learning how to be connected to Country, and treating Country with the respect it needs.”

“We’re seeing a really pragmatic need for understanding and the regeneration of landscape, but also a deeper craving of connection to landscape. I don’t think you can separate them. When we look after the land, we look after each other. We can connect with people and place, and all good things can come from that.”

You can catch Hannah at the festival alongside Matthew Evans, Rachel Ward and Shelley Burr on the (Re)generate panel on Saturday, June 8, and at In Conversation: Hannah Moloney on June 9 at the Bellingen Memorial Hall.

To explore the full program of over thirty acclaimed guests – including Matthew Evans, Leah Purcell, Wendy Harmer, Bryan Brown, Indira Naidoo, Chris Hammer, Tracey Spicer, Tony Birch and many more, visit: bellingenwritersfestival.com.au

Main image; Hannah Moloney. Bryan Brown, Leah Purcell, Matthew Evans, Wendy Harmer.

What: Bellingen Readers & Writers Festival
Where: Bellingen Memorial Hall
When: 7-9 June