THE Mildura Writers Festival will no longer be presented in person or live this coming weekend as scheduled.

The State Government’s decision to declare the whole of NSW a red zone and ongoing COVID restrictions has resulted in the cancellation of three invited author appearances at the event.

First-time artistic director Donata Carrazza had to make the call on Monday morning.

“This decision has many repercussions, impacting on many people, but it made no sense to present a festival without its stars. We will work on an online offering and present this soon,” she said.

The festival management includes Carrazza and assistant Ashleah Black with the support of the management at Arts Mildura and a volunteer committee.

Much of today has been spent cancelling service providers, updating ticket holders, arranging refunds and advising other participants of the decision.

“It is heart-breaking to put so much effort into something to see it cancelled in one fell swoop. Coronavirus has changed life for all of us; we just have to manage our expectations and find worthwhile ways to continue our work,” Carrazza said.

Guest authors this year were to include theatre director and playwright Wesley Enoch; Iranian political refugee, Shokoofeh Azar, who was shortlisted for the International Booker Prize; poet, musicologist and artist, Judith Nangala Crispin; Melbourne activist and poet, Pi O interviewed by acclaimed author Christos Tsiolkas; author of Imaginative Possession, Belinda Probert, and ABC food editor and Masterchef almost-finalist, Alice Zaslavsky.

For more information, please call Donata Carrazza on 0407817741