Fans of Michael Robotham’s award-winning crime novels know that the real thrill of the story comes from the suspense. But while they expect plenty of intrigue between the pages of his books, they never suspected the internationally best-selling author would leave them hanging in real life as well.
Twelve months ago Hunter readers were eagerly looking forward to a visit from their favourite crime writer but had to put their anticipation on ice when Robotham was taken off the bill for the 2018 Newcastle Writers Festival at the last minute.
Like all good plot twists, the reasons for the change were not clearly explained at the time, only coming out more than a month later when it was revealed the author was recovering from a life-saving quadruple heart bypass.
“The Newcastle Writers Festival … (was the) first festival appearance I've ever cancelled in my entire career,” Robotham said.
“When I've committed to going to things I've always made it, and I remember when I sent (organiser) Rosemary (Milsom) a message saying I can't make it, and I told her ‘Between you and me, I’m going in for heart bypass surgery’ she, of course, said ‘Oh my God that's far more important, forget about the festival, you just get healthy’.
“But I kept saying, ‘No, no, I promise I'll come back next year, I promise’.”
Thankfully for his local fans, Robotham is making good on that promise this month, joining around 130 authors, journalists, poets and artists on the line-up for the 2019 Newcastle Writers Festival.
The festival runs from April 5-7 with a packed program of more than 90 free and ticketed events across various locations.
Robotham will make two appearances during the event, discussing the complex characters and plot twists that bring his books to life from 10am-11am on April 6 at The Playhouse in Newcastle, before heading out to the Cessnock Performing Arts Centre that night for a special Secrets and Lies session from 7.30pm-8.30pm, hosted by Maitland’s own renowned crime writer Barry Maitland.
To find out details about the entire festival program or to book tickets visit www.newcastlewritersfestival.org.au