Every year thousands of artists and arts lovers descend on Newcastle for the annual TiNA pilgrimage. For writers at the National Young Writers Festival we meet up with interstate friends and colleagues, some of whom we only ever see at this festival. But this year we are one person down.
In late July, our friend Kat Muscat tragically died. Melbourne mourned her passing and celebrated her life at a memorial at the Wheeler Centre. A new pilgrimage occurred as people whose lives she touched flew into our freezing winter from all over the country and overseas. Kat was well known and well loved. She had been an editor of Voiceworks and appeared at literary festivals in every capital city. Many met her for the first time, every time, here in Newcastle. For those who were not in Melbourne for the memorial, this year’s festival will be especially hard. For those who were, we still grieve. For those who only knew her work, we know that grief has not spared you either.
This year the National Young Writers Festival is dedicated to Kat. We’ll gather and share our love and grief, and in this way the festival itself is a memorial and a celebration. We’ll come together and we’ll be changed – the festival is changed.
If at any time during the festival you require support, our staff can provide counselling information, which will also be available in Staple Manor (48 Watt St). If you need a quiet space, Studio Bliss Designs in the Market Square Mezzanine off Hunter St mall is designed to create a safe and nurturing environment for people with sensory sensitivities, and it is also a tactile space suitable for people with limited or low vision. If at any point you just need to be with someone, we encourage you to come to us.
This weekend is going to be hard. In the month’s since Kat’s passing we’ve learnt that grief can take you in unexpected moments, but that being with those who love and remember her is a great source of strength.
We miss you, Muscat, and we love you.
GriefLine operates a free, confidential telephone service with trained counsellors between 12.00pm–3.00am, seven days a week.
(National: 1300 845 745)
Lifeline operates a free, confidential 24 hour online or telephone crisis support service with trained counsellors.
(National: 13 11 14)