John Marsden, author of Tomorrow When the War Began, will be speaking about the power of words at the Words Out West festival.
John Marsden, author of Tomorrow When the War Began, will be speaking about the power of words at the Words Out West festival.

John Marsden on the power of words

THE POWER of words are ageless according to Australian literature royalty John Marsden.

"The way stories can make up people's lives, our lives are just a huge accumulation of stories but how they can still be so unique and different," Marsden said.

"The power of them will never get old for me."

As the man behind the widely successful young adult series, Tomorrow When the War Began, Marsden said he is excited to share his knowledge with Western Downs bookworms at next week's Words Out West Festival.

"I was approached by a speaking agency who asked and of course I said 'yes'," he said.

"I have been to the area before, I once stayed outside Dalby with a friend on a cotton farm there.

"It is great that country town like Dalby are taking some initiative and hosting events like this."

Marsden will be joined by several other authors at the festival next weekend in hopes to inspire the next generation to continue the art of story telling.

"I want young people to realise that first hand experience is superior to second or third experiences and the more stories you experience, the more interesting you become as a person," he said.

"If you spend your life gazing at a television or a computer screen playing Fortnite or watching Married At First Sight, you are probably going to have a pretty impoverish life and won't be very interesting" Marsden laughed.

Selling more than five million copies of his books, the author said he believed the next generation is not meeting their imagination potential.

"We have lost sight of a lot of things that keeps our imagination ticking over, something as simple as going pig shooting or going travelling, anything that involves your body or mind is going to help you grow," he said.

Those familiar with his work, know rural communities play a big part in his story telling.

"When I was growing up, all the Australian children's books were set in the bush or on farms, so after reading so many of them they just became a part of my awareness about life and my sense of being Australian," Marsden explained.

"As I got older, the books changed it was more about city living, so with my work I thought that it was time to remind people what life was like beyond those city boundaries."

"A big part of it as well was that I wanted to show respect to people who were living on the land and the way that they live.

"I remember returning from overseas, and just flying over the land and the impact that the red dirt on me was amazing.

"I felt this tremendous sense that I was back home.

Those who are planning on attending the Words Out West Festival, will be able to hear Marsden discuss his career and the power of language which according to the author is "still the most powerful tool that we have".

"Being able to understand language will not only help you in the workplace, but also in relationships.

"I cant stress it enough that books still work and hold their own, they offer far more than movies and computer games because they offer profound characters in profound situations."

"Stories that explore love, passion, excitement, sadness all of those things because that is what we experience in our everyday lives.

"In my time running workshops, males always find it the most difficult to explore those feelings because they are not raised in a way that helps them get in touch with their feelings.

"Boys will write a three-page story about someone battling a snake and they might mention once that the character feels scared.

"A story won't work if there is no layer of feeling that comes from the character."

The Words Out West Festival will run from February 14 - 16 with a writers retreat at the Bunya Mountains while the two main festival days will be held at MyAll 107 and will feature talks from a huge line-up of authors, bloggers, illustrators, journalists and podcasters.

To book your tickets, visit or visit Western Downs Regional Council's Facebook page.

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