Be Entertained by Poet and Performer JM Donellan

6 years ago | by

JM Donellan

JM (Josh) Donellan – author, musician, poet, guitar-wielding dog tamer, potential tiger snack and teacher – is bringing his unique view of writing and the world to the Harry Bailey Memorial Library in Coffs Harbour on June 7 in the first event of the Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival.

His debut novel, ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Dying in India’, won the 2009 IP Picks Best Fiction Award and his latest novel ‘Killing Adonis’ received a highly prestigious star from the Kirkus Review.

“Just because I wasn’t poor enough from writing novels, I thought I’d try and find the art form that would result in the smallest amount of income humanly possible. This of course led me to to take up performance poetry,” he says.

Josh has performed and spoken at a huge range of events around Australia and overseas including the Sydney Writers’ Festival, TEDx, Southbank, The Australian Poetry Slam and Wonderland Festival Brisbane Festival.

He was also almost devoured by a tiger in the jungles of Malaysia, nearly died of a lung collapse in the Nepalese Himalayas, fended off a pack of rabid dogs with a guitar in the mountains of India and was sexually harassed by a half-naked man whilst standing next to Oscar Wilde’s grave in Paris.

At the Library, he will perform some of his work and talk about what goes into his writing and performances.

As he believes in encouraging other young writers and performers to get their work out there, members of the audience will be invited to share a short piece of their own.

“Last year, Coffs Harbour produced the youngest ever winner of the Australian Poetry Slam – 12-year-old Solli Raphael – and there’s a lot of local support and interest in this engaging way of bringing poetry and performance together,” said Catherine Turner, Council’s Library Operations and Programs Coordinator.

“So this is another great opportunity to enjoy and participate in this growing art form – and hear from a very entertaining published author.”

‘JM Donellan@thelibrary’ will be held on Thursday, June 7. Entry is free. For more information, or to reserve your place, visit

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