THE artistic director of the Mildura Writers Festival has been recognised for his contribution to the enrichment of cultural life in regional Victoria.
La Trobe University yesterday awarded an honorary degree to Professor Paul Kane in commendation of outstanding service to the festival.
Prof Kane has attended the event every year since the inaugural festival in 1994 and has been in his current role since 2002, despite being based in New York.
A humble Prof Kane described the award as a “personal honour” but felt it was “as much an award for the festival” as it was for him individually.
He believed that since the inaugural event, the festival had “matured” as a uniquely personal experience.
“It is very much a writers’ festival and writers really like to come to it,” he said.
“It is small, intimate and writers go to one another’s sessions. There’s a camaraderie and a sense that it is really for them, which is very different from the very large and impersonal festivals.”
Prof Kane added that the festival had seen “an honour list of great writers” over the years that he described as “quite astounding” and “tremendously important for the region”.
La Trobe University’s Mildura campus director, Neil Fettling, praised Prof Kane’s service to cultural life of Mildura – in particular, through his contributions to the festival.
“(His) involvement has been at his own expense, but his contribution has enriched and sustained one of the major cultural events of the Victorian regional arts calendar,” Mr Fettling said.
He said it was the “shared mission” of the university and the festival to bring “cultural excellence” to all areas of the state.
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