2016 Melbourne Writers Festival

Our 2016 Festival explored identity – from gender, class and race to health, migration and economics – and how this shapes who we are and what it means to be Australian right now.

This year we had a record-breaking 73,000+ audience members join us in a shared love for reading, writing and bold ideas. We brought together artists from across Australia and places such as Afghanistan, Canada, China, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Philippines, Singapore, the UK and the US.

The Festival Hub at Fed Square was buzzing with discussions, walks and exhibitions. We held events in a caravan and on a boat. We also brought MWF to you with special events in Footscray, Dandenong and Ballarat, and at 16 local libraries from Caroline Springs to Frankston.

Some of our most popular events

Our audience loved these sessions.

Maxine Beneba Clarke: Opening Night Address

Richard Flanagan: Does Writing Matter?

PJ Harvey & Seamus Murphy: The Hollow of the Hand

Alexei Sayle: Thatcher Stole My Trousers

Books for Better Policy (Anna Funder & Yann Martel)

Helen Garner: Everywhere I Look

YA Superstars (David Levithan & Rainbow Rowell)

Feminism Then & Now (Yassmin Abdel-Magied & Anne Summers)

Michael Marmot: The Health Gap

AC Grayling: The Age of Genius

George Megalogenis: John Button Oration

Why I Read (Magda Szubanski & Damon Young)

A Shrinking Democracy? (Bob Carr & Gillian Triggs)

Whisky & Water

Elections: Aus vs USA (Sarah Ferguson & Don Watson)

Juliet Jacques: Trans

Steve Silberman: The Future of Neurodiversity

Late Night Letters & Numbers

Queer Literary Salon

Lionel Shriver: Closing Night Address

What our audience thought

Feedback from our audience, volunteers and artists.

“2016 was my first @MelbWritersFest. Can’t wait for the next one. Superbly run festival and there was so much diversity on the lineup. #mwf16”
– @ATS3113WARD on Twitter

“Such a lovely experience from being a guest speaker to an audience member. The venue was so unexpected and I felt so blessed to be part of something so amazing. Thank you MWF!”

“Thankyou @MelbWritersFest @lisadempster and team. It was a memorable ten days. #mwf16 ♥”
– @JasmeetSahi on Twitter

“Wow. #mwf16 you excelled. What a wonderful & insightful lot of sessions. Super intelligent people generously sharing. My head has exploded”
– @MegDunley on Twitter

“I laughed a lot, thought some of the writing was very beautiful, and enjoyed the atmosphere immensely.”

“Congrats to all for another brilliant festival. The authors were great and engaging @MelbWritersFest.”
– @VicBari on Twitter

“Our students particularly enjoyed the sense of openness and candour of the authors we saw. They were very excited to meet the authors and have their copies of novels signed as well.”

“Volunteering at #mwf16 is a wrap for me! Big thank you to everyone at @MelbWritersFest for all their hard work pulling everything together”
– @theresaninkspot on Twitter