Melbourne Writers Festival has drawn to a close after a stunning 10-day program of events drawing on talent from around Australia and the world.
The Festival’s theme, A Matter of Life and Death, unfurled through a program of intimate author discussions, new writing, theatre and music celebrating the short beauty of life: joy, loss and impermanence.
Audiences were excited by the fresh offer, buying more tickets, more quickly than at any other time in the history of the Festival. Sold out events included sessions featuring the Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Ronan Farrow who helped break the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse story, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature JM Coetzee, journalist and Black Panther comic book author Ta-Nehisi Coates, Tim Winton (The Shepherd’s Hut), Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh, and Miles Franklin Literary Award winner Michelle de Kretser (The Life to Come).
Also sold out were sessions featuring television critic for The New Yorker Emily Nussbaum, Magda Szubanski (attending her own memorial in Second Last Rites), a performance of Maxine Beneba Clarke’s poetry Carrying the World, Miranda Tapsell and Nakkiah Lui (Pretty for an Aboriginal), comedian Kitty Flanagan, songwriters Paul Kelly and Neko Case, author David Neiwert on the rise of the radical right in the US, and journalist Behrouz Boochani appearing live from Manus Island.
The 2018 program included more performance-based events and immersive experiences to engage audiences in new ways, with a focus on generating new writing through the Festival.
The Board of Melbourne Writers Festival said it was immensely proud of the stunning Festival crafted by Marieke Hardy. “We are so proud of Marieke and team for delivering a Festival that was human, emotional and literary and we can’t wait to see what Marieke will create for MWF19.”
The MWF team thanked the giants of literature who were a part of MWF18, including Tim Winton, JM Coetzee, Michelle De Kretser and Maria Tumarkin, the fine journalists from Ronan Farrow to Masha Gessen, and the songwriters, scriptwriters, bloggers and activists who made it a unique festival.