After months in the making, the ten-day literary arts party that is Melbourne Writers Festival will be bought to beating life as our full program of events kicks into gear this weekend. Join us for over 100 heart-filled events for all tastes and ages.
Saturday 31 August
In a fitting welcome to the Festival, the Wedding Chapel kicks off on Saturday with a series of events celebrating that first flush of feeling. With sessions running at The Toff in Town until late, celebrate your BFF in a mass friendship commitment ceremony, make cathartic art with confetti out of old love letters, soak up some naked queer literature or take a look at how the right toys can help us understand sexual desire (with some very special prizes on offer!).
In the first four events of our Queermotions series, Deray Mckesson, Nayuka Gorrie and Roj Amedi examine the role of anger in LGBTQI+ liberation, Sally Rugg and Peter Polites re-imagine ‘happily ever after’ from a queer perspective and Norman Erikson Pasaribu, Nic Holas and Fiona McGregor unpack what it means to be labelled ‘disgusting’. Afterwards, have your sad and weary heart soothed by Mama Alto’s music and stories from Jay Bernard, Nayuka Gorrie, David Francis and Jess McGuire.
Marking its Australian debut, The Museum of Broken Relationships is officially launched by curators Olinka Vištica and Dražen Grubišić, sharing powerful stories from some of the exhibition’s contributors. Exploring the relationship between literary and visual narrative in a pairing of 25 writers and 25 artists, experimental exhibition Duality also opens its doors to curious souls.
During this Year of Indigenous Languages, First Nations story-tellers will take centre stage with Claire G Coleman and Tony Birch discussing their new and award-winning works, and Tara June Winch proposing a future where Indigenous languages are centred as national imperatives.
Co-editors of the new anthology Arab, Australian, Other will also come together to discuss the importance of amplifying Arab-Australian voices, and historian Samia Khatun challenges the colonial myth of European knowledge traditions as superior.
In pieces penned specially for MWF19, artists share heart-felt pieces on the meaning of home, four women share raw revelations on white-knuckling it through parenting, and Mama Alto, Cate Kennedy, Luke McGregor, and Ellen van Neerven read missives to the person who looks back at them in the mirror.
Sunday 1 September
For those YA lovers out there, Sunday starts with giant of the genre Becky Albertalli addressing the aching tenderness of adolescent love, Amie Kaufman tackling burning audience questions, Melina Marchetta reflecting on the role of young adult literature in broaching complex topics and Kindred: Queer #LoveOzYA Stories editor Michael Earp and a host of authors discussing queer stories with queer characters by queer writers.
Sunday also sees a host of free events perfect for small people with big imaginations. In the Festival’s free Family Day, we’ve got a multitude of hands-on sessions for budding book-lovers, including live drawing with artist Tai Snaith, laugh-out-loud creativity lessons with Oliver Phommavanh, flaunting self-expression with Maxine Beneba Clarke and swashbuckling adventures with Andrew Daddo.
In the Festival’s Highlight series, Cold Chisel’s Don Walker shares his musical inspirations with Paul Kelly while prominent feminist and writer Jane Caro explores the trailblazing feminists of her generation with Denise Scott.
In the Festival’s main program, authors Emiliano Monge and Joanne Ramos discuss the politics of the body and the ‘fertility economy’, Ginger Gorman, Randa Abdel-Fattah and Tim Soutphommasane speak about self-protection and resilience from online bullying, and former TV co-hosts of ABC’s The Factory Andrew Daddo and Alex Papps sit down to talk memory and mayhem.
First Nations, people of colour, queer folk and those living with a disability also come together to share a snippet of their contributions to the Meet Me at the Intersection anthology, and four artists pay tribute to the temple that houses their soul.
This Melbourne Writers Festival, be curious, be adventurous, and dig deep into the depths of your heart. We can’t wait to see you there.