Talking Points brings you six intriguing events guaranteed to spark debate, curiosity and new opinions on current affairs topics making headlines today. A highlight of The Agenda.

Here’s the six thought-provoking topics Melbourne Writers Festival has ready for you to start wrapping your head around.

Putin’s Russia
Leading Russian journalist and author Masha Gessen considers just how far Vladimir Putin may go to restore or extend the Russian empire. With ABC former Moscow correspondent Norman Hermant.

The Political Party Machine
Stephen Mills goes inside the political party machines, meeting those who create the messages, hone strategies and raise the money. With James Button and Misha Ketchell.

Understanding Indonesia
Elizabeth Pisani argues many finger-wagging Westerners underestimate the importance of patronage in maintaining stability and national unity for our nearest neighbours to the north. With Indonesian writer Ahmad Fuadi, chaired by Misha Ketchell.

The Sixth Extinction
Elizabeth Kolbert’s urgently compels us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human as we face the reality of the most devastating mass extinction since dinosaurs walked the planet. With Australian Conservation Foundation’s Kelly O’Shanassy.

Bigotry in Australia
Writer and lawyer Alice Pung helps ordinary Australians to participate fully in the discussion and debate on the divisive issue of bigotry in Australia. With Maxine Beneba Clarke and Nick Feik.

How TV Got Great
TV critics Emily Nussbaum (The New Yorker) and Melinda Houston (Fairfax) discuss the epic rise of long form television and explore whether TV, with its exceptional writers, represents a new manifestation of the novel. With Ronnie Scott.

Find all the important session information details over at our Talking Points page.

Following three of Talking Points sessions How TV Got Great, The Political Party Machine and The Sixth Extinction, head to The Conversation for a live Q&A session designed to open up debate even further online. Or, tweet your views and ideas to #MWFTalkingPoints to let the Twittersphere know what you think.

With so many challenging, confronting and transformative events making headlines around the world each day, there’s certainly plenty of things to say at Melbourne Writers Festival Talking Points.

Purchase a MWF Festival 5 Pack pass, including one free Friday bonus session, to participate in all six sessions for 15% less. If you can’t join in the conversation in person, take the opportunity to add your two cents online.