Marieke Hardy is MWF’s New Artistic Director

Melbourne Writers Festival has announced a new leadership team for MWF18 and beyond. Writer, producer and literary critic Marieke Hardy will become the festival’s Artistic Director, with Shona Barrett moving into the role of CEO.

Board Chair John Myers said Marieke Hardy would build on the success of MWF Festival Director and CEO Lisa Dempster, who will present her fifth and final MWF from 25 August to 3 September 2017.

“In the past five years the Festival has attracted some of the most exciting artists in the world including Salman Rushdie, Helen Garner, Will Self, PJ Harvey, Jon Ronson and Joyce Carol Oates,” Mr Myers said.

“Marieke will continue Lisa’s great work reaching out to new and diverse audiences. Marieke is passionate about helping artists to make a human connection with their audiences, and the Board can’t wait to see how that vision translates into programming.”

Marieke Hardy is a writer, curator, producer, and immersive theatre practitioner. She is co-founder of worldwide literary phenomenon Women of Letters and has been a regular panelist on ABC’s The Book Club for the past eleven years. A collection of her essays was released through Allen and Unwin in 2011.

“After focusing the last few years expanding my live art and immersive theatre practice, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to create a cathartic, experiential, warm and unconventional festival with the formidable team at MWF,” Ms Hardy said.

“Eleven years making Jennifer Byrne’s life an utter misery on The Book Club has given me the most wonderful excuse to engage random strangers in conversation in book shops. I hope to bring a robust sense of joy, magic and unity to this iconic festival, as well as hug literally anybody who asks me.”

Ms Hardy will begin the new role in November. In another key change, Shona Barrett will step into the position of CEO. Ms Barrett has worked on six consecutive MWF events, including five as General Manager.

This year’s Festival starts on 25 August. With international guests like Janet Mock and Joyce Carol Oates, and beloved Australian voices like Kim Scott, you won’t want to miss Lisa Dempster’s MWF swansong – and what’s looking to be the boldest MWF yet. Book now at mwf.com.au/program.