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Melbourne Writers Festival appoints new CEO

Melbourne Writers Festival is delighted to announce experienced cultural sector leader Vivia Hickman as its new CEO. Hickman is a highly credentialed CEO and leader with senior executive experience spanning over 30 years across the arts and culture sector, with a focus on festivals.

Previously Executive Producer at Sydney Festival for three years, Hickman was responsible for the realisation and delivery of the annual festival, the largest multi-arts festival in the country. In 2021 she delivered a 19-day event consisting of 458 performances by 1200 artists for an audience of 450,000, and also developed and implemented Sydney Festival’s first digital program in response to the new COVID-19 landscape. Hickman’s prior roles include CEO of Queen Victoria Women’s Centre, CEO and Head of Programming for Melbourne International Arts Festival, General Manager of Melbourne International Film Festival, Development Manager for Melbourne International Comedy Festival and Executive Producer for Chunky Move Dance Company.

MWF Board Chair Astrid Edwards said, ‘It is a delight to welcome Vivia to Melbourne Writers Festival as our new CEO. She is energetic and determined, ready to navigate the brave new world festivals face during the pandemic. 2022 is going to be a brilliant year.’

Melbourne Writers Festival brings writers and readers together to be inspired, challenged and thrilled by a rousing and diverse program of books and ideas. Since 1986, the organisation has entertained hundreds of thousands of readers as Australia’s boldest literary festival and reached thousands of young people through its MWF Schools program for primary and secondary students. Based in Melbourne, a UNESCO City of Literature, the Festival provides the inspiration and framework for vital, timely conversations.

Vivia Hickman said, ‘I am thrilled to join Michaela and the team at MWF and look forward to delivering the regenerative and expansive festival of writing, thinking and ideas that Melbourne needs and so richly deserves.’

Vivia Hickman will commence her role in January 2022.


Melbourne Writers Festival runs 2–11 September 2022.