Each year, MWF brings together some of the world’s leading minds to consider and reflect on the issues that matter to us all. MWF18 is no exception, with an eclectic array of authors, artists, advocates and activists unraveling the threads of this year’s theme, A Matter of Life and Death, and the rich motifs that fall under such an emotional umbrella: survival, impermanence, loss, love and determination.
In our Festival Guide for Questioning Minds, we canvas the issues, ideas and stories at the centre of MWF18.
Raimond Gaita: Facing Death: What does it mean to face death truthfully? The magnificent Raimond Gaita, philosopher, professorial fellow and award-winning writer (Good and Evil: An Absolute Conception, Romulus, My Father) gives a lecture on the philosophy of death.
25 Aug, 7pm
Irvine Welsh: Redemption: ‘I’ve always had some kind of moral conscience, but it gets stronger when you get older. It’s harder to be a bastard,’ says Irvine Welsh. ‘You’ve got to be a bit kind to yourself as well.’ The highly acclaimed and often controversial cult author ofTrainspotting asks if artists have a responsibility to say sorry for their art, social crimes or personal misdemeanours before seeking redemption. He talks with Omar Musa. 25 Aug, 8.30pm
Frontier Wars: Henry Reynolds: Why are there no official commemorations of the wars fought on Australian soil between First Nations people and white colonists? Author and historian Henry Reynolds explores this question with academic Marcia Langton, and why the frontier wars are still so controversial today. 26 Aug, 11.30am
Home: Marwa Al-Sabouni & Ben Quilty: Marwa Al-Sabouni (author of the memoir The Battle for Home, about living as an architect in Syria) and artist and commentator Ben Quilty (curator of Home, a collection of drawings by Syrian children) discuss these extraordinary testaments to a generation of survivors. 27 Aug, 8.30pm
India’s #MeToo Movement: Indian author and journalist Deepanjana Pal speaks on India’s #MeToo movement and Raya Sarkar’s infamous list of abusive men. What has been the fallout, and where to next? 28 Aug, 6pm
Behrouz Boochani: Live from Manus: Beyond the inhumane policies and detention lies a group of desperate people. Kurdish journalist, poet and producer Behrouz Boochani talks live from Manus Island (where he has been detained for five years) with translator Omid Tofighian and human rights educator Arnold Zable. 29 Aug, 8.30pm
Ta-Nehisi Coates: Writing Yourself into History: American author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates, (Black Panther comics, national correspondent for The Atlantic) is currently in development on America in the King Years, a television project about Martin Luther King Jr and the Civil Rights Movement, as well as writing the next Captain America movie. He’s discussing ‘writing yourself into history – making courageous art’ and the cultural, social and political issues surrounding race in the US today. With Santilla Chingaipe. 30 Aug, 8.30pm
Eulogy for Species Lost: The brutal and sobering truth is that some animal species are lost to us forever. Join author Sophie Cunningham, ecologist Aviva Reed, poet Ellen van Neerven and conservationist Amelia Young to somberly celebrate and eulogise these animals of extinction. 1 Sep, 11.30am
Black Lives, Refugee Lives Matter: An estimated one in ten Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths is from suicide. An estimated 50 percent of refugees to Australia are further traumatised by immigration processes. Riyadh Al-Hakimi, Gerry Georgatos and Megan Krakouer on learning, empathy, hope and ways forward. 1 Sep, 1pm
A Better World Starts Here: International human rights activists and writers Sisonke Msimang, Samah Sabawi and Saba Vasefi share their ideas for a better world, spanning issues of race, gender, democracy, built environments. 1 Sep, 7pm