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Readings’ Best of the Fest

Mark Rubbo, Managing Director of  Readings, shares his top three picks of the Festival. Make sure you visit MWF’s official bookseller Readings for all your Festival reading needs! 

There’s much that I’d like to see at this year’s MWF and it all seems so good that it is not surprising that a lot of sessions have sold out; luckily for me, some of the most interesting still have some seats available.

Stan Grant: The Queen is Dead
Sat 6 May, 12pm
The Capitol

I’ve just read an advance copy of The Queen is Dead. It’s a hard hitting and provocative argument and Grant tackles it with great skill. For Grant, the death of the White Queen was an occasion to mourn the loss of Indigenous Sovereignty, to reflect on years of oppression and racism. He’s pulled no punches in this book and I’d like to see him present his argument. Grant is clever and articulate and I’ve never seen him talk without feeling inspired and stimulated.



Brigitta Olubas on Shirley Hazzard
Sun 7 May, 12pm
State Library Victoria, Village Roadshow Theatrette

Shirley Hazzard led a fascinating life; she spent most of it out of Australia leaving when her family moved to Hong Kong when she was 16. After marrying the writer Francis Steegmuller in 1963, she spent her time between Italy and New York. Her writing never got the attention it deserved in Australia. When her novel, The Great Fire, won the Miles Franklin Award it did so despite never being submitted for consideration by her publisher. This biography goes a long way in acknowledging one of our finest writers. I think this will be a great session.



Running Writing
Sun 7 May, 10.30am
State Library Victoria, Conversation Quarter 

I loved Bill Hayes’ memoir Insomniac City about his relationship with the neurologist Oliver Sacks, it is so beautiful and moving. Tony Birch is one of my favourite writers and I always like to hear him talk about his work and that of others. I haven’t read Chelsea Watego’s book but am intrigued by it. So, I think this session has got a lot to offer.