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Ronnie Scott’s Best of the Fest

Ronnie Scott is the author of the acclaimed novels, Shirley and The Adversary, which was shortlisted for a Queensland Literary Award and the Australian Literature Society Gold Medal. Discover the events he’s most looking forward to at the Festival this year and read his reflections on the Festival theme, I’ve Been Away For a While. Scott appears alongside Diana Reid in On Second Thought, an engrossing conversation on penning your sophomore novel.


What are your three must-see events of the Festival?

Labours of Love

Sun 7 May, 10.30am
State Library Village Roadshow Theatrette

Nina Wan’s The Albatross is a novel about a teetering marriage that’s so funny and thorny and clever and weird, so I will be seeing her speak at Labours of Love, alongside Tracy Lien, who wrote a great-looking literary thriller called All That’s Left Unsaid. I love seeing slightly different books put together on panels where they are likely to bring out each other’s hidden qualities, and these writers will be in conversation with Sarah L’Estrange, who is a trenchant and rounded interviewer.


Ellen van Neerven: Personal Score

Sat 6 May, 1.30pm
State Library Village Roadshow Theatrette

Anyone who’s heard Ellen van Neerven speak about their short stories or poems will want to hear them talk about Personal Score, a new book of nonfiction about sport, which is not remotely my thing but that’s all the more reason to find out what it looks like through van Neerven’s mind. They are in conversation with Tony Birch, who is a sophisticated and generous interlocutor.


MWF Workshops 
(currently at capacity)

Then I’m just going to cheat and recommend this year’s workshop program, which has Kris Kneen teaching memoir, André Dao teaching autofiction, and Lev Grossman teaching… magic! Writing magic, not doing magic. These are all inspired, accomplished, methodical, practical thinkers; wise people will go into these sessions and come out wiser.


What have you been away from for a while?

I’ve been away from real-life events in the city for a while. I know they’ve been back for a couple of years, but guess what, I’m slow, so it will be fun to go to Melbourne Town Hall and everywhere else and hear writers talk and do human-being stuff.