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The Faces of MWF18

We are so richly excited to showcase an incredibly diverse range of local and international artists, joining us to share tales of joy, survival, hope, love, and letting go.

Life-coaching us into the glittery party power that is this year’s MWF, motivating speaker and rock star Andrew W.K. makes his only speaking appearance at our Opening Night Gala.

Journalist author and Black Panther writer Ta-Nehisi Coates speaks about writing oneself into history. New Yorker television critic Emily Nussbaum discusses screen art and culture. Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Ronan Farrow reflects on his experience breaking the Harvey Weinstein story. Irvine Welsh asks if artists have a responsibility to say sorry for their art.

Amplifying voices from across the world, novelist and journalist Deepanjana Pal explores India’s #metoo movement. Kurdish journalist, poet and producer Behrouz Boochani live-streams from Manus island. Manal al-Sharif celebrates the women of Saudi Arabia winning the right to drive.

With a nod to expanding our understanding of the myriad worlds of writing, we warmly welcome writer and former child actor Mara Wilson, Syrian architect Marwa Al-Sabouni, author of Arrival Ted Chiang, and Twitter’s own superstar heart-coach Jonny Sun. In duets of music and creative conversation, singer and songwriters Kaiit, Mojo Juju and Neko Case grace the MWF stage.

Cult-comedian and YouTube star Chris Fleming introduces MWF to the world of stand up comedy, as does Australia’s most celebrated felt-faced star, Randy, and national treasure First Dog on the Moon in a one-dog live performance. Kathy Lette hosts a girls’ night in, and Kitty Flanagan examines the Austen-esque dilemma of extricating oneself from a stage five clinger.

Pretty for an Aboriginal podcasters Nakkiah Lui and Miranda Tapsell set the power structures of the entertainment industry alight, and trailblazing collaborators on SBS TV series Homecoming Queens Corrie Chen and Michelle Law discuss surviving their own mental health.

Australian authors you know and love will also be experienced in brand new ways.

Magda Szubanski will experience what it is to sit through her own Funeral. Yassmin Abdel-Magied delivers a eulogy to her career. Michelle de Kretser hosts a book club on The Watch Tower. Benjamin Law curates his dream dinner party. Judith Lucy stretches out on a therapy couch to discuss her creative practice. Michael Robotham discusses The Other Wife. Tim Winton ruminates on issues of moral complexity.

In the Festival’s new venue, Animal Church, JM Coetzee shares a reading from The Glass Abattoir. Ceridwen Dovey speaks on writing about animals. Melissa Lucashenko recasts the snake. Ron Murray teaches us about Indigenous totem animals.

At the heritage-listed Mission to Seafarers (complete with boat pulpit!), Raimond Gaita asks what it means to face death truthfully. Zoe-Norton Lodge shares her famous last words. Adam Liaw considers why cookbooks are not a matter of life and death, but the matter of life and death. Nevo Zisin and Jessie Cole mourn their youth and turn to the future.

Just some of the faces of MWF18. Now, discover them all.