Vivia Hickman resigns as CEO of Melbourne Writers Festival

Vivia Hickman has resigned as CEO of Melbourne Writers Festival after two spectacular years in the role.  

“The Melbourne Writers Festival is the jewel in the crown of Melbourne’s literary landscape and it has been an enormous privilege to have the opportunity to contribute to its transformation as it emerged from the very difficult pandemic years,” said Vivia Hickman. “I have worked alongside one of the country’s most talented literary programmers Artistic Director Michaela McGuire and an incredibly talented team who shared my belief in the value of this festival and what it contributes to the cultural landscape of this city.” 

The phenomenally successful past two festivals are a direct result of Hickman’s keen intelligence and passion for the literary sector. Hickman expertly led the organisation into its first iteration following years of COVID cancellations with a resounding victory. Her energetic and strategic insights have smartly reformulated the festival for Melbourne’s community of readers, ensuring the festival delivers an excellent, high-quality experience for its audiences. Under her leadership, the festival came alive in Melbourne as a one-of-a-kind event for creative, curious and critical minds.  

“Vivia is one of the most respected and admired arts leaders in the country, and we have been so fortunate to have her intellect, experience and determination guiding Melbourne Writers Festival through a triumphant return to live festivals,” said Michaela McGuire, Artistic Director of Melbourne Writers Festival. “It’s been a privilege and a joy to work alongside her, and the team and I will miss her passion for literature, brilliant sense of humour and unerring belief in this organisation.” 

With unparalleled good judgement and unfailing exuberance, Hickman successfully managed the programming and delivery of two successful festivals in seven months with but a small, dedicated team.  

During her spectacular tenure, Hickman also secured a major partnership between the festival and the University of Melbourne; re-launched the Melbourne Writers Festival Schools program, which has enabled thousands of primary and secondary students to learn directly from their favourite writers and illustrators; saw the festival return to the iconic Melbourne Town Hall; and brought the festival into May, ensuring it could still take place in key venues across Melbourne but also fittingly align itself to Melbourne’s cultural calendar.  

“Melbourne Writers Festival has been immensely privileged to have had the benefits of Hickman’s strategic insights and arts expertise to inform the past two festivals,” said Alice Hill, Chair of Melbourne Writers Festival. “She has led this organisation with confidence and grace. As we look to the future, we are emboldened by the extremely capable and intelligent team Vivia has led, and we can’t wait to see their plans come to fruition next year.”  

Vivia Hickman has been appointed as Executive Producer and Co-CEO of Malthouse Theatre. Melbourne Writers Festival wishes her well in this exciting new role and eagerly anticipates the productions to take place under her leadership.

We thank her for her generosity, intelligence and passion during her remarkable tenure with Melbourne Writers Festival.