Fri 7 & Sat 8 Aug

Have we got your attention?

Join us on Friday evening for the first session of MWF Digital, Finding the Heart of the Nation, with Thomas Mayor, Megan Davis and Teela Reid.

Begin your Saturday with the Festival’s opening address by acclaimed author Kate Grenville and a new commissioned piece by Sisonke Msimang — followed by a full day of programming with writers Claire G Coleman, Omar Sakr, Becky Manawatu, Lawrence Wright, and more.

To finish, hang back with Crazy Rich Asians author Kevin Kwan in conversation with the glorious Beverley Wang.

Finding the Heart of the Nation

Fri 7 Aug | 7–8 pm AEST

Portrait of Thomas Major.

The Uluru Statement, created in 2017, is a rallying cry to enshrine First Nations’ voices in the Australian Constitution. Torres Strait Islander writer Thomas Mayor spent 18 months travelling across the country to garner support for the Statement – now, with Finding the Heart of the Nation, Mayor brings that journey to all Australians.
Mayor is joined by academic Megan Davis and lawyer Teela Reid to discuss what Black Lives Matter should mean in a land wrought by colonisation and in which First Nations’ sovereignty was never ceded, and the vital importance of the Uluru Statement in the fight for Indigenous rights.

Supported by Australian Communities Foundation

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The Outset: Do Not Believe Too Quickly

Sat 8 Aug | Podcast

Portrait of Kate Grenville.

Stories are our survival and our delight. They carve a path through the confusion of unprecedented times. But behind each story that’s told stands another, silenced one. How can we attend to those unheard truths and reach a more nuanced understanding of our past and the present?

In the Festival’s opening address, acclaimed author Kate Grenville (A Room Made of Leaves) considers truth, fiction and the stories that urgently need our attention.

This address will be released as a podcast. No bookings required.

Lawrence Wright: The End of October

Sat 8 Aug | 10–11 am AEST

Portrait of Lawrence Wright.

When Lawrence Wright wrote The End of October – in which a deadly virus works its way around the world, leaving economic meltdown, conspiracy theories, and mass death in its wake – he understood that such a disaster was a possibility. But he had no idea it would be realised so soon.

Here, the author and New Yorker staff writer sits down to discuss his brilliant and all-too-prescient novel. With Claire Nichols.

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Meditations in an Emergency

Sat 8 Aug | 11am – 12pm AEST

Close-up of Evelyn Araluen.

In his 1954 poem ‘Meditations in an Emergency’, Frank O’Hara declared, with ambiguous irony, ‘Destroy yourself, if you don’t know!’

Join Evelyn Araluen, Toby Fitch, Ursula Robinson-Shaw and Darlene Silva Soberano for poetic performances responding to the increasingly precarious state of the world, and a tribute to the late, radical poet, Sean Bonney (1969–2019), whose final book Our Death is a work of radiant fury, lament and refusal.

In partnership with Australian Poetry

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The Fifth Estate: The Future of Socialism

Sat 8 Aug | 12–1 pm AEST

Close-up of Paul Adler.

In The 99 Percent Economy: How Democratic Socialism Can Overcome the Crises of Capitalism, Paul Adler argues that the only way to save society from catastrophic collapse is to adopt democratic socialism.

Adler joins Sally Warhaft for a discussion that elucidates how our current economy serves about one per cent of the world population, why it barely works for the rest of us, and what we can do to change it – before it’s too late.

In partnership with the Wheeler Centre

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After Australia

Sat 8 Aug | 2–3 pm AEST

Monochrome portrait of Claire G Coleman.

In this daring collection of speculative fiction, 12 Indigenous writers and writers of colour offer up visions of Australia’s possible futures: after colonisation, after white supremacy, and after climate change.

Authors Claire G Coleman and Omar Sakr sit down with After Australia editor Michael Mohammed Ahmad to discuss their contributions and the broader aims of this bold, provocative and galvanising anthology.

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A Matter of Fact

Sat 8 Aug | 4–5 pm AEST

Portrait of Ketan Joshi.

As certain branches across politics and the media push mistruths, half-truths and lies about the cause and severity of the climate crisis in Australia, identifying reliable, science-backed information is increasingly a challenge.

But how do we identify misinformation in the battle against climate change, and what can we do to counter it? Academic Judith Brett (The Coal Curse) and renewable energy expert Ketan Joshi (Windfall) join Graham Readfearn in conversation.

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Becky Manawatu: Auē

Sat 8 Aug | 5–6 pm AEST

Portrait of Becky Manawatu.

Written by Ngāi Tahu author and journalist Becky Manawatu, Auē is a work of gritty, social realist ction centring on the lives of orphaned brothers: eight-year-old Arama and teenager Taukiri.

Dealing with themes of domestic violence, gang culture, curdled masculinity and fractured families, this award-winning debut from a uniquely New Zealand voice captures remarkable insights into the minds of children and young men. Join Manawatu in conversation with Miles Franklin award-winning author Tara June Winch.

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The Craft of Short Fiction

Sat 8 Aug | 5–8.30 pm AEST

Portrait of Jan Carson.


From her short story collection (Children’s Children) to her flash fiction anthology (Postcard Stories), Irish writer Jan Carson’s short fiction demonstrates a mastery of the form.

In this workshop, she unpacks the tools you need to develop ideas, conduct research, hold your reader’s attention, and master plot, structure, character and pacing within a tight form.

Charlotte McConaghy: The Last Migration

Sat 8 Aug | 7–8 pm AEST

Portrait of Charlotte McConaghy.

The highly anticipated The Last Migration is a haunting love letter to the natural world, to the wild places and creatures threatened by climate change. It’s also a profoundly observed story of one young woman’s quest to bear witness to the migration of the world’s last remaining flock of Arctic terns.

Join author Charlotte McConaghy for an insight into what has been hailed as ‘an astounding meditation on love, trauma, and the cost of survival’. With Nadia Bailey.

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Kevin Kwan: Sex and Vanity

Sat 8 Aug | 8–9 pm AEST

Portrait of Kevin Kwan.

Crazy Rich Asians author Kevin Kwan is back with an intoxicating new story of love, lust, and the impossibly gilded lives of the elite, that flits from the sun-drenched isle of Capri to the grandeur of the Hamptons.

Sex and Vanity is both escapist love story and a witty exploration of Asian-American identity. Join Kwan for a lively discussion on fame, fiction, and the Crazy Rich Asians phenomenon. With Beverley Wang.

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