Festival Program

City Program

Boisbouvier Oration: Tony Birch

Fri 10 Sep, 6pm
The Wheeler Centre, Performance Space

Delivering this year’s Boisbouvier Oration, celebrated writer Tony Birch illuminates the struggles and successes of some of the great unsung heroes of Australian history: Aboriginal women living on government reserves early last century, who waged a little-known campaign of resistance to protect their culture and community, under threat of losing their children and homes. The bestselling author of The White Girl and first Indigenous winner of the Patrick White Literary Award for his contributions to literature, Birch is joined by Miles Franklin winner Alexis Wright (Tracker), who presents closing remarks.

Supported by the Faculty of Arts, The University of Melbourne


1 hour


Event artists

Tony Birch’s releases for 2021 are the poetry collection, Whisper Songs and the short story collection, Dark As Last Night. His previous books are the novels The White Girl, Ghost River and Blood, and the short story collections Shadowboxing, Father’s Day, The Promise and Common People.

Alexis Wright is a member of the Waanyi nation of the southern highlands of the Gulf of Carpentaria. The author of the prize-winning novels Carpentaria and The Swan Book, Wright is the only author to win both the Miles Franklin Award (in 2007 for Carpentaria) and the Stella Prize (in 2018 for Tracker).

More events like this one

City Program

Disorder in the Courts

Sun 12 Sep, 2pm
Cancelled Wishlist

Michael Bradley, Rachel Doyle SC and Teela Reid join Marion Isobel to discuss how the judicial system can be overhauled to address a culture of predatory behaviour and harassment, inside and outside the courts.

MWF Teens

Tell Me How It Started

Sat 11 Sep, 10am
Cancelled Wishlist

Danielle Binks (The Monster of Her Age), Kate O'Donnell (This One Is Ours) and Leanne Hall (The Gaps) reveal the origins of their inspiring new stories of young women facing down their fears, with Melissa Keil.

First Nations Curators

Lines of Inquiry: Indigenous Poetry

Wed 27 Oct, 6.30pm
Free Wishlist

Marcia Langton speaks with Indigenous poets Claire G Coleman, Ali Cobby Eckermann and Samuel Wagan Watson about how their work is bringing fresh perspective to our past, present and future.

City Program

Maggie Nelson: On Freedom

Sat 11 Sep, 1pm
Cancelled Wishlist

Crossing live from Los Angeles, acclaimed author Maggie Nelson (The Argonauts) talks about her new book On Freedom, an exploration of freedom in the spheres of art, sex, drugs, and climate, with on-stage interviewer Rebecca Harkins-Cross.