Festival Program

City Program

Helen Garner’s Reasonable Doubts

Wed 8 Sep, 8.30pm
Athenaeum Theatre

When we describe Helen Garner‘s work, we seize on its candour: she’s unflinching, unsparing, a scrutineer. But honesty is not the same as certainty. In this special event, Garner makes a long-awaited return to Melbourne Writers Festival to speak with writer and critic Beejay Silcox about the role that doubt plays in her life and work, the literary power of ambiguity, and the art of unknowing.

Supported by ARA and The Melbourne Gin Company


1 hour



Event artists

Helen Garner writes novels, stories, screenplays and works of non-fiction. In 2006, she received the inaugural Melbourne Prize for Literature, and in 2016 she won the prestigious Windham–Campbell Literature Prize for non-fiction and the Western Australian Premier’s Book Award. In 2019, she was honoured with the Australia Council Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literature. Her books include Monkey Grip, The Children’s Bach, Cosmo Cosmolino, The Spare Room, The First Stone, This House of Grief, Everywhere I Look, Yellow Notebook and One Day I’ll Remember This.

Beejay Silcox is an Australian writer and critic whose literary criticism and cultural commentary is increasingly finding an international audience. Beejay has stories to tell. She’s been kicked in the head by a mountain gorilla and stuck in quicksand; she eloped to Las Vegas; and drove to Timbuktu in a car held together with a bra-strap.

More events like this one

City Program

The Memories We Inherit

Sun 12 Sep, 12pm
Cancelled Wishlist

Sam van Zweden (Eating with My Mouth Open) and Krissy Kneen (The Three Burials of Lotty Kneen) speak with ABC RN’s Sarah L’Estrange about their genre-bending works that excavate memory to pursue truths about family and identity.

City Program

Marcia Langton: Welcome to Country

Sun 5 Sep, 4pm
Cancelled Wishlist

Influential Aboriginal scholar and author Marcia Langton shares insight into the forthcoming updated edition of her landmark travel guide to First Nations Australia, Welcome to Country, on stage with Barry Judd.

City Program

Defamation Nation

Sat 11 Sep, 5pm
Cancelled Wishlist

The Age’s deputy and investigations editor Michael Bachelard joins writer and lawyer Michael Bradley for a discussion about the unique challenges posed by Australia’s defamation laws.

Suburban Program

Read My Way

Sun 12 Sep, 10am
CancelledFree Wishlist

Vision Australia opens its doors for an engaging panel discussion about alternative reading formats, a tour of its radio studio, and hands-on experience with literacy kits from their children’s library, braille and accessible devices.