Festival Program


While the World Burns

Fri 6 Sep, 1pm
The Wheeler Centre, Performance Space

Writers on the environmental front line have been trying to raise our consciousness about our imploding planet for years, and they’re not going to stop. Join Tony Birch, Sophie Cunningham, Tom Doig, and Bruce Pascoe discussing the importance of words as a call to arms. With David Ritter.


1 hour

Session code


Available on Pass



Session Artists

Tony Birch is an author whose work has been awarded major literary prizes in Australia, including the Victorian Premier's Literary Prize and the Patrick White Literary Award. He also researches and publishes on climate change, climate justice and Indigenous ecological knowledge. His new novel, The White Girl, will be released this year.

Sophie Cunningham is a former publisher and the author of five books including City of Trees: Essays on Life, Death and the Need for a Forest. She is a former editor of Meanjin, former chair of the Literature Board of the Australia Council, and was a co-founder of The Stella Prize. She is an adjunct professor with RMIT's Non/fiction lab.

Tom Doig is the author of The Coal Face, which won the 2015 Oral History Victoria Education Innovation Award, and Mörön to Mörön: Two Men, Two Bikes, One Mongolian Misadventure (2013). He lives in Melbourne and teaches creative writing at The University of Melbourne.

Bruce Pascoe is an award-winning writer and a Bunurong man. His books include Dark Emu, Book of the Year at the 2016 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. He works to preserve the Wathaurong language through the Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative and was 2018 Dreamtime Person of the Year, recognising his significant contribution to Indigenous culture.

David Ritter is the CEO of Greenpeace Australia Pacific. His most recent book is The Coal Truth: The Fight to Stop Adani, Defeat the Big Polluters and Reclaim our Democracy. He has two daughters and lives in Sydney.

More sessions like this one


Sophie Cunningham: City of Trees

Sun 8 Sep, 11.30am

‘How do we take in the beauty of our planet while processing the losses?’ Sophie Cunningham discusses her new collection.


Tony Birch: The White Girl

Sat 31 Aug, 2.30pm

Tony Birch talks about his new novel The White Girl – the post-war story of an Aboriginal matriarch living under the Aborigines Act.

Highlight Event

Labour of Love

Sun 1 Sep, 11.30am

Being an activist can be costly in terms of career, family and mental health. Four campaigners share how to best survive.

Free Wishlist

Tyson Yunkaporta (Sand Talk: How Indigenous Thinking Can Save the World) and Bruce Pascoe (Dark Emu) discuss a new way forward.