Festival Program


Writers Across Borders

Sat 31 Aug, 9.30am
RMIT Kaleide Theatre

Writers hailing from six countries celebrate craft, culture, and the passions that drive their work in this performance and conversation special. Following, the new anthology will be launched by Ali Cobby Eckermann, Melissa Lucashenko, Christos Tsiolkas, and more.

Supported by WrICE


1 hour 30 minutes


Session Artists

Lavanya Shanbhogue Arvind is a novelist, feminist research scholar and TEDx speaker. She is the winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Special Prize (2011) and is the author of The Heavens We Chase.

Andy Butler is a Filipino-Australian writer, curator and artist from Melbourne. His essays on art, politics and Australian culture have been published widely, including in Overland and Art+Australia.

Bernice Chauly is an award-winning Malaysian novelist, writer and poet of seven books, with her most recent collection, Incantations/Incarcerations (2019). She is an Honorary Fellow in Writing from the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program 2014, lectures at the University of Nottingham Malaysia and directs the KL Writers Workshop.

Yankunytjatjara Aboriginal Poet Ali Cobby Eckerman is the author of seven books, including the verse novel Ruby Moonlight, the poetry collection Inside my Mother and the memoir Too Afraid to Cry. In 2017 she was awarded Yale University's Windham Campbell Prize in Poetry.

Joshua Ip is an award-winning poet, editor, and literary organiser. He has published four poetry collections and edited eight anthologies. He founded Sing Lit Station, an over-active literary charity that runs community initiatives including SingPoWriMo, poetry.sg and Sing Lit Body Slam.

Michele Lee is an Asian-Australian writer working across theatre, live art and screen. She is based in Melbourne.

Melissa Lucashenko is an acclaimed Aboriginal novelist from Queensland. She is a Walkley Award-winner for her non-fiction, and has won numerous prizes for her novels about ordinary Australians and the extraordinary lives they lead. Melissa is a founding member of the prisoner rights group, Sisters Inside. Her latest book is Too Much Lip.

Fiona Murphy is a Deaf poet and essayist. Her work has appeared in Kill Your Darlings, Griffith Review, Overland, The Big Issue, amongst others. Her collection of essays about Deafness was shortlisted for the 2018 Richell Prize and highly commended in The Wheeler Centre Next Chapter Fellowship.

Alvin Pang is an internationally active poet and editor from Singapore. Featured in the Oxford Companion to Modern Poetry in English, and the Penguin Book of the Prose Poem, he has been published in more than twenty languages, including Swedish and Croatian. His latest book is WHAT HAPPENED: Poems 1997-2017.

Norman Erikson Pasaribu is an Indonesian writer of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. His first book of poems Sergius Seeks Bacchus (trans. by Tiffany Tsao) received a PEN Translates Award and is out in Australia with Giramondo. He won the Young Author Award from Southeast Asia Literary Council in 2017.

Francesca Rendle-Short is an award-winning novelist, memoirist and essayist. Her latest book is The Near and The Far Volume 2 (Scribe Publications, 2019). She is an associate professor in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University, co-founder and co-director of non/fictionLab and WrICE (Writers Immersion and Cultural Exchange).

Rajith Savanadasa wrote a novel he (and everyone else) called Ruins in 2016. He was named a Best Young Australian Novelist by the Sydney Morning Herald in 2017 for Ruins (yeah, he was surprised too). He's just finished writing a play commissioned by The Malthouse Theatre and he's trying, really hard, to write another novel.

Christos Tsiolkas is the author of five novels: Loaded, The Jesus Man, Dead Europe, The Slap and Barracuda, and the collection Merciless Gods. He has been longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, and his works have been adapted for film and television. He is also a playwright, essayist, and screenwriter.

More sessions like this one


Literary publishing in Australia occupies an outlying territory, which is fiercely independent in its character and values. Ivor Indyk explores its contours.

Free Wishlist

Debut Melbourne authors – Alice Bishop (A Constant Hum), Angela Meyer (A Superior Spectre) and JP Pomare (Call Me Evie) – discuss their work.


From Stonewall to marriage equality, Quinn Eades, Todd Fernando and Val McDermid speak with Daniel Santangeli about the highs and lows in queer liberation.


Reckoning with the Past

Fri 6 Sep, 2.30pm

Future D Fidel (Prize Fighter) and Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi (Kintu) discuss the importance of the past in our emotional truths.