10 May

Masterclass: Aiming Higher – Risk and Creative Ambition

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Join Charlotte Wood (Stone Yard Devotional, The Natural Way of Things) for a masterclass on the importance of risk and creative ambition in a writing life. 

MWF Workshops are presented in partnership with Writers Victoria

Lamisse Hamouda: Writing with Family

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The acclaimed author of the memoir The Shape of Dust, Lamisse Hamouda, teaches how to bring your family into the creative process of writing about your shared history.  

MWF Workshops are presented in partnership with Writers Victoria

Paul Murray: The Bee Sting

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Irish novelist Paul Murray (Skippy Dies) introduces his tragicomic, Booker Prize–shortlisted tour de force The Bee Sting to Australia, in conversation with Michael Williams. 

Toby Walsh: Machines Behaving Badly

Join world-leading artificial intelligence expert Toby Walsh (Machines Behaving Badly) as he examines the possibilities and perils of emerging AI technologies, from ChatGPT to facial recognition and self-driving cars, with Elizabeth McCarthy. 

Book via this link.

In partnership with Vision Australia Library

Louise Milligan: Pheasants Nest

Award-winning writer and journalist Louise Milligan discusses Pheasants Nest, her stunning debut literary thriller about an abducted reporter, in conversation with Mark Dapin.

Book via this link.

In partnership with Vision Australia Library

Ziggy Ramo: Human?

Wik and South Sea Islander rapper and Festival Curator Ziggy Ramo speaks with Jan Fran about his electrifying debut memoir and historical reckoning, Human?, and delivers a live musical performance.   
11 May

Mark Dapin: How to Write True Crime

Join award-winning historian, journalist, screenwriter and author Mark Dapin (Carnage) for a workshop that answers the practical questions faced by first-time true crime authors.

MWF Workshops are presented in partnership with Writers Victoria

Year in Review: Australian Politics

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David Marr, Laura Tingle and Sean Kelly review the year in Australian politics and consider what lies ahead, in conversation with Michael Williams  

Who Gets To Be Human?

After 235 years of colonisation, who truly gets to be human in so-called Australia? Join Ziggy Ramo, Chelsea Watego and Lamisse Hamouda together in conversation with host Osman Faruqi.  

Real Pieces Of Work

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Bri Lee (The Work) and Liam Pieper (Appreciation) discuss their scathingly funny new novels that reveal the tensions of money, power and love in the arts, with Sarah L’Estrange.   

Supported by the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund and in partnership with ABC RN

Melissa Lucashenko: Edenglassie

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Miles Franklin–winning Goorie author Melissa Lucashenko discusses her epic, heartrending and wryly humorous work of historical fiction Edenglassie, in conversation with Kate Evans. 

In partnership with Queen Victoria Women’s Centre

Viet Thanh Nguyen: A Man of Two Faces

Pulitzer Prize–winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen (The Sympathizer) introduces his highly original and savagely funny memoir A Man of Two Faces, in conversation with André Dao.

Supported by ARA

Lauren Groff and Charlotte Wood: Silence is Golden

A special meeting of literary minds, bestselling American author Lauren Groff (The Vaster Wilds) and acclaimed Australian writer Charlotte Wood (Stone Yard Devotional) join Ailsa Piper to discuss their stories of solitude.  

Supported by ARA

First Knowledges: Innovation

Ian J McNiven and Lynette Russell (First Knowledges: Innovation) share insight into the millennia-spanning ingenuity and innovations of First Nations peoples, in conversation with Larissa Behrendt.   

The Ghost in the Machines

Can AI generate great art? Philosophy professor Margaret Cameron and AI experts Marek Kowalkiewicz (The Economy of Algorithms) and Toby Walsh (Machines Behaving Badly) chat with Paul Barclay.   

Shankari Chandran: Safe Haven

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Miles Franklin–winning novelist Shankari Chandran (Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens) introduces her eagerly awaited follow-up story of displacement, refuge and love, Safe Haven, on stage with Elizabeth McCarthy.   

In partnership with Queen Victoria Women’s Centre

Ghosted: Bryan Washington and Christos Tsiolkas

Award-winning storytellers Christos Tsiolkas (The In-Between) and Bryan Washington (Family Meal) share the stage to discuss their acclaimed new novels that tenderly depict the triumphs and obstacles of love, in conversation with Maeve Marsden.  

Supported by the Faculty of Arts, University of Melbourne

Ghost Cities and Ghost Futures

Prize-winning writers Siang Lu (Ghost Cities) and Laura Jean McKay (Gunflower) discuss their daring and surreal new works about a different kind of world, speaking with Sofija Stefanovic.   

Let It Bring Hope

Aboriginal and Palestinian poets read original works in affirmation of commitment and solidarity. 

Featuring Tony Birch, Samah Sabawi, Jeanine Leane, Micaela Sahhar, Nayuka Gorrie and Sara Saleh, with host Mykaela Saunders.  

Aqua Profunda

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Katherine Brabon (Body Friend), Nadine J Cohen (Everyone and Everything) and Myfanwy Jones (Cool Water) discuss their shimmering new novels in which water helps heal the griefs and ghosts of the past, with Nadia Bailey.   

In partnership with Queen Victoria Women’s Centre

Steve Mushin: Ultrawild

How can rewilding projects restore the health of our planet faster than we thought possible? Maverick inventor and Ultrawild author Steve Mushin shares his optimistic vision with Jes Harris.   

Tony Birch: Women and Children

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The Boisbouvier Chair in Australian Literature Tony Birch discusses his tender and forthright new novel, Women and Children, with Jaclyn Booton, Creative Director, Melbourne Public Humanities Initiative.  

Supported by the Faculty of Arts, University of Melbourne

A.C. Grayling: Philosophy and Life

Eminent philosopher A.C. Grayling delivers an address that draws on a lifetime of thinking and writing about the biggest question of all: how should I live my life?

Supported by the Faculty of Arts, University of Melbourne

Leslie Jamison and Nam Le: Forms of Life

Acclaimed authors and close friends Leslie Jamison (Splinters) and Nam Le (36 Ways of Writing a Vietnamese Poem) compare their genre-switching bodies of work, in conversation with Sophie Black.  

John Button Oration: Off-course Discourse

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Esteemed journalist Laura Tingle examines why the quality of our national debate has deteriorated and what, if anything, we can do about it.  

Supported by the Melbourne School of Government and the Faculty of Arts, 
University of Melbourne

The Stella Prize: Meet the Winner

Be among the first to hear from the 2024 winner of The Stella Prize, announced 2 May, as they sit down in conversation about their work with 2024 judge Cheryl Leavy.

In partnership with The Stella Prize

Bruce Pascoe and Lyn Harwood: Black Duck

Bestselling Dark Emu author Bruce Pascoe and his partner Lyn Harwood talk about their poignant new memoir Black Duck and the consequences of trying to change Australian history with Paul Barclay.   

Supported by ARA

Ghosts: An Evening of Storytelling

What haunts your favourite writers? Do they wake in the night plagued by regrets? Do they see the past spilling into our present? Gather round to hear original ghost stories and moving reflections from a brilliant line-up of some of the best writers in the world.
12 May

Laura Jean McKay: Talking Shorts

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Acclaimed short story writer Laura Jean McKay (Gunflower, Holiday in Cambodia) shows you to how to craft characters and dialogue to make your short stories sing.  

MWF Workshops are presented in partnership with Writers Victoria.

Bruce Pascoe: Writing Place and Season

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Join Black Duck and Dark Emu author Bruce Pascoe to learn how to capture a sense of place and the rhythms of the seasons in your writing.  

MWF Workshops are presented in partnership with Writers Victoria.

Lauren Groff: The Vaster Wilds

An electrifying voice in modern fiction, American novelist Lauren Groff (The Vaster Wilds, Fates and Furies) appears in conversation with Kate Evans about her craft and career. 

Mykaela Saunders: Always Will Be

Festival Curator Mykaela Saunders talks about her collection of speculative fiction Always Will Be, which imagines a future of sovereignty and self-determination for Goori people, speaking with Daniel Browning.   

Spooky Stories with Joel McKerrow

Join celebrated children’s author Joel McKerrow (Urban Legend Hunters) as he takes you on a spooky adventure. This laughter-filled event will inspire kids to create their own spooky and silly stories!   

Rec. 5+  

Familiar Haunts: Paul Murray and Bryan Washington

Irish writer Paul Murray (The Bee Sting) and American author Bryan Washington (Family Meal) discuss their newest novels’ shared interest in real and figurative ghosts, in conversation with Toni Jordan.   

Peter Steele Conversation: Grace Yee

Grace Yee discusses Chinese Fish, her 2024 Victorian Prize for Literature–winning verse novel about migration, patriarchy and racism, with Maxine Beneba Clarke.  

Supported by the Faculty of Arts, University of Melbourne

David Marr: Killing for Country

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David Marr shares insight into Killing for Country, his gripping reckoning with the brutal history of Australia’s unresolved frontier wars, in conversation with Sally Warhaft.  

Toshikazu Kawaguchi: Before the Coffee Gets Cold

Japanese writer and global literary star Toshikazu Kawaguchi chats about his bestselling Before the Coffee Gets Cold series and forthcoming TV adaption, with Daniel Hahn.  

This event will be interpreted live.  

Sofie Laguna and Marc McBride: A Friend for Ruby

Writer Sofie Laguna and illustrator Marc McBride walk you through the creative process of developing their gorgeous new story about kindness, family and friendship, A Friend for Ruby. 

A.C. Grayling: Who Owns the Moon?

Eminent British philosopher A. C. Grayling discusses his book Who Owns the Moon?, calling for a global consensus to protect the resources of our solar system.  

Conversations with Richard Fidler: Andrew O'Hagan

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A three-time Booker nominee and Editor-At-Large of London Review of Books, Andrew O’Hagan discusses his storied – and controversial – life and times with Richard Fidler.  

In partnership with ABC RN

Who's Afraid of Reading, Anyway?

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Beloved novelists Tony Birch, Lauren Groff and Ann Patchett discuss the importance of reading freely and the formative subversive texts of their early reading lives, with Christine Gordon.  

Leslie Jamison: Splinters

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Bestselling American author Leslie Jamison (The Empathy Exams, The Recovering) discusses Splinters, her blazing memoir of divorce, motherhood, art and new love, in conversation with Rebecca Harkins-Cross.  

Alexis Wright: Sovereignty of the Imagination

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Globally acclaimed, Miles Franklin–winning novelist Alexis Wright (Carpentaria, The Swan Book) discusses her influential body of work and newest masterwork, Praiseworthy, with Festival Curator Mykaela Saunders.  

Supported by the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund

Rosie Batty: Hope

The 2015 Australian of the Year Rosie Batty shares insight into Hope, her memoir of finding healing and peace in the presence of grief.   

An Afternoon with Andrew O'Hagan

Three-time Booker nominee Andrew O’Hagan talks about Caledonian Road, his brilliant and biting novel of British class, politics and money, in conversation with Michael Williams.   

Supported by ARA

Rachelle Unreich: A Brilliant Life

Rachelle Unreich talks about her book A Brilliant Life, the story of her mother’s survival of the Holocaust and what it reveals about the resilience of the soul, with Jane Rocca.  

The Sands of Time

Prize-winning Gudanji and Wakaja writer Debra Dank (We Come With This Place) and bestselling Tracks author Robyn Davidson (Unfinished Woman) discuss their new memoirs about memory, land and family, with Kate Evans. 

Ann Patchett: Spectres at the Feast

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Internationally bestselling author Ann Patchett (Tom Lake) appears with her friend and fellow acclaimed author Meg Mason (Sorrow and Bliss) to lift the veil on the untold stories of their writing lives.  

Supported by ARA