Melbourne Writers Festival 2017 Program

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For everyone who reads

25 August — 3 September Book now #mwf17

Contents Highlights 6 Friday 25 August 15 Saturday 26 August 16 Big Ideas 20 Sunday 27 August 22 Monday 28 – Thursday 31 August 29 Friday 1 September 30 Saturday 2 September 34 Industry Insights 37 Local Libraries 38 Sunday 3 September 40 Children & Teens 44 Festival Guest Index 46 Essential Information 48





Against a backdrop of arresting photographs and film footage, multi-award-winning war photographer Stephen Dupont takes viewers on a powerful journey to the frontlines of Afghanistan, Rwanda, Vietnam and more. The haunting visual presentation is followed by a conversation with Dupont and accompanied by a photographic exhibition.

Full Price

Deakin Edge, Fed Square $22/$19 | Code 1705

Concession Price


Use the key below to identify Festival streams and look out for the free events.

Event time



Session Code


The Agenda

Live & Social

Children & Teens


Free events

Book your tickets now at For all the ways to book, see page 48.

3 Australian Independent Book Retailer of the Year 2016 & 2017


In 2017 Melbourne Writers Festival will celebrate revolutionary ideas. When systems fall into crisis and we are entrenched in the politics of despair, literature becomes a platform for revolution. Informed by social and political movements and revolutions past, present

We respectfully acknowledge that Melbourne Writers Festival takes place on the traditional lands of the Kulin Nation, in particular the Wurundjeri and Boonwurrung people. We pay respects to Elders past and present, and to the Elders of all communities and cultures across Australia.

and future, MWF will interrogate the biggest issues of the day.

literature and change, there is something for everyone who reads.

We’re thrilled to present visionary international voices Amani AlKhatahtbeh, Reni Eddo-Lodge, Robert Fisk, Janet Mock, Joyce Carol Oates, Shashi Tharoor, Angie Thomas and Micah White, as well as preeminent Australian thinkers Yassmin Abdel-Magied, Julian Burnside, Stan Grant, Tony Jones, Shireen Morris and Kim Scott, who will deliver the Festival’s opening address.

This year will mark my final year as director of Melbourne Writers Festival. It has been an honour – and so much fun – to bring the Festival to life over the past five years. I have fond memories of so many insightful and provocative conversations and performances that I believe could not happen in any place other than at MWF – so to the writers and readers of Melbourne in particular, I thank you.

Join the writers, activists and thinkers leading the resistance to explore ideas for a more hopeful future. With more than 300 events exploring activism, identity, politics,

I look forward to welcoming you to the Festival in August!

Writers have long been partners and prophets of revolution. Melbourne Writers Festival continues this tradition by providing a forum for discussion and debate and a platform for diverse voices. I encourage you to dive into this program, be inspired by new perspectives, and encounter an exciting array of writers from our City of Literature and beyond. Viva la Melbourne Writers Festival!

Immerse yourself in a world of words at the 2017 Melbourne Writers Festival. During what is undeniably a highlight of Melbourne’s cultural calendar, MWF is a place for readers of all kinds to explore stories that are important to Melbourne. As a UNESCO City of Literature, the City of Melbourne is proud to support Australia’s premier writing festival.

The Hon Martin Foley MP Minister for Creative Industries

Lisa Dempster Festival Director / CEO

Robert Doyle AC Lord Mayor




Events Highlights Kim Scott OPENING NIGHT GALA Fri 25 Aug, 6.30pm until late Deakin Edge, Fed Square $50 | Code 1001  Throughout his award-winning literary career, Kim Scott has reconstructed narratives of Aboriginal experience while interrogating the archives of history. In his powerful opening address, Scott explores how writing yourself into history can challenge Australian identity and transform our connection to language and land. The Mission Songs Project present a dynamic musical performance of Indigenous song, casting light on the history and resilience of our Indigenous communities. Then join us for a drink as we kick off the Festival! DJ Sovereign Trax brings a playlist of the best music from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists as we reflect on the collective stories, identities and resistance of the First Nations. Ticket price includes event and opening party. Supported by the Faculty of Arts, The University of Melbourne

Visit for full Festival program details



Joyce Carol Oates BEARING WITNESS Sat 26 Aug, 6.15pm (75 minutes) Deakin Edge, Fed Square $45/$35 | Code 1306 

Writers are not only storytellers – they are also witnesses to the world around them, reflecting and critiquing it through their imagined worlds. Iconic American author Joyce Carol Oates (A Book of American Martyrs) delves into ethics, empathy and bearing witness as a novelist, and how fiction gives both readers and writers the opportunity to explore and understand both sides of complex, multifaceted issues. Supported by the US Consulate General


Highlights Angie Thomas YA & ACTIVISM Sun 27 Aug, 4pm (75 minutes) Deakin Edge, Fed Square $25 | Code 1406    Giving voice to young black Americans and chronicling their experiences of racism, The Hate U Give is the year’s most outstanding YA novel. Hear from author Angie Thomas as she argues for writing that can turn the political into the deeply personal as a way to inspire action and speak truth to power. Be inspired by this young, outspoken writer who is ready to hit three truths home: that life fuels art, art mirrors life, and books can change lives.


Highlights Events

A Better Tomorrow POLEMICS GALA Thu 31 Aug, 6pm (75 minutes) Deakin Edge, Fed Square $45/$35 | Code 1002


See more and save — buy a Festival 5 or 10 Pack

MWF’s sharpest minds deliver an invigorating evening of polemics. This gala event will see writers including Yassmin Abdel-Magied, Jane Caro, Stan Grant, Tony Jones and Omar Musa make individual cases against values and institutions, provoking new possibilities for a better society. Nothing is off-limits for these bold, outspoken thinkers – come and hear their visions for a brighter, more equal tomorrow. With a performance by host Clare Bowditch.

Highlights Janet Mock VISIBILITY & VOICE Thu 31 Aug, 8.30pm (75 minutes) Deakin Edge, Fed Square $45/$35 | Code 1003    Meet internationally acclaimed transgender rights activist Janet Mock, author of Redefining Realness and Surpassing Certainty – memoirs that share her experiences of growing up poor, multiracial and trans in America, and her journey into the highly competitive New York media. Mock draws on her experience as a journalist and prominent trans woman to speak about the power of storytelling in media and popular culture, the history of trans women in feminist, LGBTI and social justice movements, and the importance of visibility and voice.



Robert Fisk CLOSING NIGHT ADDRESS Sun 3 Sep, 6.30pm (75 minutes) Deakin Edge, Fed Square $45/$35 | Code 1004


The West has long fought its wars on foreign soil. From his experience covering wars in Syria, Iraq, Algeria, Afghanistan and Lebanon, The Independent’s renowned Middle Eastern correspondent Robert Fisk explains why foreign adventures no longer come free of charge – because we are no longer safe at home.

Deakin Edge comes to life every night of MWF with an exclusive pop-up bar, open half an hour before every evening session. Enjoy food by Beer DeLuxe and drinks from Hargreaves Hill Brewing Co., Kooks Social Winery and The Melbourne Gin Company.

What is the role of the artist in a creative city?

The City of Melbourne is proud to support major and emerging arts organisations through their 2015–17 Triennial Arts Grants Program. Aphids Arts Access Victoria Australian Centre for Contemporary Art Blindside Artist Run Space Chamber Made Opera Circus Oz Craft Emerging Writers’ Festival Ilbijerri Theatre Koorie Heritage Trust La Mama Little Big Shots Lucy Guerin Inc. Melbourne Festival

“To disrupt, enliven and enrich by taking creative risks and pursuing excellence in all its forms”

Melbourne Fringe Melbourne International Comedy Festival Melbourne International Film Festival Melbourne International Jazz Festival Melbourne Queer Film Festival Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Melbourne WebFest Melbourne Writers Festival Multicultural Arts Victoria Next Wave Festival Polyglot Theatre Poppy Seed Songlines Aboriginal Music

Lisa Dempster Festival Director / CEO Melbourne Writers Festival

Speak Percussion The Wheeler Centre West Space Wild@heART Community Arts

Events Friday 25 August 10am

Walks Experience Melbourne like never before by going for an MWF walk! Join David Astle for word game fun, uncover the Yarra River’s history with Tony Birch, discover Kyo Maclear’s favourite birds, and explore the Melbourne grid with Nadia Rhook. Afternoon tea included. Visit for full details.

ABC BOOKS & ARTS LIVE Kick off your MWF with ABC RN Books and Arts’s live broadcast from the Festival. Get a taste for the discussions to come as Michael Cathcart is joined in conversation by exciting Festival guests. Supported by ABC RN Deakin Edge, Fed Square

Book Launches From well-known publications to emerging writers, check out the future of Australian writing at a free Festival book launch at Beer DeLuxe, Fed Square. Visit for full details.

The Door Garcia Sisters Sat 26 Aug, 11.30am

Because of You Pip Harry Sat 2 Sep, 11.30am

The Vandemonian War Nick Brodie Sat 26 Aug, 1pm

Wish You Were Here Sheridan Jobbins Sat 2 Sep, 1pm

Culinary Journey Through Silk Road: Taste of Afghanistan Laila and Roya Khalil Sat 26 Aug, 2.30pm

Aukati: Boundary Lines Michalia Arathimos Sat 2 Sep, 2.30pm

A Führer for a Father Jim Davidson Sun 27 Aug, 11.30am

Poets and Painters: Celebrating the Big Punchbowl Tasmanian Land Conservancy Sun 3 Sep, 11.30am

Secret Shores Ella Carey Sun 27 Aug, 1pm

A New England Affair Steven Carroll Sun 3 Sep, 1pm

Siren Rachel Matthews Sun 27 Aug, 2.30pm

Hot Off the (Small) Press Small Press Network Sun 3 Sep, 2.30pm

And Fire Came Down Emma Viskic Sun 27 Aug, 4pm

Hippy Days, Arabian Nights Katherine Boland Sun 3 Sep, 4pm

Just Another Week in Suburbia Les Zig Sat 2 Sep, 10am


Events Saturday 26 August 10am






What are the different factions of climate change activism, and how do they come together in cohesive action? Anna Krien (The Climate Deadlock) and Indigenous climate activist Amelia Telford discuss the current state of climate change activism, and where it’s heading.

One of Spain’s most dynamic voices, Gabi Martínez breathes new life into the literary travel genre. In the Land of Giants sees him trace the footsteps of traveller Jordi Magraner, who was mysteriously murdered in 2002. How did this nomadic man live – and die?

Exploring the dark, often violent inner lives of young suburban women, Megan Abbott is one of the world’s most exciting domestic noir writers. Join the award-winning US author as she discusses her work, including her latest novel, You Will Know Me. ACMI Cinema 1 $22/$19 | Code 3301

THE PERILS OF POPULISM The world is in grip of profound political and social change, and leaders are promising to respond to the voice of the people. What does populism mean for the new world order? Dennis Altman, Sanaz Fotouhi and Michael Winkler discuss with The Griffith Review’s Julianne Schultz. Deakin Edge, Fed Square $22/$19 | Code 1301

WOMEN WRITERS IN THE CITY Walking, reading, writing – the actions we take in public space hold specific resonances for women. Essayists Sophie Cunningham, Rebecca Harkins-Cross and Emily Witt explore the relationships between geography and gender. ACMI Studio 1 $22/$19 | Code 4301

ACMI The Cube

Supported by Acción Cultural Española


ACMI Studio 1 $22/$19 | Code 4302

In an age where the dead can be resurrected as holograms, technology is changing our understanding of both death and reality. Michael Arnold, Simon Longstaff and Elizabeth Tan explore the technological anxiety and ethical implications behind these innovations. Supported by the Faculty of Arts, The University of Melbourne ACMI Cinema 1 $22/$19 | Code 3302

ROBERT DESSAIX: ON LEISURE In today’s busy world, leisure time is more vital than ever, but technology is eroding our work– life balance. Robert Dessaix (Pleasures of Leisure) makes the case for taking leisure seriously – and how taking time off can deepen our understanding of who we are as human beings. Deakin Edge, Fed Square $22/$19 | Code 1302

Illustrator in Residence In these three-hour sessions, see leading illustrators work live from 12pm in the Fed Square Atrium. Visit for full details. Atrium, Fed Square Sat 26 & Sun 27 Aug, Fri 1, Sat 2 & Sun 3 Sep


Events Saturday 26 August 1pm






What is the importance of free speech in writing? From acts of blasphemy in religious communities to political dissidence in democracy and the rise of satire in journalism, Sami Shah explores the power of offence – and how it’s never as simple as we think it is.

Join the Australian Centre and The University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Arts in congratulating the winners of this year’s literary awards. Prizes are awarded to biography, poetry and best stage play by an Indigenous artist. Hosted by Ken Gelder and Denise Varney, codirectors of the Australian Centre.

In the age of Netflix, TV shows are ready-made for bingeing. How has this changed screenwriting methods? Reach for the popcorn with Megan Abbott (The Deuce), Brodie Lancaster (No Way! Okay, Fine) and Benjamin Law (The Family Law) as they explore the influence of viewer trends on television. Supported by Victoria University ACMI Studio 1 $22/$19 | Code 4303

FEMINIST LIT: THEN & NOW Join Natalie Kon-yu, Melissa Lucashenko and Emily Maguire for a discussion of feminist writing past, present and future. How has feminist writing changed over time? As our understanding of intersectionality deepens, do classic texts hold up? And where to next? Supported by Feminist Writers Festival

Supported by PEN Melbourne ACMI The Cube

WOMEN OF SUBSTANCES Drawing together neuroscientific research and memoir, journalist Jenny Valentish charts the world of substance abuse in her new book, Woman of Substances. Join her as she explores the gendered experience of drug and alcohol addiction. With Kate Holden. Deakin Edge, Fed Square $22/$19 | Code 1303

ACMI Cinema 1 $22/$19 | Code 3303

The Empty Chair by PEN Melbourne The PEN Empty Chair is acknowledged at Melbourne Writers Festival to represent a writer who is not present because they have been detained, imprisoned, tortured, forced into exile or in other ways silenced for the peaceful practice of their profession and in violation of their right to freedom of expression. More information is available at

Supported by the Faculty of Arts, The University of Melbourne ACMI The Cube

DECONSTRUCTING HEALTH What can we learn about medicine and wellbeing through writing? Kate Cole-Adams (Anaesthesia) and Kate Grenville (The Case Against Fragrance) discuss what drew them to writing about science and health – and what they learnt along the way. ACMI Cinema 1 $22/$19 | Code 3304

JENNIFER ACKERMAN: THE GENIUS OF BIRDS Did you know that some species of birds can store up to 2000 songs in a brain a thousand times smaller than a human’s? Acclaimed writer Jennifer Ackerman (The Genius of Birds) delves into the highly intelligent avian world, revealing the sophisticated science behind birds’ brains and behaviours. Deakin Edge, Fed Square $22/$19 | Code 1304


Events Saturday 26 August 2.30pm






In this technological age, we’re more connected than ever – but does that solve the great human condition of loneliness? Does more choice help or hinder us? Elizabeth Tan and Emily Witt discuss technology’s role in shaping our connections with each other.

How do women explore identity, religion and culture? Amal Awad (Beyond Veiled Cliches) and Susan Carland (Fighting Hislam) share their stories and research, discussing the ways in which Muslim and Arab women experience the world.

Through diary entries, Mischka’s War follows one man’s journey as a displaced person in WWII Germany, from surviving wartime to starting anew. As both historian and wife to the late subject, author Sheila Fitzpatrick unpacks this incredible true story.

ACMI Studio 1 $22/$19 | Code 4304

Deakin Edge, Fed Square $22/$19 | Code 1305

ACMI Cinema 1 $22/$19 | Code 3305




ABORIGINAL LITERATURE NOW Hear from some of Australia’s most brilliant writers. Claire Coleman explores colonialism from a different perspective in her dystopian novel Terra Nullius, Jane Harrison’s Becoming Kirrali Lewis shares a new story from the Stolen Generations, and Kim Scott’s Taboo follows a young woman cast into the drama of Australian history. ACMI Studio 1 $22/$19 | Code 4305


Celebrate the life and work of late novelist Georgia Blain at this special memorial event and book launch. Guests Sophie Cunningham, Erik Jensen, Chris Healy and Katrina Sedgwick will perform readings of the beloved Australian author’s work. Afterwards Blain’s partner Andrew Taylor will launch her last book, The Museum of Words.

Study Melbourne invites the international students of Victoria to reflect on their time and experience in Australia in either visual or written form. Join us as we announce this year’s competition winners over afternoon tea.

ACMI The Cube

ACMI The Cube

Supported by Study Melbourne

Let’s Get in Formation From musicians and writers to activists and mothers, women have led political actions in countless ways. Join some of the Festival’s most fearless women, including Clementine Ford and Nayuka Gorrie, for a lively evening of performance celebrating revolutionary women. Hosted by Namila Benson. 8pm Deakin Edge, Fed Square



Saturday August Win a 26 Year of Reading Keep up to date with MWF news and offers by subscribing to our eNews, plus be entered into the draw to win 52 books from writers in the Festival program! Visit to sign up.


Events Big Ideas presented by The Monthly

Explore the day’s biggest issues with prominent literary and academic thinkers. From constitutional recognition to legal and social systems around the world, experts Julian Burnside, Nancy MacLean, Sean McMeekin, Shireen Morris and Shashi Tharoor present new perspectives on our society’s most pressing challenges. Supported by The Monthly

Sean McMeekin

Shireen Morris



How did the Russian Revolution transform the world forever? Historian Sean McMeekin’s The Russian Revolution sheds new light on the great turning point of the 20th century, examining Russia’s irreversible metamorphosis, the main players who led the charge, and the global powers affected by the chaos over two turbulent decades. Join McMeekin as he explores this fascinating period of world history – and its ongoing implications.

The Australian Constitution distributes power, but it says nothing in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. How might recognition empower the First Nations to take their rightful place in Australia’s constitutional arrangements? And what about a treaty? Shireen Morris draws on her expertise as a lawyer, constitutional reform fellow and editor of A Rightful Place: A Road Map to Recognition to explore Indigenous constitutional recognition, the Uluru Statement From the Heart and creating an Australia that is fair for all Australians.

Sun 27 Aug, 6.15pm (75 minutes) Deakin Edge, Fed Square $30/$27 | Code 1407


Mon 28 Aug, 6pm (75 minutes) Deakin Edge, Fed Square $30/$27 | Code 1505


Nancy MacLean

Shashi Tharoor



Supported by Liberty Victoria and the Alan Missen Foundation

In 1947, India regained independence after almost 200 years of British rule – a period that was both culturally and economically damning, with almost 35 million Indians dead from British acts of commission and omission, and an unprecedented plunge into abject poverty. Join Indian author and politician Shashi Tharoor (Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India) as he explores the disastrous consequences of colonialism, and how India continues to rebuild since the colonisation that has been called ‘the greatest crime in all history’.

Fri 1 Sep, 6.15pm (75 minutes) Deakin Edge, Fed Square $30/$27 | Code 1906

Sat 2 Sep, 6.15pm (75 minutes) Deakin Edge, Fed Square $30/$27 | Code 1106

Discover the hidden backstory of the American radical right’s political agenda. Nancy MacLean (Democracy in Chains) exposes the six-decadelong strategy spearheaded by economist James McGill Buchanan in the 1950s to disempower democracy and entrench corporate control – and how it is undermining the power of voters in a country founded on the principle ‘We the people’.

Julian Burnside INJUSTICE From legal aid and class actions to assisted dying, asylum seeker rights and counter-terrorism, the law in Australia has immense reach – but it also has its shortcomings. Delving into the chequered history of the Australian legal and justice system, and drawing on his extensive professional experience, barrister and former Liberty Victoria president Julian Burnside (Watching Out) presents an eloquent defence of civil society and makes a compelling case for legal liberalism in Australia. Sun 3 Sep, 4pm (75 minutes) Deakin Edge, Fed Square $30/$27 | Code 1115


Events Sunday 27 August 10am





Across long careers, Kate Grenville, Judy Horacek and Leah Purcell have excelled in their fields of literature, political cartoons and playwriting. Meet these brilliant creative women and discover how they have pushed their creative boundaries to continue redefining career success over time.

Claire Coleman, Garth Nix, Sami Shah and Samantha Shannon all use and explore different aspects of the real world in their novels. They discuss how fantasy and dystopian fiction can reflect, interpret and examine our reality.


Deakin Edge, Fed Square $22/$19 | Code 1401

HISTORY OF NEUROSCIENCE Discover the fascinating history of neuroscience with Charles G Gross, one of the field’s leading figures. From Leonardo da Vinci to present practitioners, Gross traces the development of neuroscience over time to show how it evolved into its modern incarnation. Supported by Cosmos ACMI Cinema 1 $22/$19 | Code 3401

MEET ELIZABETH KOSTOVA The Shadow Land takes us to politically-charged Bulgaria, where a mourning sister makes a startling discovery against a historically rich landscape. Join bestselling author Elizabeth Kostova (The Historian) as she discusses finding hope in the aftermath of loss. ACMI Studio 1 $22/$19 | Code 4401


ACMI Studio 1 $22/$19 | Code 4402

RUSSIA TODAY The relationship between Russia and Western powers has long been fraught, perhaps never more so than now. Go behind the headlines with Tony Kevin and Sean McMeekin as they provide different perspectives on Russia today, from the past to present. ACMI Cinema 1 $22/$19 | Code 3402

SOFIE LAGUNA: THE CHOKE Join Miles Franklin winner Sofie Laguna to discuss her new novel, The Choke – a haunting and claustrophobic vision of a child in danger and a society in deep trouble. Deakin Edge, Fed Square $22/$19 | Code 1402

With the rapid evolution of artificial intelligence, will humans become redundant in the workplace? Rutger Bregman, Simon Longstaff, Toby Walsh and Ally Watson discuss the future of worklessness, and its implications for class and social equality. ACMI Studio 1 $22/$19 | Code 4403

DAVID GRANN: KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON Dive into one of the FBI’s first major homicide investigations in Killers of the Flower Moon – a gripping exploration of a series of murders in 1920s Oklahoma. Investigative journalist and New Yorker staff writer David Grann cracks open the case. Deakin Edge, Fed Square $22/$19 | Code 1403

EMILY WITT: FUTURE SEX How have technological advances shaped the way we pursue connections and pleasure in the modern age? From online dating to orgasmic meditation, Emily Witt delves into the ins and outs of this brave new world in Future Sex. ACMI Cinema 1 $22/$19 | Code 3403

Events Feminism Plus F+ takes the conversation around feminism further. Reni Eddo-Lodge, Clementine Ford, Meena Kandasamy, Laurie Penny, Jenny Valentish and more will unpack contemporary feminist discourse, discussing the movement’s past, present and future. Supported by Queen Victoria Women’s Centre

RAPE CULTURE As feminism gains mainstream prominence, the concept of rape culture has become more widely recognised – but has this recognition actually changed anything? Lee-Ann Tjunypa Buckskin, Meena Kandasamy, Patricia Lockwood and Laurie Penny unpack the insidious phenomenon, from women’s day-to-day lives to cultural and institutional enablement. Sat 2 Sep, 11.30am ACMI Cinema 1 $22/$19 | Code 3102




Facing relentless discrimination, social stigma and violence, women are expected to succeed in a system that actively works against them. Anni Hine Moana, Zoë Morrison and Jenny Valentish explore the patriarchal structures exacerbating women’s mental ill-health.

More men are starting to identify as feminists – but is their involvement helping the movement, or is it self-serving? What does an effective ally look like? Upulie Divisekera, Clementine Ford and Jane Gilmore deconstruct the man’s role in modern feminism.

What does a truly intersectional approach to feminism look like? Reni Eddo-Lodge, Nayuka Gorrie and Ruby Hamad examine the whiteness of modern feminism and discuss how to decolonise the movement.

Wed 30 Aug, 6pm Queen Victoria Women’s Centre, Victoria Room $22/$19 | Code 9703

Sat 2 Sep, 2.30pm ACMI Studio 1 $22/$19 | Code 4104

Tue 29 Aug, 6pm Queen Victoria Women’s Centre, Victoria Room $22/$19 | Code 9601


Events Sunday 27 August 2.30pm




Protest & Persist

There is a growing interest in depictions of the dark, complicated interior lives of women. How do writers approach these narratives, and what are their literary and cinematic predecessors? Megan Abbott and Joyce Carol Oates shed light on writing the dark side of womanhood.

Enlisting a diverse range of speakers, activists and writers, this free all-day event at ACMI’s The Cube will provide you with a social advocacy toolkit to tackle issues around systemic oppression, injustice and inequality.

From politics to the page, journalists Tony Jones (The Twentieth Man) and Dirk Kurbjuweit (Fear) have both used their news desk experience to write thrillers. They discuss how the real world inspires and informs their gripping works of fiction. Supported by Goethe-Institut Deakin Edge, Fed Square $22/$19 | Code 1404

THE BONE SEASON She’s been called the next JK Rowling for her bestselling fantasy series, The Bone Season – the first book of which was published when she was just 21. Now three novels in, British author Samantha Shannon invites you into her dystopic world. ACMI Studio 1 $22/$19 | Code 4404

ACMI Cinema 1 $22/$19 | Code 3404  4pm

INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM How does investigative journalism fit into the current media landscape of 24-hour news and infotainment? New Yorker writer David Grann and Buzzfeed’s Christine Kenneally examine longform’s function, future and funding. ACMI Studio 1 $22/$19 | Code 4405


Join Jax Jacki Brown, Upulie Divisekera, Jane Gilmore, Nayuka Gorrie, Ruby Hamad and more special guests to deconstruct today’s hot-button topics, including identity politics and the exploitation of culture, and get practical tips on keeping up the fight in the face of resistance. Visit for full details. Presented in partnership with Right Now 10am – 6pm ACMI The Cube

Events Sunday 27 August 4pm

THE ART OF LIFE Why is art important to everyday life? Elizabeth Kostova (The Shadow Land) and winner of the 2017 Stella Prize Heather Rose (The Museum of Modern Love) discuss the significance of art in their novels, as well as how the Balkan region informs their work. Supported by The Stella Prize ACMI Cinema 1 $22/$19 | Code 3405

Ned Kelly Awards The annual Ned Kelly Awards are back! Hosted by Jane Clifton, the awards celebrate Australia’s finest crime writing in a range of categories. The night will feature storytelling, prizes, laughter and more – join us for a criminally good time!


UTOPIA FOR REALISTS Exciting concepts like universal basic income and a 15-hour work week have long been utopian dreams – but can we make them a reality? And why would we? Dutch historian Rutger Bregman makes the case for transforming the way we live and work. Deakin Edge, Fed Square

Doors and bar open 6pm. 18+ event, ID may be requested. Supported by Australian Crime Writers Association 6.30pm The Toff in Town

Bring your book club to MWF! Save 15% on your tickets when you buy tickets for a group of six or more. For great book club recommendations, go to



Discover the Festival Club at ACMI Café + Bar – the meeting place for readers, writers and Festivalgoers. Catch up on your reading over a coffee, unwind with an MWF cocktail, and fuel your Festival with great food. Present your MWF ticket for a 10% discount on drinks and food at the Festival Club. Visit for full details.


MOLESKINE COFFEE & CREATE Sun 27 Aug & 3 Sep, 9.30am Festival Club

Start your day with a shot of caffeine and a dose of creativity! Join Madeleine Dore and special Festival guests as they reveal the tricks that help their creative lives flourish. Get the insight and inspiration you need to design your creative life – from journaling tips to sparking creativity. Supported by Moleskine


Stephen Dupont DON’T LOOK AWAY Wed 30 Aug, 6pm (180 minutes) Deakin Edge, Fed Square $22/$19 | Code 1705 

Against a backdrop of arresting photographs and film footage, multi-award-winning war photographer Stephen Dupont takes viewers on a powerful journey to the frontlines of Afghanistan, Rwanda, Vietnam and more. The haunting visual presentation is followed by a conversation with Dupont and accompanied by a photographic exhibition. 18+ event, ID may be requested. Supported by Canon



Osamah Sami Writer Comedian Failed cricketer Daggy dad Creative Victorian Catch Osamah at Melbourne Writers Festival or see true stories from his award-winning memoir Good Muslim Boy in the film Ali’s Wedding. Find out how the Victorian Government is supporting creative Victorians at 28

Events Monday 28 – Thursday 31 August Monday 8pm

Tuesday 6pm

Tuesday 7.30pm




Respected Australian journalist Sarah Ferguson (Four Corners, The Killing Season, 7.30) dissects the role of the media in a rapidly transforming national and global political environment.

As technology develops, writing and the way we consume it constantly changes form – but will it ever die out, or continue evolving in new, exciting ways? Ben Birchall, Amy Gray and Adam Pugh imagine the future of the written word.

Digital Rights Watch presents a live hack event: how secure is your personal information? A panel of privacy experts demonstrate how easy it is to derive sensitive facts from the digital traces we leave on the open web. Learn more about metadata retention and what you can do to protect yourself. Deakin Edge, Fed Square

Supported by the John Button Fund, Melbourne School of Government, The University of Melbourne Deakin Edge, Fed Square $22/$19 | Code 1605

Victorian Archives Centre Supported by and Public Record Office Victoria

Pop in to these lunchtime sessions to explore the intricacies of researching and archiving our literary histories.



What are the ethical challenges in writing about the people closest to us – and ourselves? Sheila Fitzpatrick, Bram Presser and Henry Rosenbloom share the intricacies of researching and writing their personal family histories.

Bernadette Brennan chronicles Helen Garner’s life and work in A Writing Life, while Rachel Buchanan is the curator of The University of Melbourne’s extensive Germaine Greer Archive. They discuss the process and challenges of researching and archiving these prolific living writers.

Tues 29 Aug, 1pm Victorian Archives Centre $22/$19 | Code 6600

Deakin Edge, Fed Square   Wednesday 6.30pm

DEFIANT EARTH In Defiant Earth, Clive Hamilton ruminates on humankind’s undeniable impact on the planet, and makes the case for a new kind of anthropocentrism. He is joined by Stephen Ames and Ghassan Hage to discuss the best ways in which humans should respond to challenges facing the Earth. St Paul’s Cathedral $12 | Code 6704

Wed 30 Aug, 1pm Victorian Archives Centre $22/$19 | Code 6700


Events Friday 1 September 10am



COLD WAR GAMES How do politics play out on the sporting field? Exploring the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, Harry Blutstein (Cold War Games) reveals how East–West tensions and propaganda manifested in sport during the Cold War – and how governments used Olympic enthusiasm to their advantage.



How is the experience of Alzheimer’s disease – as patient, carer or onlooker – reflected in fiction? Rachel Khong (Goodbye, Vitamin) and Harriet McKnight (Rain Birds) explore the condition’s effect on family, friends and loved ones in their debut novels.

ACMI Studio 1 $22/$19 | Code 4901

ACMI Studio 1 $22/$19 | Code 4902

What’s more important in politics: personality or policy? Judith Brett (Robert Menzies’ Forgotten People), Rebecca Huntley (Still Lucky) and Laura Tingle (In Search of Good Government) discuss what makes a great politician – and what happens when personal ambition is put ahead of party priorities.



How did Australian politics get to its current demoralised state? What needs to change for good governance to return? Join journalists George Megalogenis and Laura Tingle as they explore the past, present and future of Australian politics.

Joan of Arc, Queen Victoria: two women who radically changed the course of history. What can we learn about them by looking at their stories anew? Ali Alizadeh (The Last Days of Jeanne d’Arc) and Julia Baird (Victoria: The Queen) discuss.

Deakin Edge, Fed Square $22/$19 | Code 1901

SECOND-GENERATION NARRATIVES The second-generation Australian experience is reflected in many new works of literature. How does an understanding of place, home and family inform storytelling – and increase understanding about migration? Randa Abdel-Fattah, Maxine Beneba Clarke, AS Patrić and Alice Pung explore. ACMI Cinema 1 $22/$19 | Code 3901


ACMI Cinema 1 $22/$19 | Code 3902  1pm

NIR BARAM: A LAND WITHOUT BORDERS Over his 18-month journey around the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Nir Baram witnessed the region’s complicated and ongoing conflict – and the lives entangled in it. Join the Israeli journalist as he uncovers difficult truths about life during civil war. ACMI Studio 1 $22/$19 | Code 4903

Deakin Edge, Fed Square $22/$19 | Code 1903

THE FIFTH ESTATE: HINDU NATIONALISM IN INDIA Hindu Nationalism is on the rise in India today. How does it impact Hindus, religious minorities in India and other countries in the region? Join authors Barkha Dutt, Meena Kandasamy and Shashi Tharoor as they talk politics and religion in the world’s largest democracy. Hosted by Sally Warhaft. Supported by the Wheeler Centre ACMI Cinema 1 $22/$19 | Code 3903


Reni Eddo-Lodge ON RACE Fri 1 Sep, 11.30am Deakin Edge, Fed Square $22/$19 | Code 1902  British journalist Reni Eddo-Lodge (Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race) explores the issues surrounding white supremacy, feminism, class and race through her lived experience as a black woman. How can those who’ve never personally experienced racism acknowledge and help fight it, while not speaking over marginalised voices?


Events Friday 1 September 2.30pm






Stories about the interior lives of women have resonated with readers for centuries. How do contemporary writers evoke such tales through history and place – and why are they so enduring? Award-winning writers Tracy Chevalier (At the Edge of the Orchard) and Hannah Kent (The Good People) discuss.

Is the resurgence of populist and right-wing, nationalist demagoguery a threat to democracy? Join Tony Birch, Jeff Sparrow and Micah White as they discuss whether our system of government can survive these attacks to its integrity. Are we still convinced that democracy will spread around the globe?

What is the enduring appeal of happy endings in love stories? Maggie Alderson (The Scent of You), Mel Campbell and Anthony Morris (co-authors of The Hot Guy), and Fiona Lowe (Daughter of Mine) explore this common trope and reveal their approaches towards happily ever after.

Deakin Edge, Fed Square $22/$19 | Code 1904

Supported by Overland

ACMI Studio 1 $22/$19 | Code 4905


ACMI Studio 1 $22/$19 | Code 4904  4pm

Housing has become favoured for investment over shelter, with Australians accumulating larger amounts of debt to purchase property. What stress is this placing on the economy, and what is the effect on homelessness and other inequality? Lyn Craig, Glyn Davis and George Megalogenis investigate.

A civilised democracy needs vibrant public interest journalism. Join pillars of the industry Julia Baird, Eric Beecher and Jamila Rizvi for a rigorous discussion on the state of Australian media and its role – and responsibility – in the shaping of our society.

Supported by the Faculty of Arts, The University of Melbourne

Supported by Australian Communities Foundation

ACMI Cinema 1 $22/$19 | Code 3904

Deakin Edge, Fed Square $22/$19 | Code 1905


THE FIFTH ESTATE: AMERICAN POWER IN THE MIDDLE EAST As Syria endures its seventh year of conflict, join Independent correspondent Robert Fisk to examine foreign political involvement in the region. How are the interventions of world and regional powers intensifying conflict, and are we witnessing the collapse of American power in the Middle East? Hosted by Sally Warhaft. Supported by the Wheeler Centre ACMI Cinema 1 $22/$19 | Code 3905

Asia What? What are the ‘authentic’ stories of Asians and ‘Asian-ness’? How are Asian narratives crafted, and as settlers what are their relationships with Indigenous peoples? Explore these provocations with the writing community through a day of free discussion, performances, workshops and reflection at ACMI’s The Cube. Visit for full details. Presented in partnership with the Asian Australian Democracy Caucus 10am – 4pm ACMI The Cube


Events Friday 1 September 4.30pm



From The Cruel Sea to Beasts of Bourbon, Tex Perkins is a prolific force in Australian music. The rock icon discusses his life and career as chronicled in his memoir, TEX – then puts his musical prowess on show with a live performance.

Enjoy an immersive intercultural exchange with writers from Vietnam, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. Through live performance, David Carlin, Daryll Delgado, Francesca Rendle-Short, Nhã Thuyên, Christos Tsiolkas, Ellen van Neerven and others showcase their work with the WrICE program.

Supported by 3RRR 102.7FM and The Melbourne Gin Company 8.30pm (90 minutes) Deakin Edge, Fed Square $30/$27 | Code 1907

Supported by WrICE ACMI The Cube (90 minutes)

MWF at Dandenong Express yourself through words and storytelling. MWF celebrates the cultural richness of the Dandenong community with this series of free activities and events to inspire readers and writers of all backgrounds. Supported by the City of Greater Dandenong




Join writer, director, comedian and spoken word artist Osamah Sami in this special event for City of Greater Dandenong students and young adults. Sami presents insights into his extraordinary life experiences and writing across books, film and TV.

Enjoy a light lunch, meet fellow bookworms and go behind the scenes of the Monsarrat series with authors Meg and Tom Keneally. The father–daughter writing duo will discuss Australia’s convict history, and how it has influenced and inspired their work.

From dreams to fears, humour to heartbreak, the concept of Tomorrow means different things to different people. Join us for an entertaining night of storytelling, as some of MWF’s finest artists share their thoughts, ideas and stories on what comes after today.

Fri 1 Sep, 11am Dandenong Library Free, bookings required Code 0901

Sat 2 Sep, 12.30pm (90 minutes) Dandenong Library Free, bookings required Code 0101

Sat 2 Sep, 6.30pm Walker Street Gallery & Arts Centre Free, bookings required Code 0102


Events Saturday 2 September 10am





With comparisons to Atwood and Murakami, award-winning author Wu Ming-Yi is one of Taiwan’s finest writers. The prolific author showcases his impressive body of work, including his latest novel, the enigmatic and moving The Stolen Bicycle.

Can travelling help us find hope during the darkest times of our lives? Lisa Dempster (Neon Pilgrim) and Sheridan Jobbins (Wish You Were Here) recount their adventures – and how packing their bags helped them put themselves back together.

SARAH SCHMIDT: SEE WHAT I HAVE DONE Lizzie Borden took an axe. Or did she? Discover Sarah Schmidt’s startling debut, See What I Have Done, and journey into the eerie world she has created to share a new take on the life of one of America’s most infamous women.

ACMI Studio 1 $22/$19 | Code 4101

NGV Australia, Theatre $22/$19 | Code 6100

NGV Australia, Theatre $22/$19 | Code 6103






In Blindness and Rage, Patrick White Award winner Brian Castro asks questions of literary fate and authorship. Join the esteemed Australian writer as he peels back the layers of his challenging new allegorical verse novel.

What is the experience of minorities living in Trump’s America? How do people survive and resist when they live in a country with an antagonistic leader? Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, Min Jin Lee and Micah White report in.

ACMI Studio 1 $22/$19 | Code 4102

Deakin Edge, Fed Square $22/$19 | Code 1103



From housing affordability and workplace security to education, millennials are faced with unique challenges – but is it worse than what previous generations went through, or just different? Mark Davis, Rebecca Huntley, and Jamila Rizvi explore.

Stop and smell the roses with Maggie Alderson, one of the world’s bestselling writers, as she discusses her latest novel, The Scent of You – a heady exploration of love, loss and forgiveness through the eyes of a perfume blogger.

With unprecedented access to previously classified party documents, historian Frank Dikötter’s The Cultural Revolution sheds new light on the Chinese Cultural Revolution. What was it like to live through this period of national upheaval, and how did it change the face of China forever? Deakin Edge, Fed Square $22/$19 | Code 1101

TOWARDS INCLUSIVITY In an often racist world, how do we fight intense hatred both individually and as communities – and keep hope alive? Amani AlKhatahtbeh, Reni Eddo-Lodge and Sami Shah speak up, and suggest ways to move towards inclusivity. ACMI Cinema 1 $22/$19 | Code 3101


Deakin Edge, Fed Square $22/$19 | Code 1102

ACMI Studio 1 $22/$19 | Code 4103

Events Saturday 2 September 1pm






Discover the new – and existing – technologies that could save our planet. From innovative renewable power sources to the possibilities of kelp as a carbon reducer, acclaimed scientist Tim Flannery makes a compelling case for an optimistic future.

What can bird-watching teach us about life? Birds Art Life is a meditation on how inspiration, beauty and solace can be found in the natural world, based on a year in author Kyo Maclear’s life. Join her as she shares her discoveries.

ACMI Cinema 1 $22/$19 | Code 3103

ACMI Cinema 1 $22/$19 | Code 3104

Contemporary India embodies multiple – and often uncomfortable – intersections of culture, religion, growth and tradition, and frequently sends out shockwaves as it changes. Hear from leading Indian journalist Barkha Dutt (This Unquiet Land: Stories From India’s Fault Lines) who has spent over two decades mapping these tremors. NGV Australia, Theatre $22/$19 | Code 6104

Readings Recommends Celebrate the very best in new Australian fiction with Readings. Free in The Cube at ACMI. Supported by Readings FAMILY & GRIEF Join Melanie Joosten (Gravity Well) and Eliza Henry-Jones (Ache) to discuss their work’s themes of grief, trauma and family. 10am READINGS PRIZE SHORTLIST This session features two authors shortlisted for the 2017 Readings Prize. 11.30am

DYSTOPIAN FICTION Discover speculative fiction writers Sally Abbott (Closing Down) and Jane Rawson (From the Wreck). 1pm AUSTRALIAN CRIME Uncover brilliant local crime writers Sarah Bailey (The Dark Lake) and Mark Brandi (Wimmera). 2.30pm

YA BOOK PRIZE Meet the winner of the inaugural Readings Young Adult Book Prize. 4pm SHORT STORIES Hear from Melanie Cheng (Australia Day), Jennifer Down (Pulse Points) and Ryan O’Neill (Their Brilliant Careers), who will each read a short story from their collections. 5.30pm


Events Saturday 2 September 2.30pm




From Pauline Hanson to the United Patriots Front, Australian right-wing extremism is flourishing. How did we get here – and what’s next? Go behind the headlines with Anna Broinowski, Stan Grant and David Marr to discover more about the rise of conservatism in Australia. Deakin Edge, Fed Square $22/$19 | Code 1104


In literature as in life, Sam Dastyari’s memoir is unexpected and unorthodox. Meet the man behind the media portrayal, and discover One Halal of a Story – a noholds-barred look at the good and bad of family, politics and being Sam. With John Safran. ACMI Cinema 1 $22/$19 | Code 3105


Join one of Australia’s best contemporary authors Steven Carroll to discuss A New England Affair, the third book of his acclaimed Eliot Quartet. An intense account of a love that never finds the right moment, be swept away by the romantic story of TS Eliot’s muse, Emily Hale.

How does pop culture help young women make sense of their place in the world? Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, Hera Lindsay Bird, Brodie Lancaster and Patricia Lockwood talk representation, diversity and online support networks – and how TV, music and the internet are shaping the next generation of feminists.

NGV Australia, Theatre $22/$19 | Code 6105

Deakin Edge, Fed Square $22/$19 | Code 1105




From the Women’s March to Occupy and Standing Rock, we have entered a new wave of activism – but is protest working? Celeste Liddle, Laurie Penny and Micah White discuss the need for innovation in activism to enact real political change.

Discover the film essay genre with two leading artists. Director and producer Santilla Chingaipe and writer–director John Hughes share their insights, passions and industry experience on telling documentary stories. Supported by Victoria University NGV Australia, Theatre $22/$19 | Code 6106


ACMI Studio 1 $22/$19 | Code 4105

Louder Together Writers resist! Join the Festival’s most exciting poets and thinkers, including Meena Kandasamy, Jeff Sparrow, Nhã Thuyên and Ellen van Neerven, for an explosive and energising performance event exploring solidarity and collectivism – because we’re louder together. Hosted by Omar Musa. 8pm Deakin Edge, Fed Square

Events Industry Insights Ready to take your writing to the next level? Learn the craft from the creators of the world’s best literature. From masterclasses to seminars, these hands-on events at The University of Melbourne will educate and inspire writers, publishers and editors at all career stages. Visit for full details. Supported by the Faculty of Arts, The University of Melbourne

SEMINAR: JOURNALISM Gain insight into the art and craft of writing longform narrative journalism with The New Yorker’s David Grann. Mon 28 Aug, 6pm (90 minutes) $50/$40 | Code 7503

SEMINAR: SERIAL STORYTELLING Webseries creator Hayley Adams (i can’t even) and TV producer and showrunner Tony Ayres (The Family Law, The Slap) give advice for writers working within these mediums. Tue 29 Aug, 6pm (90 minutes) $50/$40 | Code 7001




Learn the process of translation – including its challenges – as Taiwanese author Wu Ming-Yi discusses his novel, The Stolen Bicycle.

Anosh Irani (The Parcel) and Kevin Kwan (Rich People Problems) lead this seminar on how to write diverse characters without speaking over real-life identities.

Fri 1 Sep, 10am (180 minutes) $140/$120 | Code 7902

Fri 1 Sep, 6pm (90 minutes) $50/$40 | Code 7901


Meet the students and academics behind the new Grattan Street Press and hear more about their publishing processes.

Kyo Maclear (Birds Art Life) leads a masterclass on the art of creative and narrative nonfiction, offering tips and tricks.

Thu 31 Aug, 5pm (90 minutes) $50/$40 | Code 7602

Fri 1 Sep, 2pm (180 minutes) $140/$120 | Code 7903


Events Local Libraries



Don’t miss international and local Festival guests at a library near you.

Uncover the art of writing YA fiction with Rebecca Lim. The acclaimed author of Afterlight and The Astrologer’s Daughter will reveal the process behind her creative writing practice – and give you some tricks and tips to help you refine your own.

Part travel memoir, part historical portrait, Return to Moscow explores Russia’s complex history from the perspective of a former Cold War diplomat revisiting for the first time in decades. Discover the great nation through the eyes of Australian writer Tony Kevin.

Sun 27 Aug, 2pm Carnegie Library and Community Centre Free, bookings required Code 6402

Mon 28 Aug, 7pm Glen Eira Town Hall Theatrette Free, bookings required Code 9501

GABI MARTÍNEZ Meet Gabi Martínez, one of Spain’s most unique and prolific literary writers, as he discusses his body of work, including his most recent book, In the Land of Giants – part travel memoir, part murder mystery. Sat 26 Aug, 3pm Preston Library Free, bookings required Code 6307

MEGAN ABBOTT What makes a great crime novel? How do authors conjure suspense and intrigue, while delicately crafting the dark worlds of victims and perpetrators? Award-winning American author Megan Abbott (You Will Know Me) gives an intimate insight into the art of crafting crime fiction. Sat 26 Aug, 3.30pm St Kilda Library Free, bookings required Code 9303

SIMON LONGSTAFF Whether social or moral, huge or relatively inconsequential, ethical quandaries present themselves to us daily. Director of The Ethics Centre Simon Longstaff (Everyday Ethics) reflects on and discusses the importance of all of our choices, no matter how small they may be. Sun 27 Aug, 3.30pm St Kilda Library Free, bookings required Code 9403

DENNIS GLOVER Explore the life of George Orwell – and his last and greatest novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four – with acclaimed Australian writer Dennis Glover, who has reimagined the classic novelist’s final years through fiction in The Last Man in Europe. Mon 28 Aug, 6.30pm Newport Community Hub Free, bookings required Code 6504


HEATHER ROSE The winner of the 2017 Stella Prize, The Museum of Modern Love is a unique novel about the way art touches and connects ordinary people’s lives. Author Heather Rose discusses the 11-year process behind writing the book. Tue 29 Aug, 7pm Sam Merrifield Library Free, bookings required Code 6604

CREATING CHARACTERS What do literary characters tell us about who we are? Short story writers Tony Birch and Melanie Cheng discuss creating characters – and how it can be a powerful tool in revealing truths about countries and cultures. Wed 30 Aug, 6.30pm Bargoonga Nganjin, North Fitzroy Library Free, bookings required Code 6605




Award-winning Australian novelist Hannah Kent discusses her atmospheric and intriguing new novel, The Good People. Set in 19thcentury Ireland, the novel centres around three women who are brought together by strange and troubling events – and the superstitions that illuminate their journey.

See page 33 for details.

Exploring themes of violence and survival through the transformative lens of music, Music and Freedom is a powerful and affecting read. Join author and musician Zoë Morrison as she peels back the layers of her Readings Prize–winning novel.

Thu 31 Aug, 6pm Camberwell Library Free, bookings required Code 6806

AS PATRIĆ The winner of the 2016 Miles Franklin prize, Black Rock White City is an essential look into the refugee experience, and how it affects generations, in suburban Australia. Author AS Patrić unpacks his acclaimed novel. Thu 31 Aug, 6.30pm Realm (Ringwood Library) Free, bookings required Code 6804

TIM FLANNERY Acclaimed scientist Tim Flannery (Sunlight and Seaweed) explores the new – and existing – technologies that could save the planet. From innovative renewable power sources to the potential in kelp to reduce carbon, discover the range of possibilities already on earth that point towards a brighter future. Thu 31 Aug, 7pm Monash Gallery of Art Free, bookings required Code 6805

Fri 1 Sep, 11am Dandenong Library Free, bookings required Code 0901

MEENA KANDASAMY Meet feminist writer Meena Kandasamy as she peels back the layers on her courageous autofiction novel When I Hit You – an exploration of love, domestic violence, and the pitfalls of traditional wedlock in modern India. Fri 1 Sep, 7pm Geelong Library and Heritage Centre Free, bookings required Code 6201

MEG & TOM KENEALLY See page 33 for details. Sat 2 Sep, 12:30pm (90 minutes) Dandenong Library Free, bookings required Code 0101

Sat 2 Sep, 1pm Frankston Library Free, bookings required Code 9102

SOFIE LAGUNA Sofie Laguna (The Eye of the Sheep) is back with The Choke, a novel narrated by a child navigating a dark and uncaring world of violence. Join the Miles Franklin–winning author as she discusses her gripping new book. Sat 2 Sep, 2.30pm Beaumaris Library Free, bookings required Code 9103

JULIA BAIRD One of Australia’s leading journalists, Julia Baird explores the extraordinary story of Queen Victoria in her new book, Victoria: The Queen, painting the revolutionary ruler in a new light. Join her as she reveals a fascinating, provocative life. Sat 2 Sep, 6pm Doncaster Library Free, bookings required Code 6109


Events Sunday 3 September 10am






A gripping literary page-turner, The Parcel follows a transgender sex worker in Bombay who is given an unexpected task. Join criticallyacclaimed Indian–Canadian author Anosh Irani to discuss his novel’s themes of identity, gender, choice and redemption.

What happens when a dysfunctional family tries to put tensions aside to celebrate a milestone? Beloved author Robert Drewe discusses his exhilarating new novel, Whipbird – a classic family saga told in a uniquely Australian way.

ACMI Cinema 1 $22/$19 | Code 2111

Deakin Edge, Fed Square $22/$19 | Code 1111



She founded at just 17, and is now a leading international feminist and activist. Amani Al-Khatahtbeh discusses growing up Muslim in post-9/11 America, and how she turned hardship into a revolution for young women just like her. ACMI The Cube

REIMAGINING LITERARY FIGURES Dennis Glover (The Last Man in Europe), Ryan O’Neill (Their Brilliant Careers) and Marija Peričić (The Lost Pages) explore the lives and motivations of literary figures real and imagined. From Kafka to Orwell, discover the appeal – and sometimes absurdity – of writers writing about writers. ACMI Studio 1 $22/$19 | Code 4111


MEDIA STORM How have technological advances changed the way we talk about the weather? In Media Storm, journalist Lawrie Zion explores the role of the internet and media in reframing our relationship with weather, as well as shaping our understanding of climate change. ACMI Studio 1 $22/$19 | Code 4112

MEG & TOM KENEALLY: THE UNMOURNED In the depths of the Parramatta Female Factory, the latest mystery unravels. Join Australian literary greats Meg and Tom Keneally as they discuss their latest Monsarrat novel, The Unmourned. ACMI Cinema 1 $22/$19 | Code 2112

How can women overcome sexism to succeed in male-dominated industries? Drawing on research and personal experience, seasoned feminists and journalists Jamila Rizvi (Not Just Lucky) and Tracey Spicer (The Good Girl Stripped Bare) discuss the structural barriers facing women of all ages in the workplace. Deakin Edge, Fed Square $22/$19 | Code 1112  1pm

MIN JIN LEE: PACHINKO An epic tale spanning four generations of a family, taking them from Korea to Japan, Pachinko explores themes of love, death and survival. Author Min Jin Lee discusses her sprawling new novel, and how it ties into her own heritage and identity. ACMI Cinema 1 $22/$19 | Code 2113

MARK BAKER: THIRTY DAYS After his wife of 32 years died of stomach cancer, Mark Baker sought to bring her back to life through the magic of memory. He reflects on love, intimacy, grief and the mysteries of life and death in Thirty Days. ACMI Studio 1 $22/$19 | Code 4113

Events Don’t miss any of the action – keep up to date with #MWF17 on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Join our #MicroReview competition for your chance to win an exclusive MWF Moleskine notebook pack. Summarise a book into a tweet and we’ll select the most creative entry every day of the Festival.

Digital Storytellers Experience more of MWF with our Digital Storytellers. Go behind the scenes of the Festival, get recaps and reviews of sessions and maybe catch an interview with MWF guests! Join Booktubers Rebecca from BeccatheBookReviewer and Chami from ReadLikeWildfire, and bloggers Rebecca Gough, Kate Lloyd (Lillytales) and Joyce Watts (TOT: HOT OR NOT) as they share their Festival adventures. Visit for more details.


Events Sunday 3 September 1pm






What happens when your beliefs go against the majority of those within your religion, culture or minority group? From pro-queer Christians to a pro-Palestine Jewish academic, hear from Na’ama Carlin, Tim Kroenert and Angus McLeay as they discuss the tensions between belonging and belief.

As MWF draws to a close, eleven brilliant writers will share their take on the Festival’s theme of revolution. Featuring Daryll Delgado, Christos Tsiolkas, Ellen van Neerven, Martin Villanueva, Steven Winduo and leading writers from across Australia and the Asia Pacific. Sit back and enjoy a chorus of voices and perspectives.

What drives people towards political and religious radicalism? From US Republicans to ISIS supporters and the Ku Klux Klan, Nir Baram, Nancy MacLean and John Safran explore the factors at play in, and the psychology behind, extremism today. Deakin Edge, Fed Square $22/$19 | Code 1113

Supported by Eureka Street


ACMI Cinema 1 $22/$19 | Code 2114



Unearth the poetic inspiration of plants and place with Australian poets. Join Bonny Cassidy, Elena Gomez, Duncan Hose, Carissa Lee, Cameron Lowe, Bruce Pascoe, Ryan Prehn, Autumn Royal, Maria Takolander and Chris Wallace-Crabbe for a poetic tour of the Royal Botanic Gardens.

Kevin Kwan’s satirical novel Crazy Rich Asians became an international bestseller in 2013 and is now being made into a major motion picture. Meet the man behind the hit and discover his latest novel, Rich People Problems, which is as brilliantly abundant in drama and glitz as his previous works.

Supported by Australian Poetry, Red Room Poetry and Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria

ACMI Studio 1 $22/$19 | Code 4114

Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria (90 minutes) Free, bookings required Code 6111

Deakin Edge, Fed Square $22/$19 | Code 1114  4pm

MEET TRACY CHEVALIER Meet bestselling author Tracy Chevalier to discuss her expansive body of work over two decades, including Girl with a Pearl Earring and her latest novels, New Boy and At the Edge of the Orchard – and hear how art and history inspire her writing. ACMI Cinema 1 $22/$19 | Code 2115

LIA HILLS: THE CRYING PLACE Journeying into the heart of the Australian desert, The Crying Place is a haunting novel about love, grief and country. Author Lia Hills is interviewed by Tony Birch about her new novel and its exploration of the transformative power of place. ACMI Studio 1 $22/$19 | Code 4115


Events Sunday 3 September


7.30pm till late



MWF’s beloved Queer Literary Salon is back for another year! Join Hera Lindsay Bird, Norman Pasaribu, Laurie Penny, Raina Peterson and Omar Sakr for a celebratory evening of revelry, revelation and revolution, all centred around the world’s best queer literary voices. Hosted by Karen From Finance.

We’ve had a huge two weeks of thought-provoking discussion, laughter and social events – what a Festival! Now it’s time to shake it all off with drinks and dancing, to farewell yet another stellar MWF in style.

Doors and bar open 4.30pm. Limited seating with plenty of standing room available. 18+ event, ID may be requested.

The Toff in Town

Supported by Star Observer The Toff in Town (150 minutes) $30/$27 | Code 6101


Children & Teens Sunday 3 September There’s something for kids of all ages at MWF. Hands-on workshops will delight and educate the little ones, while young adult literature takes centre stage with #LoveOzYA. Meet beloved writers and illustrators at free Fed Square events, and take part in a magical, all-day celebration of 20 years of Harry Potter. For kids who love to read, there’s no better place to be. 11am – 4pm




Let the power of your imagination take you on a journey to a world of wonder. Hear from award-winning children’s authors and take part in fun storytelling sessions. Presented as part of ACMI’s Free Family Sundays ACMI   11.30am

BRUCE PASCOE: FOG A DOX Bruce Pascoe discusses his Prime Minister’s Literary Award–winning young adult classic, Fog a Dox. This story of courage, acceptance and respect integrates Indigenous cultural knowledge and awareness in finely crafted storytelling. ACMI The Cube

Hear beloved children’s author Kyo Maclear (Virginia Wolf) and Australian legend Shaun Tan (The Singing Bones) share their storytelling process and how they inspire imagination in young readers. ACMI The Cube   2.30pm

#LOVEOZYA Celebrate local YA with the best in the biz! #LoveOzYA authors Amie Kaufman, Melissa Keil, Ellie Marney and Alice Pung discuss the importance of representation, telling Australian stories and why YA is important for teens and adults alike. With Danielle Binks. ACMI The Cube

Activities at Artplay Let your creativity loose at ArtPlay! From handson journal workshops to games, poetry classes and music, these sessions are designed for children aged 5 to 12, encouraging and fostering a love of writing, art and imagination. Visit for full details.


Teens at Signal Emerging creative? Look no further than Signal for a host of great free events over two days, with podcasting tips, creative writing workshops and a chance to ask your favourite YA novelists about their work. Visit for full details.

WORKSHOP: A SEAT AT THE TABLE Still Nomads Sat 26 Aug, 11am

YA AMA Danielle Binks, Melissa Keil, Angie Thomas Sun 27 Aug, 11am

WORKSHOP: WEBSERIES Hayley Adams Sat 26 Aug, 3pm

LIVE PODCAST: STARVING ARTIST Honor Eastly, Brodie Lancaster, Celeste Mountjoy, TextaQueen Sun 27 Aug, 3pm

Children & Teens Harry Potter Day Sun 3 Sep, 10am – 3pm Fed Square

Accio good times! Whether you’re a Muggle, wizard or Squib, join us for a free all-ages celebration of 20 years of the boy who lived. With live performances, a Sorting Hat, story time and more, share in the magic of the wizarding world with Professor Frankie Falconette. Wear your Hogwarts robes for a chance to win prizes. Mischief managed! Visit for full details.


Festival Guests Megan Abbott

16, 17, 24, 38

Mel Campbell


Else Fitzgerald

Sally Abbott


Ella Carey


Sheila Fitzpatrick

18, 29

Randa Abdel-Fattah


Susan Carland


Tim Flannery

36, 39

Yassmin Abdel-Magied


David Carlin


Clementine Ford

18, 23

Jennifer Ackerman


Na’ama Carlin


Sanaz Fotouhi



Garcia Sisters


Hayley Adams

37, 44

Jane Caro

Maggie Alderson

32, 34

Steven Carroll

15, 36


Bonny Cassidy


Jane Gilmore

23, 24 38, 40

Ali Alizadeh Amani Al-Khatahtbeh

34, 36, 40

Ken Gelder


Brian Castro


Dennis Glover

Dennis Altman


Michael Cathcart


Elena Gomez

Stephen Ames


Melanie Cheng

35, 38

Nayuka Gorrie

18, 23, 24

Michalia Arathimos


Tracy Chevalier

32, 42

David Grann

22, 24, 37

Michael Arnold


Santilla Chingaipe


Stan Grant

Amal Awad


Maxine Beneba Clarke


Amy Gray

Tony Ayres


Jane Clifton


Kate Grenville


Kate Cole-Adams


Charles G Gross


Ghassan Hage


Sarah Bailey Julia Baird

30, 32, 39

Mark Baker


Nir Baram

30, 42

Claire Coleman

18, 22

Lyn Craig


Sophie Cunningham

16, 18


10, 36 29 17, 22

Ruby Hamad

23, 24

Clive Hamilton


Eric Beecher


Sam Dastyari


Rebecca Harkins-Cross


Namila Benson


Jim Davidson


Jane Harrison


Danielle Binks


Mark Davis


Pip Harry


15, 32, 38, 42

Glyn Davis


Chris Healy


Eliza Henry-Jones


Tony Birch Ben Birchall


Daryll Delgado

33, 42

36, 43

Lisa Dempster


Lia Hills



Robert Dessaix


Anni Hine Moana


Katherine Boland


Frank DikĂśtter


Kate Holden


Clare Bowditch


Upulie Divisekera


Judy Horacek



Hera Lindsay Bird Harry Blutstein

Mark Brandi

Madeleine Dore


Duncan Hose


22, 25

Jennifer Down


John Hughes


Bernadette Brennan


Robert Drewe


Rebecca Huntley

30, 34

Judith Brett


Stephen Dupont


Anosh Irani

37, 40

Nick Brodie


Barkha Dutt

30, 35

Erik Jensen


Anna Broinowski


Honor Eastly

Jax Jacki Brown


Reni Eddo-Lodge

Rutger Bregman

Rachel Buchanan

21, 29

15, 34

Tony Jones

10, 24


Melanie Joosten


Meena Kandasamy

23, 30, 36, 39

12, 32

Karen From Finance



Sarah Ferguson

Julian Burnside


Robert Fisk

Sheridan Jobbins

Professor Frankie Falconette

Lee-Ann Tjunypa Buckskin


44 23, 31, 34


Festival Guests Amie Kaufman Melissa Keil


Sean McMeekin

20, 22

Julianne Schultz


George Megalogenis

30, 32

Kim Scott

Meg Keneally

33, 40

Wu Ming-Yi

Tom Keneally

33, 40

Mission Songs Project

Christine Kenneally


Janet Mock

Hannah Kent

32, 39

Shireen Morris

Tony Kevin

22, 38

Anthony Morris

Laila Khalil


Zoë Morrison

Roya Khalil


Celeste Mountjoy

Sukhjit Khalsa

Rachel Khong


Garth Nix

Natalie Kon-yu


Ryan O’Neill

Elizabeth Kostova


Omar Musa

Katrina Sedgwick


Sami Shah


Samantha Shannon


Sovereign Trax

16 7, 18 18 17, 22, 34 22, 24 7


Jeff Sparrow

32, 36

23, 39

Tracey Spicer



Still Nomads


10, 36 22 35, 40

Maria Takolander Elizabeth Tan Shaun Tan

42 16, 18 44

22, 25

Joyce Carol Oates

8, 24

Andrew Taylor



Norman Pasaribu


Amelia Telford


Tim Kroenert


Bruce Pascoe

42, 44


Dirk Kurbjuweit


AS Patrić

30, 39

Shashi Tharoor

21, 30

Anna Krien

Kevin Kwan Sofie Laguna Brodie Lancaster Benjamin Law

37, 42

Laurie Penny

23, 36, 43

Susie Thatcher

22, 39

Marija Peričić


Angie Thomas

Tex Perkins


Nhã Thuyên


Laura Tingle

17, 36, 44 17

Min Jin Lee

34, 40

Carissa Lee

Raina Peterson


9, 44 33, 36 30

Levi Pinfold

Christos Tsiolkas

33, 42


Jennifer Porter

Jenny Valentish

17, 23

Celeste Liddle


Ryan Prehn


Ellen van Neerven

Rebecca Lim


Bram Presser


Denise Varney


Adam Pugh


Martin Villanueva


Patricia Lockwood Simon Longstaff

23, 36

Emma Viskic


Cameron Lowe


Leah Purcell


Chris Wallace-Crabbe


Fiona Lowe


Jane Rawson


Toby Walsh



Francesca Rendle-Short


Sally Warhaft

Nadia Rhook


Ally Watson

Melissa Lucashenko Nancy MacLean Kyo Maclear

16, 22, 38

21, 42 15, 35, 37, 44

Alice Pung

Jamila Rizvi

Emily Maguire


Heather Rose

Ellie Marney


Henry Rosenbloom


Autumn Royal

David Marr Gabi Martínez

16, 38

John Safran

30, 44

33, 36, 42

32, 34, 40 25, 38

Micah White

30, 32 22 32, 34, 36

Steven Winduo



Michael Winkler



Emily Witt

36, 42

Rachel Matthews


Omar Sakr


Harriet McKnight


Osamah Sami


Angus McLeay


Sarah Schmidt


16, 18, 22

Les Zig


Lawrie Zion



Essential Information ACCESSIBILITY


MWF is committed to making the Festival accessible for all. We provide a range of accessible services and facilities so that all booklovers have access to the Festival.

If you’d like a large text version of this program, please contact us on 03 9999 1199 or and we will email or post a copy to you.

If you’re buying tickets online, please enter any access requirements when prompted at checkout. Alternatively, call the MWF box office on 03 9999 1199 or email Service Animals Trained guide, hearing and assistance dogs are welcome at all Festival venues. Wheelchair Access Wheelchair access is available in all Fed Square venues. For details about the easiest entry points, and location of accessible toilets, visit Companion Card MWF supports and accepts the Companion Card. You can book in person at our box office, by phone on 03 9999 1199, or email A copy of your valid Companion Card is required. Assistive Listening Hearing loops are available in Fed Square including The Atrium, Deakin Edge and ACMI. For more information about each venue, visit AUSLAN Interpreters AUSLAN is available by request for any session in the program. Visit to make a request or alternatively call the MWF box office on 03 9999 1199 or email Low Vision Reserved seating is available for patrons with low vision. When buying tickets online, enter your request when prompted at the checkout, or call 03 9999 1199 to arrange these seats. Different Formats Available An audio version of Festival highlights and a text version of the program are available at A printed plain text version is available on request.


MWF is excited to partner with Vision Australia Radio. They will be offering a range of programs that feature book readings and podcasts of past MWF highlights plus interviews with some of this year’s most interesting writers. Find out more at

HOW TO BOOK The easiest way to buy tickets is online at or through the free MWF App for iOS or Android. Browse the program, purchase tickets, then show your tickets on screen at the door – no printing required! You can also book over the phone or in person at the box office. Phone 03 9999 1199 (10am – 5pm, Monday to Friday) Advance box office 21 July – 24 August Level 1, 176 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne (10am – 5pm, Monday to Friday) Festival box office 25 August – 3 September Atrium Entrance, Fed Square, Flinders Street, Melbourne (9am – 30 minutes after last session commences, daily) Visit or call 03 9999 1199 for booking terms and conditions.

EVENT TIMES Festival events are one hour in duration, unless otherwise stated.

Essential Information PASSES


5 Pass

Fed Square is easily reached by public transport. The closest train station is Flinders Street. Tram routes 1, 3, 3A, 5, 6, 8, 16, 64, 67 and 72 go to stop 13 on Swanston Street (Flinders Street Station); 35, 70 and 75 go to stops 5 (Flinders Street Station) and 6 (Russell Street) on Flinders Street, near Fed Square. Timetable information is available from Public Transport Victoria by calling 1800 800 007 or visiting Free bike racks are available in and around Fed Square. Public car parking is available at Fed Square and in Flinders Lane. A taxi rank is located outside Flinders Street station.

Save 19% on five standard Festival events. $89/$79

10 Pass Save 23% on 10 standard Festival events. $169/$159

GROUP BOOKINGS Save 15% when you book in a group of six or more. < To Immigration Museum, 1km Take 70, 75 or City Circle tram


St Paul’s Cathedral

tram stops 70, 75, City circle

tram stops 1, 3/3a, 5, 6, 8, 16, 64, 67, 72


Visitor Centre

Princes Bridge

Toilets ATM



Box Office

ACMI The Cube

Readings Bookshop ACMI ACMI Studio 1 Cinemas 1+2

Atrium Entrance

The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia

PLAZA Entrance

Big Screen


Deakin Edge


stria n

Rive r Te rrac e



to carpark

to A r

Yarra River


Flinders Street Station




tPla y, B irra run gM arr 100 m



Official Bookseller

EDUCATION PARTNERS Opening Night Gala Partner












The Hart Line Fund attributed to the Australian Communities Foundation

Bloomsbury Publishing Cinema Nova



Jayne Dullard (Vice Chair)

City of Greater Dandenong Cosmos

Maria & Allan J Myers AO QC

Jill Campbell (Secretary)

Creative Legal


Karen Monaghan

Evan Evans Faber Writing Academy

John Jerome Myers

Bob Sessions AM

Hargreaves Hill Brewing Co.


Jane Smith

Kooks Social Winery Liberty Victoria

6A Foundation



PEN Melbourne

BB & A Miller Fund attributed to the Australian Communities Foundation

Public Record Office Victoria

Caroline Cornish

The Alan Missen Foundation

Kate & Stephen Shelmerdine Family Foundation

The Melbourne Gin Company The Wheeler Centre WrICE

Support Us MWF is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to producing Victoria’s premier, annual literary event. Ongoing support is vital to ensure MWF continues to deliver excellent programming and offer free entry to at least a quarter of Festival events. Donate now:

Leg Up Foundation Dr George & Rosa Morstyn The Myer Foundation

GUARDIANS Malcolm Broomhead Ann & Michael Cohn Dominic & Natalie Dirupo Jayne Dullard Irene Kearsey

Fahim Ahad (Treasurer)

Jamila Rizvi

Michael Webster

Our very special thanks go to CPR Communications & Public Relations; Festival videographer Alessandro Frosali, photography stylist Rosanna West, John Paxinos and Associates; the MWF Programming and Schools’ Programming Advisory Committees; our Audience Advocates; plus each and every one of the wonderful staff and volunteers who are essential to the success of the Festival. Creative direction and design: Sweet Creative

Bernard Marin AM Jamila Rizvi Mark Rubbo OAM McLeod Family Foundation Nick Ruskin Sally Browne Fund attributed to the Australian Communities Foundation Jane Smith Michael Webster

MWF makes every effort to ensure that all details are correct at time of printing. Any unforeseen late program changes will be listed on our website and ticketholders will be notified via email.


Every year more than 200 people, like Alexa, volunteer to make MWF happen. Come along and say hello! #mwf17

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