With the official launch of this year’s Melbourne Writers Festival program last night, we’ve received a timely reminder of how quickly this epic festival has been creeping up on us. In a night that started the conversations about life and death, which pose as the overarching themes of this year’s program, those who were lucky enough to attend the launch were the first to hear about what’s happening this season. And wow, do these folks have an exciting festival planned!
With events from a ‘choose your own adventure’-style tour though a graveyard to a memorial service for dead pets, the Melbourne Writers Festival for 2018 is pushing the boundaries on what has been explored in the past, and the existing magic of MWF is getting an extra layer of awesomeness. As well as the traditional panels and in conversation panels, there’s also events such a high tea with Alice Pung at the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel, a spoken word cabaret inspired by Kurt Cobain’s masterworks, and authors eulogising their careers.
But in order to make searching through the program for the sessions right for you easier, we decided to share our top ten unmissable events at this year’s Melbourne Writers Festival. This program truly does have something for everyone. Push the boundaries of the conventional. Try something new. Experience something unheard of. Be a part of the conversations surrounding life and death at the 2018 Melbourne Writers Festival.
1. Juno Dawson: Teenage Fanclub
Saturday 25 August, 11.30am
‘Teenagers’, noted award-winning YA author Juno Dawson, ‘have seen things that would make milk curdle’. The UK writer hasn’t shied away from broaching big topics with younger readers. Sexuality, gender, mental health and the power of writing: she talks with pop icon Brendan Maclean.
2. Walk: Melbourne Through Rainbow-Coloured Glasses
Saturday 25 August, 2pm
Stroll alongside creative duo The Gents as they walk down memory lane, reminiscing on 16 years of life and love in Melbourne’s CBD. Exploring the personal and political, the walk will highlight places of historical significance for Melbourne’s LGBTI community.
3. So Much to Tell You: John Marsden & Alice Pung
Saturday 25 August, 4pm
Two Australian YA icons, John Marsden and Alice Pung, explore what they’ve learned from each other and compare philosophies on writing.
4. Juno Dawson AMA
Sunday 26 August, 11am
Find out all you ever wanted to know about writing YA, gender and learning about mental health with British YA sensation and trans activist Juno Dawson.
5. The Book That Made Me a Feminist
Sunday 26 August, 11.30am
The path to feminism often begins with the powerful act of discovering the right text at the right time. Neko Case, Maxine Beneba Clarke, Michelle Law, Hollie McNish and Emily Nussbaum nominate the novel that set them alight.
6. Amie Kaufman
Sunday 26 August, 3pm
Hear New York Times bestselling author Amie Kaufman talk about her writing, including YA sci-fi behemoths The Illuminae Files and The Starbound Trilogy, her obsession with deep space and her work as a storytelling consultant at NASA.
7. All About YA Seminar
Monday 27 August, 7.45pm
Young adult fiction is wildly popular among both adults and teens. Learn about this successful market with international YA superstar Juno Dawson (UK), Australia’s Leanne Hall, and lecturer Penni Russon.
8. Breaking Down the Publishing World
Tuesday 28 August, 7pm
A workshop and network event to help emerging writers understand the ‘how to’ of getting a book published. With distinguished publishers, book publicists and authors, discover how to open a window into the publishing world.
9. Ownership of Our Narrative
Friday 31 August, 1pm
Journalist and filmmaker Santilla Chingaipe is joined by special guests to discuss the discourse around diversity and real inclusion beyond tokenism.
10. Death of a Playwright
Sunday 2 September, 2.30pm
Could an artificial neural network ever write Hamlet? Or Home and Away? With advancing technology, could AI replace artists altogether? John theatre scholar Rachel Fensham and digital artist Chris Rodley for a performance of scripts authored by AI.