Recently in Literary Festivals Category

2012 Crime and Justice Festival

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Details of the 2012 Crime and Justice Festival have now been released along with a special announcement

Basically, the festival runs in Melbourne from 16-18 November and the special guest is a certain Scottish crime writer who is also International patron of the festival.

2012 Bendigo Writers' Festival

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Bendigo's first writers' festival will be held over the weekend of August 10-12 2012.  Confirmed guests include Gideon Haigh, Leigh Hobbs, Margo Lanagan, Alex Miller, Don Watson and Alexis Wright.

2012 Melbourne Writers Festival Program

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The program for the 2012 Melbourne Writers' Festival was released today.  You can get a hard copy by buying a paper version of The Age or you can go to the Festival website to browse and book your tickets.

Director Steve Grimwade offers some highlights.

2010 Writers at the Convent Literary Festival

The third annual Writers at the Convent Festival will be held this weekend (February 12-14) at the Abbotsford Convent.

Guests include: Alan Attwood, Roger Averill, Tony Birch, Danielle Clode, Catherine Deveny, Garry Disher, Alex Miller, and Matthew Reilly.

A full program is available on the festival's website.

Upcoming Literary Festivals

Here are a couple of upcoming literary festivals that you might be interested in over the next few weeks.

"The Flight of the Mind: Writing" and the creative Imagination will be held over the weekend of October 24-25 at the National Library Theatre in Canberra. the keynote speech will be delivered by Geraldine Brooks and the weekend program includes Steven Conte, Rodney Hall, Andrea Goldsmith, Brian Dibble, Mark McKenna, Michael Morton-Evans, Felicity Packard, Kevin Brophy, Claire Thomas, Judy Horacek, Lisa Gorton, James Bradley, Terri-ann White, Mabel Lee, Peter Goldsworthy, Sophie Cunningham, Aviva Tuffield, Peter Pierce and Alex Miller.  There is also a pre-conference dinner on the Friday night.

The Second Toolangi Festival will take place over the same weekend (October 24/25) in Toolangi, near Healesville in Victoria's Yarra Valley. The festival is designed to commemorate C.J. Dennis who lived in or near the town between 1908 and 1938, when he died.  The full program of the festival is available.  I'm aiming for the Sunday.

Melbourne Writers Festival Reports #4


I've fallen behind in these Melbourne Writers Festival reports - put it down to business, work, attending the Ned Kelly Awards, weekend stuff and, well, life.  But the festival is now over and if I don't get to these reports soon they'll be so far out-of-date as to be nearly less than useful.

On Thursday last week Sheryl Clark was looking forward to attending sessions on the Friday and the weekend.  That's what I call dedication.

Hackpacker went to the digital publishing sessions on Thursday.  The "State of Digital Publishing" panel suggested we may be changing "what" we read, along with the "how". And there were also a marketing session, and Nick Earls, which seems to have finished things off quite well for him.  

Angela Meyer, of the "LiteraryMinded" weblog was hosting parties in the evening as well as attending sessions during the day.  I've done that before and five days is my absolute limit.  I met her on Friday night and she was looking a little tired, though by no means as much as I thought she would.

Thuy Linh Nguyen ran hard all day Thursday, going to one session after another, and Jabberwocky found some short story writing inspiration..

Friday and Angela Meyer was still running, Sheryl Clark got to attend those sessions she was looking forward to, the "Speakeasy" weblog ruminated about digital publishing, and Jackerwocky was impressed with Wells Tower - that's the author not some cocktail or apartment block - as was Hackpacker.

And through it all the Melbourne Writers Festival blog kept me greatly entertained, finishing up with some photos at the end.

Which actually alleviates one of the only things I think this whole blogging exercise, by so many people, could have done to improve a little - photos.  Maybe next year, along with the written accounts, the MWF people could engage a photographer or two.  Just a suggestion you understand, the rest of it was pretty damn good.

Melbourne Writers' Festival Reports #3

Angela Meyer tries something a bit different for a festival report.

Justine Larbalestier finds that she's being asked all the wrong questions by aspiring writers, but has come up with a good question in return.  

Sherryl Gwyther went along to hear Professor Alan Fels discuss the topic of parallel importation of books and quickly came to relaise that he was looking at the whole thing from a free-marketer's perspective.  

Dee White also attended the Parallel Importation panel and was a bit amazed no authors were invited to take part in the formal section.  Morris Gleitzman did ask a question from the floor.

Evie Wyld is writing for the Random House blog about the festival and confesses that she's never bene to Melbourne before.  Tsk tsk.

Bronwyn Parry dropped in to the Davitt Awards on Friday night and attended a few items at the festival but seems to have been on the publicity road for a while.

Andrew of the "Librarian Idol" weblog spent his time at the YA and childrens section of the program and writes about what he found there.

Estelle catches up with Jessa Crispin on the Melbourne Writers Festival blog.

Melbourne Writers' Festival Reports #2

The "Australian Dark Fiction" weblog has listed all the sessions with a possible interest for Australian Horror Writers Association.  There are a lot of them.

The "Jabberwocky" weblog reports on Bernard Schlink's opening address from last Friday. As did Kathryn Daley, who also went along to see Raimond Gaita, Alice Pung, Steven Carroll and Antoni Jach, and David Kilcullen with Julian Burnside.  "The Nuke Strategy Wonk" weblog was there as well for the Kilcullen/Burnside session.

"Rough Review" weblog was interested in YA writers Kate de Goldi and Archie Fusillo.

Rather than sitting in the audience, Anthony Eaton sat on a panel with Margo Lanagan and seems to have had a good time.

Angela Slater made a flying visit to the festival for the weekend, saw lots of good stuff and caught up with some old friends.

The "Readings" weblog reports on a number of ex-RMIT writing students who are appearing at MWF, and also lists the bestselling books at the festival.

"The Age" newspaper's Jason Steger reported on panels looking at "the question of the relationship between fiction and history and the dynamics therein."  And Francis Atkinson from the same paper went along to hear Scott Westerfeld and China Mieville discuss their work, YA and science fiction.

Berlin-based litblogger Jessa Crispin had trouble deciding on a book to bring to Australia and immediately regretted not bringing the book she first thought of.  To compensate she raided a local bookshop, which I've always thought of as being excellent therapy.

Melbourne Writers' Festival Reports #1


The Melbourne Writers' Festival has been running for three days now and the blog reports are coming in thick and fast.  Much more so than last year I think.

Lisa Hill, of the "ANZ LitLovers LitBlog" started her festival on Saturday wandering along to see the Andrea Goldsmith interview, and then Kate Grenville and Ann Michaels.  Lisa also rounds out her reports by commenting on the venue and giving details of what she bought at the book stalls.  This is an engaging technique which gets the reader involved in Lisa's day - even down to the rissotto at Young and Jackson's. 

Lisa backed up on Sunday with a full non-fiction day: Margaret Simons and Jeff Sparrow on the media, Les Carlyon and Antony Beevor on history as narrative, and then Biography and Autobiography, which seems to have had a rather male-dominated panel.

"Speakeasy", the Australian Writers' Marketplace blog, went along to hear Penguin publisher Robert Sessions speak for an hour, and wished it had been two.

Stephanie Campisi  found herself feeling like a dullard for asking "an extremely circumspect (although not intentionally) question" to China Mieville, who responded politely.  Stephanie saw him again at the post-session signing and seemed to straighten it out.

Kelly Gardiner asks the right questions - why do they let people ask long, boring questions in author sessions?

Angela Meyer has been, seemingly, running flat-out since the first party, the Grenville and Michaels session, Mieville and Lanagan, and the Sparrow and Simons session.  Don't worry that you're getting multiple viewpoints on the same festival sessions.  That's part of the fun and interest.  Everyone looks at things slightly differently.

Jo Case from Readings attended the Ian Buruma alternate keynote address and came away with "the impression that he's one of the most sensible speakers I've heard in a long while."  Buruma's speech was featured on this morning's ABC radio "Book Show".

And, of course, we can't go past the reports by Estelle and Frenchelbow on the Melbourne Writers' Festival weblog.

I know it's hard, but do try to keep up.

2009 World Science Fiction Convention

As I write the 2009 World Science Fiction Convention, Anticipation, is being held in Montreal, Canada - and, no, I'm not there for a number of reasons.

If you're interested in getting a taste for a worldcon without actually being there then may I suggest you have a look at the ConReporter weblog which is covering the event in some depth.

And don't forget that the Worldcon moves here in September 2010.

2009 Byron Bay Writers' Festival

The 2009 Byron Bay Writers' Festival will be held over the weekend of 7-9 August, with workshops starting on August 3.  As usual they have a pretty extensive program with 4 programming streams, another of book launches and many featured events.  The reports coming out of this festival are always good.

2009 Melbourne Writers' Festival


The 2009 Melbourne Writers' Festival will be held from August 21 to 30 and the full program was released today as a lift-out in the print version of "The Age" newspaper and as an internet version on the festival's website.

The opening keynote address will be delivered by Bernard Schlink at the Melbourne Town Hall on Friday 21st.  The address will be preceded by the announcement of the winners of "The Age" Book of the Year Awards.

Interesting point first up (with more to follow): Jessa Crispin (founder of the Blog of a Bookslut weblog) is running a workshop titled: "Being a Critic During the Death of Print".  Mark Sarvas, who runs The Elegant Variation weblog, was here last year but that was on the back of the publication of his first novel.  Is Crispin's appearance the first sign that mainstream literary festivals are taking note of literary weblogs?

2009 Crime and Justice Festival

The 2009 Crime & Justice Festival will be held at the Abbotsford Convent in Melbourne, from Friday July 17 to Sunday 19th, 2009. Tickets are now available, information about which you can get at the festival's website. There is also a full program available [PDF file]. The guest list includes: Mark Abernethy, Garry Disher, Raimond Gaita, Andrea Goldsmith, Stuart MacBride, Angela Savage and Lucy Sussex.

2009 Emerging Writers Festival

The 2009 Emerging Writers' Festival will be held in various locations in the Melbourne CBD over the period May 22-31. A lot of the events are free, and the rest appear to fairly well-priced. Angela Meyer, of the "LiteraryMinded" weblog, will be appearing on a number of panels at 5:30pm at the City Library and provides a few details of what she will be up to, Stu Hatton will be talking about his mentorship with the Australian Society of Authors, and Karen Andrews will be hosting a session on how writers can use the internet to better promote their work.

2009 Williamstown Literary Festival

The 2009 Williamstown Literary Festival will be held over the weekend of May 1-3 2009. According to the website:

This year's Festival theme is "The Hidden Life of Suburbs". We have an exciting program of workshops, keynote events, panels, readings, book groups and more, and featured authors include Jane Clifton, Steven Conte, Catherine Denevy, Garry Disher, Nick Gadd, Andy Griffiths, Gideon Haigh, Leigh Hobbs, Martin Flanagan, Sofie Laguna, Marcia Langton, Maureen McCarthy, Alice Pung, Andrew Rule and Denise Scott.

2009 Perth Writers' Festival

The 2009 Perth Writers' Festival will be held over the weekend of February 28 to March 2. A full program is now available on the website (PDF file) along with ticketing information. Featured guests include: Sebastian Barry, David Brooks, Sophie Cunningham, Robert Dessaix, Robert Drewe, Mem Fox, Kate Grenville, Sonya Hartnett, Cate Kennedy, John Kinsella, Justine Larbalestier, Julia Leigh, Joan London, Barry Maitland, James McBride, Alice Pung, Peter Singer, Anne Summers, Susan Wndham and Arnold Zable; amongst many others.

2009 Writers at the Convent

The 2009 Writers at the Convent literary festival has released its program (PDF file). The festival runs from February 13-15 at The Abbotsford Convent, 1 St Heliers Street, Abbotsford - which is just on the northern edge of the Melbourne CBD. Featured writers include: Steven Carroll, Robert Drewe, Peter Goldsworthy, Sonya Hartnett, Michael Leunig, Shane Maloney, and Peter Singer, amongst others.

Conflux 5

"Conflux 5 will be the fifth speculative fiction convention held under the Conflux name in Canberra. The first was in 2004 and was the national convention (Natcon) for that year. Since then, Conflux has become one of the most well known cons in Australia." The convention will be held this coming weekend, Friday October 3 to Monday October 6, and will feature guests Liz Gorinsky, Jack Dann, Cat Sparks, Gillian Polack, Mark Shirrefs and fan guest Bruce Gillespie. The website carries full information about the program, the venue and membership rates.

Melbourne Writers' Festival 3

As a final report on the Melbourne Writers' Festival, we have Mark Sarvas, author of Harry, Revised, and litblogger on "The Elegant Variation". Mark was here promoting his book at the festival and has summed up the whole event quite succinctly: "Wonderful festival, great facilities and enthusiastic audiences." It's always interesting to read the views of those participating in a literary festival, along with those attending. Some good photos as well.

2008 Maroondah Writers' and Readers' Festival

The 2008 Maroondah Writers' and Readers' Festival will be held over the weekend of October 3-5 and this year's theme is crime. The full program (which starts with a dinner with Shane Maloney on the Friday night) is available on the festival website. It appears that most program items will take place at Tintern Girls Grammar, 90 Alexandra Rd Ringwood East, and at Ringwood Library in Melbourne's eastern suburbs.

2008 Ubud Writers' Festival

The Ubud Writers' Festival, which "Harper's Bazaar" is quoted as rating "among the top 6 literary Festivals in the world" is on again. The 2008 version is to be held from 14-19 October this year in Ubud, Bali. The guests attending come from all over, with an emphasis on South East Asian writers, including Australia. Day passes run to $100, and a full festival pass costs $300. The theme of this year's Festival is Tri Hita Karana - the Balinese concept of balancing Man, Nature, and God.

2008 Melbourne Writers' Festival

The 2008 Melbourne Writers' Festival starts today with Germaine Greer giving the
opening keynote address in the Melbourne Town Hall. It's sold out, but you can check out the rest of the program.

2008 Australian Poetry Festival

The 2008 Australian Poetry Festival will be held at the Sydney Mechanics School of Arts,
280 Pitt Street, Sydney, over the weekend of 5, 6, and 7 September 2008. You can download a full program from their website.

C.J. Dennis Festival in Toolangi

Stephen Whiteside has written to tell me about the Toolangi Festival to be held over the weekend of 18th and 19th of October 2008. Toolangi was the major residence of C.J. Dennis for about the last twenty or so years of his life. As Stephen puts it: "CJD is not the whole focus of the festival, but he is a large part of it. The plan is for the festival to now be held every year. "There is also a written poetry comp attached to the festival. Winners will be announced at a ceremony on the Saturday, at The Singing Gardens. Also at the Gardens on the Sunday will be a poetry show featuring the work of CJD. Entry will be by gold coin."

For those not in the know, Toolangi is about 15 kilometres north of Healesville in the Yarra Valley in Victoria. It's also about 90 minutes from the Melbourne CBD. I'll be making every effort I can to get there.

2008 Melbourne Writers' Festival

The program for the 2008 Melbourne Writers' Festival is now available online. The full schedule will also appear in "The Age" newspaper on Friday 18th July. The festival runs from August 22nd-31st, and this year has moved its main venue to Federation Square, at the corner of Flinders and Swanston Streets in the city.

2008 Melbourne Festival of Travel Writing

Over the weekend of 19-20 July 2008, the Melbourne Festival of Travel Writing will be held at Melbourne University. The website gives a list of speakers, a programme and a map of locations within the university.

2008 Byron Bay Writers' Festival

The 2008 Byron Bay Writers' Festival will be held over the weekend of July 25-27, with preliminary workshops starting on July 21. There is a fairly extensive list of writers attending, from Debra Adelaide and Waleed Aly, to Arnold Zable and John Zubrzycki.

2008 Melbourne Writers' Festival

Some dates of interest relating to the 2008 Melbourne Writers' Festival:

July 16, Wednesday 12:30 - 1:30pm A special preview of the program will be held. BMW Edge, Federation Square Corner of Flinders and Swanston Streets, Melbourne

July 16, Friday Release of the festival program.
August 22, Friday to August 31, Sunday The festival itself.

You can get further details from the Festival's website.

2008 Noosa Long Weekend

The program
for the 2008 Noosa LongWeekend has been released. The festival runs from July 4-13, so you'd best get organised if you intend getting there.

2008 Port Augusta Writers' Weekend

The 2008 Port Augusta Writers' Weekend will be held from July 11th to 13th. For those not in the know, Port Augusta is about 4 hours by car north of Adelaide in South Australia; at the top of Spencer Gulf. I can't find a full program on the webpage but if you follow the links returned by this search you should be able to figure it out.

2008 Crime & Justice Festival

The 2008 Crime & Justice Festival will be held at the Abbotsford Convent in Melbourne, from Friday July 18 to Sunday 20th, 2008. Tickets are now available, information about which you can get at the festival's website. There is also a full href="">program available [PDF file].

2008 Canberra Writers' Festival

The 2008 Canberra Writers' Festival will be held in the nation's capital from 19th to 24th June this year [crikey, that's Thursday!]. There is a full program available, which features, amongst others: Lilian Darcy, Alan Gould, Marion Halligan, David Malouf, Garth Nix, and Michael Robotham.

2008 Australian Poetry Festival

The 2008 Australian Poetry Festival will be held this ANZAC weekend (April 25-27) in Castlemaine, Victoria. Prize winning poet Robert Adamson heads the Australian bill as he joins 28 poets from every State in Australia and 4 international guests: Sam Hamill (US), who founded Poets against War, Lorna Crozier (Canada) whose trademark is poems on family, spirituality and love's fierce attachments, and whose poems "become a part of the reader's permanent memory" Peter Balakian (US), writing on the Armenian Genocide Laksmi Pamuntjak (Indonesia) on food, film and violence, whose poetry "moves you with the speed of a heartache".

Details of the program and how to book are available on the main website.

Aussiecon Four

This might take a little while, so bear with me. The World Science Fiction Convention, or Worldcon, is the world's longest running sf convention, having been held annually since 1946 (plus for three years prior to WW II). The convention brings together fans, writers, readers, artists, publishers and anyone else who has an interest in the science fiction and fantasy genres. The emphasis of the convention is on the literary side although all other forms, such as film, television, and comics, are included.

One of the main aims of any Worldcon is to present the annual Hugo Awards, which celebrate professional and non-professional achievement from the previous year in sf and fantasy. These are the major reader-based awards in the sf field and are highly regarded by sf professionals.

The Worldcon has been held three times in Australia - Aussiecon in 1975, Aussiecon Two in 1985, and Aussiecon Three in 1999 - and now an attempt is being made to host the convention here again, in 2010; hence the title of this post. The site of a particular year's Worldcon is decided at the convention held two years previously. It follows, therefore, that whether or not Australia will be granted the right to host the convention will be determined at this year's Worldcon, Denvention, being held in Denver in early August.

How the hosting site is decided is a long and complicated process but, in essence, it comes down to a ballot of candidate cities who are bidding for a year, with votes being cast by members of the current year's Worldcon. To appear on the ballot bidding committees have to fulfil a number of criteria, the main aim of which is to ensure that the committee knows what they are getting into, have the level of expertise to run the Worldcon in the accepted manner, and have all legal and contractural paperwork in place to ensure the whole thing doesn't go belly-up. The Australian committee, of which I am the Chair, has met those criteria and we now appear on the Site Selection Ballot. We are, actually, the only site bidding for 2010, so our chances of being the hosts in that year look promising.

Which brings us down to the actual voting procedure. As hinted at above, voters must be members of the convention at which the vote is taken. There are two types of membership for all Worldcons: attending - which allows you to actually attend the convention, take part in any activities, receive all the publications and paperwork, and vote for both the Hugo Awards and Site Selection; and supporting which provides all of that apart from the right to attend. If you like, they can be thought of as full or part memberships. Needless to say, we'd like as many people as possible to vote in the site selection ballot. It will cost you an extra fee to vote, but that fee converts directly into a supporting membership of the winning convention, whether you voted for them or not. Voting, generally, also gives you a slight discount on the conversion of a supporting membership into an attending one. Joining the Denver convention and voting in the Site Selection Ballot is the simplest and best way to ensure the Worldcon comes back to Australia in 2010. From there it's just a matter of converting to an attending membership, and planning a trip to Melbourne in early September 2010. Couldn't be simpler.

2008 Byron Bay Writers' Festival

The Byron Bay Writers' Festival is back on this year, and will run from July 25 to 27. The program for the festival will be released on May 30th. Chief Executive of World Vision Australia, Tim Costello, will provide the key note address on Friday 25th.

2008 Sydney Writers' Festival

The program for the 2008 Sydney Writers' Festival has been released. The Festival runs from May 19 to 25th, 2008.

2008 CBCA National Conference

The 2008 Children's Book Council of Australia 9th National Conference and Expo will be held in Melbourne from Friday 2nd to Sunday 4th May. Featured speakers at the conference include: Shaun Tan (author of The Arrival) on Saturday May 3 from 9-10:30am; and Neil Gaiman (author of Coraline and The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish) on Sunday May 4, 9:30-10:30am. Online registration is now open, and full details of the conference and how to sign-up are available on their website.

2008 Perth Writers' Festival

The 2008 Perth Writers' Festival wil be held over the weekend of February 22-24. Full details of the program are available on the website.

2008 Taipei International Book Exhibition

Australian publishing and literature will be the focus of the 2008 Taipei International Book Exhibition to be held from February 13-18.

2008 Writers at the Convent

Previously "Writers at Como", this February's major literary gathering in Melbourne will be held at the Abbotsford Convent over the weekend of February 15 - 17. Full details of the
program can be found at the website. The list of confirmed writers includes: Stephanie Alexander, Kaz Cooke, Peter Doherty, Kathryn Fox, Morag Fraser, David Marr, Shaun Micallef, Jason Steger, and Chris Womersley, amongst many others.

2008 Adelaide Writers' Week

The 2008 Adelaide Writers' Week, held to coincide with the city's Festival of Arts, has released its line-up of local and international authors.

Prominent amongst the authors are Paul Auster, Geraldine Brooks, Peter Carey, Garry Disher, Linda Grant, Siri Hustvedt, Margo Lanagan, David Malouf, Ian McEwan, Gerald Murnane and Dorothy Porter. Something for all tastes it would seem.

A detailed program of events with full information on sessions and participating writers will be available in early February 2008. The main festival runs from 29th February to 16th March. I think the Writers' Week runs from 2nd to 7th March, but it's a bit hard to be sure.

Demanding the Impossible: The Third Australian Conference on Utopia, Dystopia and Science Fiction is being organised by the Centre for Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies at Monash University. The conference will run for two days, 5th - 6th
December 2007, and will feature the following keynote speakers: Terry Eagleton (Professor of Cultural Theory and John Rylands Fellow at the University of Manchester), Tom Moylan (Glucksman Professor of Contemporary Writing and Director of the Ralahine Center for Utopian Studies, University of Limerick), Lyman Tower Sargent (Professor Emeritus of Political Science, University of Missouri, St. Louis, and Visiting Fellow, Mansfield College, University of Oxford), Lucy Sussex (Distinguished Australian science fiction writer and author of A Tour Guide in Utopia).

Further details about the conference can be obtained from their website.

2007 Canberra Readers and Writers Festival

The 2007 Canberra Readers and Writers Festival on the theme of Icy Worlds: Cool Words, will be held in the Coorong Pavilion at Exhibition Park, Mitchell, ACT, alongside the Lifeline BookFair from 21-23 September. You can obtain further details from the website.

2007 Melbourne Writers' Festival

Karen, on the "Australian, New Zealand Crime Fiction" blog, is posting about her adventures at the 2007 Melbourne Writers' Festival.

2007 Brisbane Writers' Festival

The 2007 Brisbane Writers' Festival, to be held over September 12th to 16th, has just published its program [PDF file]. Featured particpants include: Kevin J. Anderson, Michael Collins, Patrick Gale, Damon Galgut, Victoria Glendinning, Sonya Hartnett, Tom Keneally, Mungo McCallum, David Malouf, David Marr, Armistead Maupin, Les Murray, Dorothy Porter, David Rowbotham, Elizabeth Stead, and Shaun Tan.

Conflux 4

Conflux 4 is a science fiction convention which will be held in Canberra over the weekend of September 28 to October 1, 2008. Guests of the convention include: Graham Joyce, Garth Nix, Simon Brown, Donna Maree Hanson, Kaaron Warren, Kevin J Anderson and Rebecca Moesta, and Jonathan Strahan. Full membership, hotel and site details are available on the website.

As a lead-in to the convention, Conflux is running a Virtual Minicon this weekend. This is an open internet forum which will allow you to chat to a number of the guests and other Conflux members. A very interesting idea indeed.

2007 Melbourne Writers' Festival Program

The full program for the 2007 Melbourne Writers' Festival is now available. The festival will run from August 24th to September 2nd this year. Clive James will deliver the keynote address, "Our Inextinguishable Fortune", at the Melbourne Town Hall on Friday 24th August.

2007 Byron Bay Writers' Festival

The 2007 Byron Bay Writers' Festival will be held over the weekend of 27th to 29th July. The full program for the event is now available and bookings are open.

Featured at the Festival will be David Marr (giving the opening address), Chris Masters, Alexis Wright, Brenda Niall, Richard Flanagan, Robert Dessaix, Gail Jones, Nicolas Rothwell, and a wide and varied cast of other writers.

The program looks pretty varied - there are lectures, panels, readings, literary lunches and book launches - so you shouldn't have any trouble finding something of interest there. I was pleased to note a panel on the topic "Everything in its place: how landscape, natural and built, informs writing", with Garry Disher and Alexis Wright talking on the subject. I remember Disher a couple of years back lamenting the fact that Festival organisers never seem to ask crime novelists to talk about setting and place. He'll be happy with this opportunity, I suspect.

Convergence 2

Convergence 2, the 46th Australian National Science Fiction Convention, starts tomorrow night (June 8th) and runs over the Queen's Birthday weekend until Monday 11th June. The convention is being held in Melbourne at the Rydges Hotel in Exhibition Street, and features Isobelle Carmody and Fred Gallagher as guests of honor.

2007 Sydney Writers' Festival

The 2007 Sydney Writers' Festival is underway and you can get full details of the program on their website.

2007 Williamstown Literary Festival

Details of the 2007 Williamstown Literary Festival have now been released: "Children's book illustrator Leigh Hobbs, actor and author William McInnes, and other notables from the world of journalism, publishing and writing including Garry Disher, Adrian Hyland, Gideon Haigh, Alice Pung, Alan Atwood, Jeremy Koren and Andy Griffiths are all on the bill for this year's event." The festival runs from Friday 4 May, to Sunday 6 May.

2007 Sydney Writers' Festival

The organisers of the 2007 Sydney Writers' Festival (which runs from May 28 - June 3) have announced that their festival program will be released on 14th April. The program will be published that day as a supplement to "The Sydney Morning Herald" newspaper, as well as online at

WORD at Adelaide

The festival known as the Adelaide Fringe 2007 includes literary events within its program and has recently announced its visiting author list. Featured authors include: Richard Flanagan, Sean Williams, Anna Funder, Sarah Armstrong, Jarad Henry, Stephen House, Alice Pung, Fiona McIntosh, Tim Sinclair, Emma Balfour and Arnold Zable. The WORD festival runs from Wednesday 21 March - Friday 23 March 2007.

Patrick White Day

Austlit reports the following: "On Friday 30 March, the National Library of Australia is celebrating Patrick White with an all-day event providing a unique opportunity to see items from this extensive collection in conjunction with a major seminar. Journalist and biographer David Marr, manuscripts and rare books dealer Nicholas Pounder, and Professor Elizabeth Webby of the University of Sydney will share their personal recollections and responses to this treasure trove at an event chaired by the Library's Curator of Manuscripts, Marie-Louise Ayres. To finish the day, White fans will have an opportunity to enjoy 'Dinner with Patrick' - with a menu based on White's own recipes in the archive - in the private dining room at The Ginger Room, Old Parliament House."

2007 John O'Brien Bush Festival

The 2007 John O'Brien Bush Festival will be held in Narrandera, NSW, from 14th-18th March. The festival concentrates on the poetry of John O'Brien but also features "busking, bush dancing, poet's breakfasts, and comedy shows."

Adelaide Fringe Festival Program

The 2007 Adelaide Fringe Festival, which runs from 8-31 March, has started to release some details of its program. According to the Arts Hub Australia website: "'Word', the Fringe's writers festival, will see some prominent authors discuss some of the prominent genres that mainstream festivals so often neglect. Richard Flanagan, Sean Williams, Andy Griffith, Sarah Armstrong, Jarad Henry, Stephen House and Stefan Laszczuk will look at crime, science fiction, fantasy, young adult fiction, scriptwriting, songwriting, poetry, zines and blogs."

2007 Writers at Como

Readers' Feast Bookstore is once again organising their Writers at Como literary event. In 2007 the dates are 16, 17th and 18th February; which is only a couple of weeks away so you'd better get your skates on. Featured participants include: Stephanie Alexander, Dennis Altman, Carmel Bird, Steven carroll, Inga Clendinnen, Jane Clifton, Garry Disher, Robert Drewe, Gideon Haigh, Rodney Hall, Conn Iggulden, Barry Jones, Marina Lewycka, Sandy McCuthcheon, Brenda Niall, and Louise Welsh. You can get full details from the festival website.

AusArts India Literature Tour

Australia will feature as the Focus Country at the 2007 Kolkata Book Fair (KBF) to be held later this month. The Australian High Commission for India has a website listing the writers who will be taking part, and you can get Maro Lanagan's take on the upcoming prospects on her weblog, "Among Amid While". Other than Margo, the writers on the tour are: Thomas Keneally, Judith Beveridge, John Zubryzcki, Alison Lester, Bruce Bennett, Bem le Hunte, Luke Beesley, Kirsty Murray, Graham Reilly, Ron Pretty, Kevin Brophy, Lizz Murphy and Brook Emery.

The Age Melbourne Writers' Festival

It seems a little early to be mentioning the 2007 Age Melbourne Writers' Festival but you
need to be aware that they have a new web-based newsletter in place, which repalces their previous email version. The latest edition, for November 2006, states that the dates of the 2007 festival have now been set. They are: 24th August to 2nd September.

2007 Perth International Arts Festival

The program for the

2006 Melbourne Writers' Festival Program

The program for the 2006 Melbourne Writers' festival will be released tomorrow. The full publication will appear as a supplement in "The Age" newspaper. It won't be mailed out this year. Though I suspect the final listing will appear some time soon on the festival's website. Keep an eye out. In the meantime, it has been announced that two of the major items on the program will be a keynote address by Tim Flannery, moderated by Robyn Williams of the ABC's Science Show, and a panel discussion between Robert Manne and Andrew Bolt on the subject of "Stolen Generations". Now that should be something to see.

2006 Melbourne Writers' Festival

The program for the 2006 Melbourne Writers' Festival isn't out yet but the organisers have realised a few titbits via their mailing list. It appears that crime will be big this year - crime and thriller writing that is. Booked to appear so far we have Peter Temple, Shane Maloney, Kerry Greenwood, Jane Clifton, James Phelan, Jack Heath, Barry Maitland, Dame Stella Rimington, Jason Starr, Robert Goddard and Robert Wilson. The Festival runs from August 25th to September 3rd and the program will be released in late July.

2006 Sydney Writers' Festival

The 2006 Sydney Writers' Festival is now over but you can relive some of the highlights by watching the videos that BigPond have made available. Featured writers include Jonathan Stroud, Markus Zusak, Neil Gaiman, Edmund White, Audrey Niffenegger, Hari Kunzru, Susan Orlean, David Malouf and Naomi Wolf. If you dig in a bit you can even access video highlights from the 2005 Festival. Access one of the video streams and on the left hand side of the resultant page you will see a list of the BigPond channels available. The link is in there.

Sydney Writers' Festival Live Video Streaming

The 2006 Sydney Writers' Festival has started and, like last year, Telstra BigPond is providing a live video stream for 17 speakers between May 24 and 28. Scheduled over the next few days are Edmund White and Frank Moorhouse, Audrey Niffeneger, Hari Kunzru, David Malouf, and Naomi Wolf.

2006 Noosa Longweekend

The 2006 Noosa Longweekend will be held this year over ten days, 16 - 25 June. All events will be held in and around Noosa, Queensland. As well as drama, music and art, the festival will also feature an extensive literature program. Confirmed guests include: Li Cunxin, Tara Moss, Peter Temple, Derek Hansen, Judy Nunn, Peter Fitzsimmons, Nick Earls and Felice Arena.

2006 Sydney Writers' Festival

The program for the 2006 Sydney Writers' Festival has now been released. As usual there is an interesting and eclectic range of writers on show including John Banville, Tim Flannery, Naomi Wolf, Gail Jones, Alain de Botton, Kate Grenville, Edmund White and Robert Drewe. Should be something in there for everyone. The festival runs in and around Sydney from May 22nd to 28th.

2006 Sydney Writers' Festival

The program for the 2006 Sydney Writers' Festival will be released on Saturday 8th April. In the meantime, director Caro Llewellyn has announced a few of the names who will be appearing, including: John Banville, Tim Flannery, Maya Angelou, Edmund White, Alain de Botton, David Malouf and Garth Nix.

2006 Emerging Writers' Festival

The 3rd annual Emerging Writers' Festival will be held in the Melbourne Town Hall from April 7-9. The website describes it as: "The festival will promote, network and engage with a range of Australia's most exciting writers. It will be a celebration and investigation of writers of all ages and in all literary forms: from comics to screenwriting, journalism to activism, poetry to hip hop, and novels to plays. And in 2006 the EWF will feature Indigenous writers from around Australia. "Over three days there will be workshops, panels, performances, magazine launches, films, lectures, and a party to re-define your ideas of literary performance! All this for only $15/$25 for a weekend pass, or $10/$15 for a day pass." There is a program and registration form on the site [PDF file].

2006 Sydney Writers' Festival

The 2006 Sydney Writers' Festival runs from 22-28 May. No program or guest list has been released as yet, but Neil Gaiman has let slip that he'll be there. [It's a few paragraphs down.]

2006 Adelaide Writers' Week Wrap-Up

For a good overview of what was on offer at the 2006 Adelaide Writers' Week have a look at the ABC blog Articulate.
Having the resources of the ABC on hand makes life a lot easier. Kerryn Goldsworthy also provides her wrap-up of the week on her weblog. She partly laments the fact that the festival was in her home town: it's good that it's cheap to get to, but you can't get away from the mundane parts of your non-festival life.

2006 John O'Brien Bush Festival

The 2006 John O'Brien Bush Festival will be held from 15th-19th March in Narrandera in the NSW Riverina. Events will feature bush poetry, humour and music. This festival was a winner in the NSW Inland Tourism Awards in both 2004 and 2005. You can get a taste of O'Brien's poetry in his book Around the Boree Log and Other Verses.

2006 Adelaide Writers' Week

Jason Steger, literary editor of "The Age", provides what I hope is a running commentary on the 2006 Adelaide Writers' Week. He attends panels/talks by the likes of David Malouf, Sarah Waters, Val McDermid, Vikram Seth, Delia Falconer and Gail Jones.

Over on her weblog, A Fugitive Phenomenon, Kerryn Goldsworthy makes up for missing J.M. Coetzee's citizenship ceremony (tsk, tsk)
by writing a personal account of the first two days of the event. She doesn't attempt to get to everything, skipping Vikram Seth's event due to the long lines of punters waiting to get in, and as a result produces a piece that provides a much better
view of what it's like to attend and participate. If the two of these continue, you'll get a combination of "commercial" and "personal" accounts of the event which complement each other quite nicely.

[By the way, can someone at "The Age" get another photograph of Gail Jones? There must be one somewhere. The image published today is about worn out I reckon.]

2006 Sydney Writers' Festival

Time to start planning your stay in Sydney for the 2006 Writers' Festival, which will be held from May 22-28. No program is available just yet so you'd best keep an eye on the festival website. I'll try to keep checking on things and post updates when they become available.

There are two pieces of news worth noting, however. Firstly, the Festival director, Caro Llewellyn, will be stading down after the 2006 event, her fourth in charge. And secondly, the major guest announced so far is John Banville, who won last year's Man Booker prize with his novel The Sea. This is the third year in a row that Sydney has scored the Booker winner. To get you in the mood, and to get you over the James Frey fuss, have a look at Kenneth J. Harvey's take on the novel. Tends to put thngs into perspective somewhat.

2006 Writers at Como

The full programme is now available for the 2006 Writers at Como literary festival, running from February 17th to 19th. Featured writers include Frank McCourt, Les Murray, Don Watson, Robert Dessaix, John Marsden, Joanna Murray-Smith, Romona Koval, Gideon Haigh, Bernard Cornwell, Li Cunxin, Martin Flanagan and Alice Garner.

Writers at Como 2006

Reader's Feast Bookstore will present Writers at Como 2006 in association with the The Writing Centre for Scholars and Researchers, The University of Melbourne and the National Trust of Australia (Victoria). The dates of the event are 17th, 18th & 19th February 2006. Como Historic House will again be the setting for a weekend celebration of reading, writing, books and ideas. Confirmed participants so far include Frank McCourt, Bernard Cornwell and Cecelia Ahern. The full program will be available in mid-January.

The James Squire Food, Beer and Wine Writers' Festival

Now here's the readers'/writers' festival we all should get to. The James Squire Food, Beer and Wine Writers' Festival will be held in the Adelaide Riverbank Precinct from October 27-29. Events include readings by poets and fiction writers, and beer and wine tastings.

The Reykjavík Writers' Festival

I don't usually mention non-Australian literary festivals, especially those as far away
as Iceland, but thought it worth mentioning this one as DBC Pierre, author of the Man Booker prize winning Vernon God Little, is a guest. The festival runs from 11th to 17th September, which is sort of now, so you'd best get your skates on.

[Thanks to Bookslut for the link.]

2005 World Science Fiction Convention

The 2005 World Science Fiction Convention, Interaction, starts later today in Glasgow, Scotland, and "The Scotsman" has a piece by way of introduction. They interview Vince Docherty, co-chair of the event, and the quotes sound like they could have come from me six years ago: "We're very much about the genre as a whole; most of the focus is on books but you can't separate that from films and TV and gaming. There's still a stigma attached to science fiction or any genre, but science fiction was here long before that and will outlast it." At the start of the article the writer, Andrea Mullaney, states: "Fantasy and sci-fi - or SF, as the touchier fans prefer to describe it - has taken over the mainstream."

Not touchier, Andrea, just more accurate. The term "sci-fi", or "skiffy" as we pronounce it, is used as a derogatory term for the crappy end of the market. The preferred term is "sf" or even "SF" if you're feeling a bit more up-market. And no, I'm not splitting hairs here. "Sci-fi" is a media-generated term. The "sf" abbreviation was around long before the other one came along. Whoever coined it must have thought it sounded a bit like
"hi-fi" or something. And who calls their sound system a "hi-fi" these days anyway? Journos, probably.

[Thanks to Bookslut for "The Scotsman" link.]

2005 Byron Bay Writers' Festival

The 2005 Byron Bay Writers' Festival starts on August 4th and runs till August 7th. The program looks pretty good and features such writers as Tom Keneally introducing two films made from his novels, including "The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith", Sonya Hartnett, Kate Jennings, Anne Summers, Robert Drewe, Kate Grenville, Delia Falconer, Julian Burnside, Isobelle Carmody and Margo Lanagan, amongst many others. For a literary festival in what is essentially a small country town, there is a lot here that would be very interesting.

2005 Melbourne Writers' Festival Program

The program for the 2005 Melbourne Writers' Festival is now available. The festival runs from August 19th to 28th, 2005 and is the twentieth year that it has been held. Featured speakers include: John Ralston Saul giving the opening address, Douglas Coupland, Karen Joy Fowler, Robert Drewe, Robert Manne, Alexander McCall Smith, Sonya Hartnett and Peter Temple, amongst many others. The opening night will also feature the announcement of the 32nd Age Book of the Year Awards. "The Age", as might be expected, gave some coverage to the festival over the weekend.

2005 Mildura Writers' Festival

The 2005 Mildura Writers' Festival will be held over the weekend of July 14-17. This forms part of the Mildura Wentworth Arts Festival, and full details of the program along with booking details are available. Writers currently scheduled to appear include: Pamela Bone, Bob Ellis, Morag Fraser, Peter Goldsworthy, and Les Murray.

Wordstorm: NT Writers' Festival

The 2005 NT Writer's Festival will be held in Darwin over the weekend of 16th - 19th June. The program will feature such writers as John Marsden, Frank Moorhouse, Sue Woolfe, Robert Dessaix, Dorothy Porter, Anita Heiss, Alex Miller, Samuel Wagan Watson, Nick Earls, Shaun Tan, and full details are available.

Sydney Writers' Festival 2005 Follow-Up

If attendance figures are anything to go by then the 2005 Sydney Writer's festival can only be deemed a success. With 50,000 people attending this year's events, the numbers were double those of seven years ago, and 5,000 up on last year's. The figure also represents a resounding success for the festival's organiser, Caro Llewellyn, whose three-year term as festival head comes to an end in October. The warm body figure was just the amount her initial plan called for in 2005. She has stated that she would like to continue, but if I were her I'd take a break and try something else. I don't think she'll have too much trouble finding employment as an event organiser.

2005 Melbourne Writers' Festival

The 2005 Melbourne Writers' Festival will be held from August 19th to 28th. Full details are some weeks off yet but a preliminary list of attending writers has been released. Featured authors include, from overseas: Alexander McCall-Smith, Douglas Coupland, John Harvey, Elizabeth Knox, and Karen Joy Fowler. And locally: Kate Grenville, Sonya Hartnett, Jane Clifton, Delia Falconer, Robert Manne, Robert Drewe, Tony Wilson and Sean Condon.

BigPond and the Sydney Writers' Festival

If you can't actually get to a writers' festival then the next best thing is for someone to bring it to you. And that's what BigPond have decided to do by providing a live streaming feed from the Sydney Writers' Festival this week. Authors on the schedule include: Alice Sebold, David Suzuki and Peter Garrett, Lewis Lapham and Philip Adams, Allan Hollinghurst, and Jared Diamond. A fairly impressive selection from the festival. Be aware that you may need to download some software to utilise the streaming facility so it might be best to check out the website before the first event.

Interview with Sydney Writers' Festival Director

Caro Llewellyn, director the 2005 Sydney Writers' Festival, is interviewed in "The Sydney Morning Herald" this weekend. The interview is pretty standard fare, with nothing controversial to blot the landscape as the Festival gears up for a start next week. Would she do it again? "I'd love to [stay on], but I do think the festival should operate like it does downstairs [Sydney Festival] and that there is a new artistic director. I have my strong taste and ideas about what the festival is, and I think the city should get somebody else's point of view and another fresh look. But I wouldn't mind doing it, I'm not quite ready to give it up."

2005 Sydney Writers' Festival

With the Sydney Writers' Festival a little under a
fortnight away, Malcolm Knox, "The Sydney Morning Herald"'s literary editor, gives his list of the festival highlights to come. One of the interesting panels will be David Suzuki in conversation with Peter Garrett (ex Midnight Oil front-man and now Federal MP). As Knox puts it: "This could turn the idea of an author
interview on its head. Sure, we want to know what Garrett asks Suzuki. But what will Suzuki draw out of Garrett?"

Conflux 2

The science fiction convention, Conflux 2, starts in Canberra tonight (22nd April), and runs until Sunday (24th April). Guests include: Jennifer Fallon, Terry Dowling, Maxine McArthur, and Jackie French. A full program is available on the website.

2005 Sydney Writers' Festival

The program for the 2005 Sydney Writers' festival is now available.
The festival runs from 23-29 May. Prominent attendees from overseas this year include: Alan Hollinghurst, Lewis Lapham (editor of Harper's Magazine), Tariq Ali, David Suzuki, Jared Diamond, Alice Sebold, Simon Singh, and Harold Bloom will talk via satellite. Australian writers in attendance include: Larissa, Behrendt, Carmel Bird, Stephen Carroll, Li Cunxin, Robert Dessaix, Delia Falconer, Helen Garner, Sonya Hartnett, Tom Keneally, David Malouf, Robert Manne, Roger McDonald, Alex Miller, Frank Moorhouse, Eva Sallis, Morry Schwartz, and Robyn Williams. Looks like a pretty comprehensive list covering all tastes.

Reading Matters

The Centre for Youth Literature is presenting "Reading Matters", a 3-day literary event at the State Library of Victoria, from 12-14 May, 2005. International and Australian guest speakers and panel members include:

  • Adeline Yen Mah (US) - Chinese Cinderella, Secret Dragon Society
  • Malorie Blackman (UK) - Noughts & Crosses
  • Karen Levine (Canada) - Hana's Suitcase
  • David Fickling (UK) - Publisher of Phillip Pullman and Mark Haddon
  • Tessa Duder (NZ) - Alex, Tiggie Tompson
  • Li Cunxine (VIC), Alwyn Evans (WA), Barry Jonsberg (NT), and more

  • Sydney Writers' Festival 2005

    I guess I'm a bit early mentioning this year's Sydney Writers' Festival, given that it runs from 23-29 May, but I thought it better to give you at least a bit of notice, rather than my normal 24 hours. Not much news on the website as yet, though it appears that Simon Singh and David Suzuki are attending. The program will be released on April 16, on the website as well as in "The Sydney Morning Herald".

    Upcoming Australian Science Fiction Conventions

    Swancon 20 will be held in Perth over this coming Easter weekend, March 24-28 2005. This year's guest is Charles de Lint. Continuum 3 will be held in Melbourne over the weekend of 15-17 July 2005. Guests include: Neil Gaiman, Poppy Z. Brite, Richard Harland and Robin Hobb.

    John O'Brien Bush Festival

    The 2005 John O'Brien Bush Festival will be held from March 16th to 20th in Narrandera in New South Wales. This is both a celebration of John O'Brien and bush poetry generally. Some 6,000 people are expected to attend this year. John O'Brien, 1878-1952, only published two collections of verse during his lifetime - Around the Boree Log, and The Parish of St. Mel's - but is best known for one work: "Said Hanrahan" with its classic refrain - "We'll all be rooned," said Hanrahan.

    Are Writers' Festivals a Waste of Time?

    Bruce Elder, who "agrees", and Susan Wyndham, who "disagrees", argue the topic in today's "Sydney Morning Herald". Elder's point is that the festivals are just a PR exercise aimed to selling more "units". Wyndham argues that they can be used by readers to "sample" books across a range of genres. Actually, I don't think either of these are true. I think a lot of readers go to festivals or conventions to see writers of whom they are already enamoured. They want a bit "more" than they have already received by reading the books. Not all of them but a significant number.

    Poetry Unhinged Festival

    Poetry Unhinged is a festival of poetry that runs from Sunday 13th March to Sunday 20th March, in and around the City of Onkaparinga in South Australia. For those unsure, this region starts about 20 to 30 kilometres south of Adelaide and encompasses the McLaren Vale winery region. The first event in the festival is titled Mad About Poetry to be held in the Noarlunga College Theatre Foyer in the Noarlunga centre - free entry. Other events include: Poetry and Chocolate - Turkish Delights, Poetry and Chocolate - Dark and Crunchy, Candles, Wine and Classics, and Poetry Unhindered - Beat Poet Night. Reading poetry while drinking McLaren Vale shiraz and eating chocolate? Yes, I can relate to that concept.

    Perth International Arts Festival: Writers' Week

    The 2005 Perth International Arts Festival: Writers' Week starts today (February 17th) and runs though till February 23rd. Full details of the program are available on the web.

    Featured writers: "Liz Jensen's The Ninth Life of Louis Drax has taken the UK by storm and she is joined by everyone's favourite traveller Bill Bryson, 2004 Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist Marianne Wiggins, two-time Booker favourite David Mitchell, hot new Indian sensation Siddharth Dhanvant Shangvhi, transcendental travel writer Pico Iyer, San Franciscan poet August Kleinzahler, acclaimed Indian playwright and novelist Kiran Nigarkar and Nigerian wunderkind Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, in addition to a breathtaking Australian line up including Gregory David Roberts, Don Watson, Helen Garner, and far too many to mention here."

    Of special interest (to me at least) is a showing of the newly restored 1919 silent version of "The Sentimental Bloke" directed by Raymond Longford. Jen Anderson and The Larrikins will be providing the background music to the screening. I hope they're using a Mighty Wurlitzer. Wouldn't seem the same without it.


    It's certainly looking like Writers' Festival time around the country with news of the Two Fires Festival of Arts and Activism to be held in Braidwood (just outside Canberra) in New South Wales, from 18th-21st March 2005. Featured writers include Arnold Zable, Leah Purcell, Rodney Hall, Jackie French and Kate Grenville.

    Writers' Festivals

    Current Matilda favourite Dorthy Porter will join Les Murray on Norfolk Island for "Poetry in the Park" - a weeklong festival which runs from February 20th, 2005.

    The fifth annual Norman Lindsay Festival of Children's Literature is scheduled for 19-20 March 2005, in Faulconbridge in the Blue Mountains outside Sydney.

    The Norfolk Island Writers' and Readers' Festival will be held on the island from July 17 to 24, 2005. The guest list includes: Melbourne crime novellist Shane Maloney; NZ novellist, playwright, poet and scriptwriter Stephanie Johnson (whose publicity photo looks like she's just punched herself under the chin - what is it with these portraits that demand that the chin is supported on a hand? Face-down in a bucket of beer I can understand.); Margaret Gee, Australian author and agent; and Owen Marshall, NZ short story writer, and non face-puncher.

    2005 Writers at Como

    The Melbourne Writers' Festival and Readers' Feast Bookshop are presenting their second Writers at Como this year, over the weekend of 25th, 26th and 27th February. Featured writers include Louise Adler (publisher of Melbourne University Publishing), Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (author of Purple Hibiscus), Stephanie Alexander (author of The Cook's Companion), Peter Craven (literary critic), Rick Gekoski (bookseller and member of this year's Booker jury), Gideon Haigh (sports writer), Sonya Hartnett (author of Stiff).

    A fairly diverse line-up that should cater for most tastes. Como House is a National Trust listed property built in South Yarra in 1847. It is surrounded by copious grounds with many large leafy trees so even if it is hot that weekend, which is a fair chance given that it is February in Melbourne, there should be enough shade. Program items will be run as two streams in one of two tents. Day tickets are $45 full price, with an $80 weekend rate, and it is possible to buy food hampers on site.

    St Kilda Writers' Festival

    The St Kilda Writers Festival starts tomorrow, and you can find full details of the program here. The program items during the coming week will be held at night with the daytime events being held over the weekend of February 5&6. Main points of interest: a reading of Dorothy Porter's Monkey Mask presented by Sisters in Crime; Judy Buckridge chairs a discussion, with Arnold Zable and Ouyang Yu, titled "Language and Exile" presented by the Melbourne International PEN Centre; and "Ethics in Literature" with Peter Singer, Renata Singer and Bill Garner.

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