The 13 Must-See Events at This Year's Melbourne Writers Festival

Published May 7, 2024

As the Melbourne Writers Festival begins today, excitement builds around the carefully curated lineup of events. Under the artistic direction of Michaela McGuire, who has expertly guided the festival for four years, especially through the trials of the pandemic, this edition presents a diverse array of insightful programs despite its smaller scale.

An Evening with Bestseller Michael Cunningham

Join Michael Cunningham, the celebrated author of The Hours, as he delves into his newly written pandemic novel, Day. The festival's opening night is also a celebration of literary achievement with the 42nd Age Book of the Year awards.

Viet Thanh Nguyen: A Tale of Dual Heritage

Pulitzer Prize winner Viet Thanh Nguyen shares his journey from Vietnamese refugee to renowned author, touching on his latest works, a sequel titled The Committed and a personal memoir, A Man of Two Faces.

Exploring Modernalities: Bryan Washington and Christos Tsiolkas

In a dialogue that promises depth and discovery, Bryan Washington and Christos Tsiolkas come together to discuss their respective novels, Family Meal and The In-Between. Topics like relationships, intimacy, and the nuances of modern life in a global context will be explored.

Poetic Hope and Solidarity

At the event titled 'Let It Bring Hope', poets including Tony Birch and Sara Saleh will perform original works expressing solidarity and commitment, amidst a backdrop of contextual controversy.

Aqua Profunda: Narratives of Healing

Authors Katherine Brabon, Nadine J. Cohen, and Myfanwy Jones come together to talk about how their stories integrate the theme of water as a therapeutic force for navigating grief and the past.

Ghosts in Literature: Imagining Other Realities

Siang Lu and Laura Jean McKay engage with spectral themes in their novels, offering a critique on societal structures and the increasingly blurred lines between species.

Lauren Groff and Charlotte Wood: The Art of Silence

The American author, Lauren Groff, and Australian Charlotte Wood discuss the solitary and reflective spaces their characters inhabit, sharing their approaches to crafting narratives that command contemplation and quietude.

The Stella Prize: Celebrating the Winner

Alexis Wright, winner of this year's Stella Prize, will discuss her novel, Praiseworthy, a humorous yet acute tale tackling themes from climate change to indigenous lifestyles.

Time-Traveling Narratives with Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Author Toshikazu Kawaguchi presents his originally theatrical time-travel story, Before the Coffee Gets Cold, which has grown into a bestselling novel and upcoming television series.

A Philosophical Debate with A.C. Grayling

Contemporary philosopher A.C. Grayling raises an intriguing query about space sovereignty in his thought-provoking book, 'Who Owns the Moon?'.

Leslie Jamison: A Writer's Introspection

Leslie Jamison unveils her process in penning Splinters: Another Kind of Love Story, a narrative inspired by her own life transitions, affirming the illuminating power of everyday experiences.

Andrew O'Hagan: The Storyteller's Craft

Esteemed Scottish author Andrew O'Hagan shares insights into his creative process, casting light on the interplay between reality and fiction in his work.

Paul Lynch Discusses 'Prophet Song'

Rounding off the festival is a special session with Paul Lynch, last year's Booker Prize winner. Lynch unfolds the layers of his dystopian novel, Prophet Song, envisioning an Ireland under totalitarian rule.

While many events have sold out, prospective attendees are encouraged to check for newly released tickets, ensuring they can still be part of this premier literary celebration.

culture, books, arts