Melbourne Writers Festival Retrospective

MWF-pink_smWith the Melbourne Writers Festival now mere hours behind us, I’d like to have a brief reflection on the various sessions I attended.  Being the bleeding heart that I am, my interest lay more in the political sessions, rather than the industry-oriented ones.  Unfortunately I missed our erstwhile ex-opposition leader Mark Latham’s display, but there was much else on over the ten day festival to entertain and inform.  I attended six events across the course of the festival.

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If only history classes had been like this.

MWF-pink_smNovelists C S Pacat and Ilka Tampke will be interviewed by John Weldon at ACMI cinema 1 on Sunday 23rd at 2:30pm. What will they be talking about?

I’m glad you asked. They will be discussing Historical Fantasy.

Long, long ago at the dawn of history I remember nodding off during history classes. I probably did my best daydreaming then too. The school text books and the teachers made it all as dull as warm gravel. I never passed a history exam in my life because I could not remember when people died or when battles were fought, but I remember reading history books for fun when I got home from school and being riveted by historical documentaries and films. It was not until I arrived at adulthood that I realised that history I slept through in school and the history I read about at home were the same, just told in different ways. History is there, there’s no getting away from it so we might as well enjoy it. And a few fantasies won’t hurt…history won’t mind, it’s big enough to look after itself. Get you tickets online at the MWF website.

Reflections on Audience Outreach: MWF

MWF-pink_smIt seems like the most sensible thing in the world; if you want to know what audiences want, then give them a voice. That’s exactly what the Melbourne Writers Festival is doing with a series of tools for audience engagement, ranging from arms-length suggestions via a new digital submission box, to the highly interactive Audience Advocate Committee, meeting once a month to discuss possible programming opportunities. What’s so surprising about the whole thing is just how unusual it is for a festival to invite audiences in for such active engagement. Continue reading

Picks for MWF: Louise Angrilli

MWF-pink_smPart of me feels that the Melbourne Writers Festival should take place around a giant fire where we can warm our hands and listen to stories, while shadows dance all around. The festival is a warm place in the middle of winter after all.

We’re one week away from the start of the festival so I thought I’d take this as an opportunity to review my must-see sessions. Predictably, this is a biased list of events that reflects my tastes and proclivities. Feel free to make your suggestions in the comments below.

Eat the Sky: Cross-Cultural Collaborations
Saturday 22 August, 4pm
The Wheeler Centre, Performance Space
Free

We all live in our own self-contained filter bubbles. That’s the way of community most of the time; we connect with others like ourselves. I’m not sure I even know anybody who didn’t vote Greens! But how much of our world view is limited by these bubbles? How hard do we make it for ourselves to understand someone else’s point of view when it contradicts with our own?

Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean is an anthology released earlier in the year, pairing Indian and Australian writers and visual storytellers. Two of the collaborators, Annie Zaldi and Mandy Ord will talk about the process of working together, and time spent across cultures. Continue reading

Candles Among Us

The MothTHE MOTH: THIS IS A TRUE STORY
Edited by Catherine Burns
Allen & Unwin, May 2015, RRP $21.99

It is an opportune moment to review the printed collection, The Moth: This is a True Story. At the upcoming Melbourne Writers Festival there will be a session transporting The Moth from its natural habitat in New York to Melbourne. You should head across to the MWF website to purchase tickets if you have a chance. It’s likely to be a beautiful night of good stories well told, cunningly spun and woven and cast into the audience to lure you. As if to a flame.

For the stories are the flames here.

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