Announcing the 2020 Melbourne Writers Festival digital program

The 2020 program for the Melbourne Writers Festival has been announced, and we are thrilled to see such a fantastic line-up of local and international writers.

The program runs from 7-16 August, and will be entirely online this year. MWF Digital has adopted a Pay What You Can ticketing model for 2020 to ensure greatest access for all, and tickets are on sale now. Find out everything you need to know on the Melbourne Writers Festival website.


More than 100 of the world’s most interesting writers and thinkers will converge under the Festival’s theme, Attention, to discuss issues such as the climate and environment, the state of capitalism, global crises, leadership and human connection – all through the lens of books and writing, of course! Here are just a few of the many writers that we’re excited about.


International guests

Fiction readers will be thrilled to hear from luminaries such as Elizabeth Strout (Olive Kitteridge, Olive, Again), Anne Enright (Actress, The Gathering), Britt Bennet (The Vanishing Half, The Mothers) and Lawrence Wright (The End of October).

Readers can catch Crazy Rich Asians author Kevin Kwan talking about his new novel, Sex and Vanity; hear Megha Majumdar discuss her breakaway debut novel, A Burning; and travel back to the Fall of Singapore and war-time occupation with Jing-Jing Lee (How We Disappeared).

For those interested in contemporary politics and society, George Friedman will be discussing his new and timely book about the future of the United States, The Storm Before the Calm, and Mikki Kendall will go deep into gender, race and other intersections with her book Hood Feminism.

Journalist Patrick Radden Keefe will reflect on his extensive body of work, including his award-winning book, Say Nothing, an examination of the Troubles in Northern Ireland through the lens of one murder case.

Artist and writer Jenny Odell, author of How to Do Nothing will give the closing address, which promises to provide a provocative action plan for thinking beyond capitalist narratives of efficiency and value.


Australian authors

Esteemed author Kate Grenville will deliver the Festival opening address, and will also be in the Zoom room answering questions for a special book club session on her extraordinary new novel, A Room Made of Leaves.

Other literary treats include conversations with good friends Charlotte Wood (The Weekend,) and Tegan Bennett Daylight (The Details), some exciting local debut authors (Victoria Hannan, Jessie Tu), and a fabulous gala featuring Ellen van Neerven, Favel Parrett, Alison Whittaker and others.

The Festival is presenting some political big guns, with Julia Gillard talking about her latest book (co-authored with Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala) Women and Leadership and Malcolm Turnbull discussing his memoir A Bigger Picture.

The future of our country will be explored with Finding the Heart of the Nation author and campaigner Thomas Mayor, and a session with Damon Gameau and Jess Scully to discuss their work exploring possible constructive futures for the whole planet.

Lovers of personal stories will be keen to see Miranda Tapsell (Top End Girl) in conversation with Clare Bowditch and Jamila Rizvi, or Marlee Silva (My Tidda, My Sister), talking about her work elevating the voices of First Nations women.


This is just a small sampler of what’s on offer in this year’s Melbourne Writers Festival. You can browse the full program and book tickets here.

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Olive, Again

Olive, Again

Elizabeth Strout

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