It’s officially day 7 of the Melbourne Writers Festival. Last week I brought you “my picks” for the first week, so today I’m giving you my picks for the second half of the festival.
My reading chair arrived this morning, so assuming that I can pry myself from its soft leathery caress, I’ll be attending the following sessions:
Friday 31st will kick of with Angela Meyer’s The Morning Read, sampling the work of Claire Bidwell Smith, Asa Larsson, Eowyn Ivey and CS Lakshmi. Not only is this event free, but it’s a great tasting plate of writing you otherwise might miss out on. Plus, in researching the writers she’d be hosting, Angela mentioned that Eowyn Ivey was particularly enjoyable.
At 11.30am, I’ll be at Making Robots Think, where Lee Gutkind (the godfather of creative non-fiction) will be talking about why we need great long-form non-fiction, and his latest work. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.
At 1pm, Thoughts on Thoughts will be discussing cognitive neuroscience. This is a field that’s been moving forward in leaps and bounds lately, and the amount of new books on neuroscience is crazy. I don’t have time to read them all, but I do find it interesting, so hopefully this panel’s got something rad to offer.
At 2.30pm, Benjamin Law will be talking to Germaine Greer. To be totally honest, I’ll be there more for Benjamin Law than Germaine Greer, but it promises to be an interesting session. Germaine Greer’s been so influential for such a long time, and she’s still at it. That’s pretty damn respectable.
I’m a big fan of Spinifex Press, The Stella Prize, and women in cultural production, so at 4pm I’ll be at Women in Culture.
And along those lines, at 7.30pm in the Yarra Building, The Stella Prize are having a trivia night! I’m currently assembling the Dream Team.
Saturday is another big day – and a day where it’s really hard to choose between events that are on simultaneously. But I’ll be there, kicking off again with The Morning Read.
At 1pm I’m catching the Memoir: Fact or Fiction? panel, because it’s a topic I’m incredibly interested in. The conversation on that topic was touched on already at panels last week, particularly the Friendly Fire one, where panelists talked about the fact that memoir is a construction. So where does the line go?
At 2.30pm that conversation continues on another panel in Fact, Fiction, Truth. More Lee Gutkind. And Robin Hemley. Life’s good.
In the afternoon I’ll be catching Robert Dessaix. He spoke to a class I was in a few years ago, and he’s one of the most respectable, gripping speakers I’ve ever seen. Don’t miss it.
Wrapping up my Lee Gutkind filled weekend will be the launch of the next issue of Creative Non-Fiction. You’ll kick yourself if you miss it.
And finally, the last day of the festival is Sunday, September 2nd. It’ll be a little sad maybe. Us and the festival having gotten to know one another over the last few weeks. It’ll hurt a little to say goodbye.
And again, the day will kick of with Angela Meyer at The Morning Read.
At 11.30am, Alicia Sometimes talks to Pico Iyer and Benjamin Law about what draws them to Asia.
At 2.30pm, Chloe Hooper will be talking about her turn to fiction in her new book The Engagement, which has just been included in the Get Reading list of 50 Books You Can’t Put Down.
At 4pm, Michael Williams hosts a panel talking about that age-old issue: what really makes a classic, and what should be included in an Australian canon? This should be great – Williams always asks really spot-on questions and gets good conversation flowing.
The festival wraps up on Sunday night with the launch of the latest Going Down Swinging at the Toff in Town. $25 gets you entry, entertainment, and a copy of the journal.
I’m looking forward to another PACKED weekend. Come schmooze if you see me. As always, I’ll be blogging and tweeting my thoughts throughout.