Arguably Australia’s most exciting and influential writers’ festival, Adelaide Writers’ Week is back in February 2010. With the names of the visiting authors announced yesterday, it looks like a doozy.

It’s a stellar line-up. Not only will some of Australia’s finest be there – Christos Tsiolkas, Andrea Goldsmith, Brian Castro, Robert Dessaix, Charlotte Wood, Peter Temple, and Markus Zusak to name a few – but a brief glance at the list of overseas writers is enough to send lowly literary lovers, such as your friendly editors at Kill Your Darlings, into paroxysms of anticipatory pleasure.

Irvine Welsh (of Trainspotting fame) will be there. Jim Crace, serial award-winner (and also, interestingly, a keen amateur birdwatcher), is attending. Richard Dawkins is coming (you can already hear that audience member point out Adelaide’s nickname, ‘The City of Churches’, in question time). Anne Enquist will drop by. Salley Vickers is packing her bags. And a personal favourite, the marvellous Sarah Waters will be gracing Adelaide for the second time.

All in all, more than sixty writers from Australia and overseas will be attending. For more information on the guest authors, have a look at the Writers’ Week website here.

Unlike many other writers’ festivals, Adelaide Writers’ Week costs nothing to attend. While there are two evening events held in a more intimate setting, for which tickets can be purchased, free parallel sessions run daily from the 28 February to 5 March under the plane trees of the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Gardens. Simply pick up a program guide (released in early February next year) from any Adelaide bookstore worth its salt, and drop by the gardens to hear the writers you love, or those you’ve never heard of.

So, prepare yourself to be dazzled (by the speakers, but also by the summer sun if you miss out on a spot in the shade), to buy up big– compulsively, but never regrettably – in the book tent, to wrestle the elderly for the chairs under the marquees, and work out what you’re going to say to Sarah when you discover that you’re standing behind her in the queue to the toilets. One of Australia’s best literary events is not too far away.

Adelaide Writers' Week