Melbourne Writers Festival


The Kill Your Darlings team is very excited about the upcoming Melbourne Writers Festival, running from Thursday 22 August to Sunday 1 September. With over 350 events, there’s almost too much to see. After much flicking through the program and circling of dates, here’s our top picks for the 2013 Festival!

Brigid Mullane – Deputy Editor

I am eager to see Laurent Binet whose debut novel HhHH was one of my favourite books of last year (and who will be appearing in the October issue of KYD). His book, a post-modern historical novel about the assassination attempt of Reinhard Heydrich was thoughtful and hilarious and I imagine Binet will be much the same. He will be doing two separate Q&A events, one in English and the other in his native French. I can’t wait to attend both and hope that he uses the only French phrases I remember from high school  – le chat est sur la chaise.

Another international guest that I am excited to see is the wonderful Canadian author, horror-film maker and Zen Buddhist Ruth Ozeki. I’m new to Ozeki’s books having only picked up The Tale of Time Being this year. I consequently blitzed through My Year of Meats and All Over Creation and am now eager for something more to sate my Ozeki obsession. She is in discussion with former KYD Online Editor Estelle Tang.

For those looking to gain some practical skills at the festival I recommend the day-long Digital Drive event – produced in conjunction with the Emerging Writers’ Festival. Featuring industry insiders Alison Croggon, Clem Ford, Ben Pobjie and others and covering everything from podcasting to freelancing for online publications, the day looks set to be a useful and insightful way to learn more about writing in the digital world.


Samantha van Zweden – Social Media Assistant

I’m excited that the Morning Read sessions are continuing this year. They’re an amazing way to start the day by either seeing a reading from someone you already know, or by discovering someone new. I’m particularly looking forward to seeing Sean Condon read – he’s always irate and always hilarious. I’m also looking forward to seeing Julienne van Loon, whose contribution to Just Between Us was really lovely. Other Morning Read guests that I’ll definitely be catching include Teju Cole, Tao Lin, M.J. Hyland, Marina Warner, and Walter Mason. This year the Morning Read is at the Festival Hub in Beer Deluxe – and as always, it’s free. So… Wake up, get read to, beer. Bonza!

I’m also really looking forward to the Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference. It’s got a fantastic history, having been all around the world and finally Melbourne has its turn to host and contribute. The conference covers censorship, national literature, the future of the novel, style and politics. The EWWC promises to deliver what doesn’t appear so often at other writers festival events: consideration of the wider context and industry.  I’ll be tweeting this like crazy, and look forward to that other layer of discussion that happens at festivals through Twitter feeds.


Jessica Alice – Online Editorial Assistant 

This year’s festival program is super lady-friendly and has an impressive range of events on feminism and gender. I’m really looking forward to The Politics of Sex, chaired by Sophie Cunningham and featuring Anna Krien and Shereen El Feki. Krien, of course, wrote this year’s Night Games on the allegations of sexual assault in AFL culture, and El Feki has written on the nature of sex in Egypt and other Arab countries. With a panel this good I reckon it will be a challenging, complex and thought-provoking discussion.

Tavi Gevinson’s keynote Tavi’s World is also looking to be a highlight. I’m a long-time fan of her old fashion blog Style Rookie, and now the very fancy Rookie magazine, particularly for the enormous positive effects she is having on young women’s media. (Also, I may or may not be appearing with her at Rookie Day for the under-20s!)

One of my favourite Melbourne poets Maxine Beneba Clarke will be launching her brand spanking new book of poetry, Nothing Here Needs Fixing, with the help of Overland’s Jeff Sparrow at ACMI. If you haven’t seen Clarke perform, I highly recommend checking it out – she’s a powerful and compelling poet who writes very eloquently on race and gender, and she’s a bit cheeky.