Whether you are listening to a keynote address in a large urban venue or a panel of speakers in an intimate environment (or vice versa), Melbourne has an accomplished history of delivering literary festivals. Many of these have grown in stature from grass-root origins, thus proving the commitment of the industry, the talent of writers to draw upon and the deep connection and ties with audiences.
Melbourne Writers Festival is Melbourne’s annual, two-week celebration for everyone who reads. The Festival brings together readers, writers and thinkers from around Australia and the world to celebrate literature, explore ideas, and inspire readers through a vibrant program of storytelling, conversation and discussion, intellectual debate, educational programs, live performance, music and art events. The Festival, which is over 30 years old, includes events for people of all ages and more than a quarter of the program is free.
The Emerging Writers’ Festival (EWF) develops, nurtures and promotes Australia’s new writing talent, creating platforms for connecting writing communities and their audiences. The cornerstone of the EWF programming is an 11-day Festival in Melbourne that brings writers, editors, publishers, literary performers and the reading public from across Australia together. The festival includes over 100 events – many run in partnership with other key literary and community organisations – features over 200 writers and attracts a 15,000 plus strong audience. EWF understands writers: who they are, the challenges they face, and the kind of inspiration and information they need to help them flourish. The Festival is an open-age event and encourages engagement from all segments of the literary community.
EWF also presents the Digital Writers' Festival, which, though it is run from Melbourne, helps to overcome barriers to participation and includes writers from all over Australia in a unique online-only program.
The Feminist Writers Festival was established in 2016 to support and promote women's writing through their biannual festival and ongoing events program throughout the year.
Melbourne's calendar of festival offerings caters to readers interested in a variety of genres, forms and niches, as seen in the Fitzroy Children’s Literature Festival, Williamstown Literary Festival, Continuum, Reading Matters, Freeplay and Word for Word.
This extends to our regional areas as well: Bendigo Writers Festival, Clunes Booktown Festival, Mildura Writers Festival, Newstead Short Story Tattoo, Woodend Winter Arts Festival, Ex Libris Port Fairy Festival of Words, Castlemaine Children’s Literature Festival, and Words in Winter.
Festivals are often a launching pad for the public personas of writers and authors, to expose their work to a wider network of readers. They also provide ample opportunities for dialogue and discussion around current events and social factors, thus becoming an integral part of our cultural identity.