Monday, 31 August 2015

Looking through Nachtwey’s lens: an up-close-and-personal snapshot of what it takes to be a war photographer

By Ildefonso Ogdoc

“If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough”. So rang out the words of the late Robert CapaA fitting opening and a clear indication to what was a phenomenal documentary about one of today’s most recognised war photographers: James Nachtwey

Addiction and disease: how addicts can heal themselves

By Rameshi Punsara Pannila Arachchige

According to neuroscientist Mark Lewis addiction is not a brain disease despite the commonly held belief that it is. From the age of 15 until his recovery at age 30, Marc Lewis spent most of his waking life under the influence of every drug he could get his hands on. His extreme addiction cost him everything but his life.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Pink Viagra, Dildos and the Mystical Super Clit: Self Assembly Required

By Kathryn Tafra

Whilst waiting for the MWF session In Their Prime: Sex After 60, I was amused to find the ACMI free public wifi blocked the sessions page - presumably because of the inappropriate content.

Laurie Penny on Feminism and the Potential for Cultural Change: we must not wait for it.

By Carla Silbert

I dont think it is possible to live outside politics - Laurie Penny. 

This Changes Everything: Global Capitalism, Climate Change, Corporate-Government Collusion, Hurricane Katrina and why #BlackLivesMatter

By Fia Hamid-Walker

The last time Naomi appeared in Australia was 14 years ago. She returned, passport and visa in hand, prepared for a sixty-minute interview and a potential encounter with #BorderFarce at the MWF 2015 session: an Audience with Naomi Klein.

Recognition Through Fiction

By Lily Mae Martin

Staunch is the fictionalised account of abandoned child Andy, a young boy placed in institutional care facilities in Melbourne and Ballarat throughout the 1980s.

How to Age Marvellously: A Three-Step Guide

By Michele Fredregill

Across from Sarah Winman’s post-lecture book signing table stands a giant, four-sided blackboard. Across the top, above the plastic baskets of chalk and multi-coloured lines of fill-in-the-blank script, a single prompt reads:

‘As I age…’

From Young Adult Fiction to iZombie: Rob Thomas Reveals All

By Sonia Esposito

Clementine Ford, a huge fan of Rob Thomas – creator of TV cult classics, Veronica Mars, Party Down and iZombie began the conversation with the big question: What was your evolution, when did it all start?

Out of the mouth of babes: Sofie Laguna’s The Eye of the Sheep

By Imbi Neeme

Author and winner of the 2015 Miles Franklin Literary Award, Sofie Laguna, was joined by an intrigued audience on Saturday 29 August, to talk about her most recent novel: The Eye of the Sheep. Here is a review with a delightful twist that you won’t want to miss!

Askin' for Respect! Askin’ for a way out of Abuse and Violence!

By Ella Salome

Words can hurt. We all experience this at some point in our lives. But exactly how much? Does our language foster a violent culture? Does our humour normalise abuse, racism and misogyny?

You Don’t Have to Be Yourself for Your Whole Life: Eleanor Catton on Reading

By Joshua Barnes

The horoeka—a tree native to the bushland of New Zealand—begins life thin and spiny, its leaves sharp, branches angled downwards to deter predators. Once it reaches maturity however, it transforms: its trunk thickens, its leaves widen and it reaches to the sky.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

A True Privilege: Coetzee, Kennedy, Malouf

By Sean Watson

When you’re lining up out the front of a theatre waiting to see a Nobel Laureate, it can be difficult to avoid inflating your expectations.

Aussie Astrophysics Leading Research into how the Universe Will End

By Angela Hogan

The Universe is expanding faster than ever and it could go in an instant, without anyone even knowing it. Welcome to the world of astrophysics, and the people who look into space and ask - “why”?

Gideon Raff: No Easy Answers

By Christopher Buur

Host Rafael Epstein asked Gideon Raff, the mastermind behind the critically acclaimed productions Prisoners of War and Homeland if he expected Homeland to be such a hit in the USA and beyond. Gideon replied, “I don’t think you can expect anything like that.”

Listen to the Stories! Good Muslim Boy, Good Greek Girl

By Brian Howley

A cold, wet Melbourne night did not deter an enthusiastic crowd from gathering at the Immigration Museum to share in museum curator Jan Malloy’s warm and engaging conversation with Osamah Sami and Maria Katsonis in the MWF session: Good Muslim Boy, Good Greek Girl.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Sacrifice and Strength: The Salt of the Earth

By Ellen Singleton

The images of world-renowned photographer Sebastião Salgado are showcased in this compelling documentary film, The Salt of the Earth, from directors Wim Wenders and Sebastião’s son Juliano Ribeiro Salgado

Women, wives and their lives

By Caroline Yun Tung

What did 1900’s contraception look like? According to distinguished author Kate Grenville: ‘After the act, run around the room three times, jump and cough vigorously’.

A Fabulous Spiral of Illustrated Chaos

By Nadine Cranenburgh

The latest volume in the insanely popular children’s Treehouse series by dynamic duo Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton, The 65-Storey Treehouse, features a wheelie bin time machine, which isn’t that much bigger on the inside than the outside. Regardless of cramping issues, I would have loved to have one of those handy as my son and I watched our train to their session pull out of Ballarat station without us. 

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

When is cussing actually courageous?

By Angela Serrano

What do Australians know about Filipinos? That they’re exotic, dusky-skinned babes, or smart, obliging nurses with American-inflected English?

Breaking Boundaries: Leadership and Honesty in Stand-Up Comedy

By Nolan Tyrrell

First: I enjoyed it. Moderator
George McEncroe began by asking Luke Ryan directly: What is funny?

I came. I saw. I fell in love.

By Daniella Mattiuzzo

The Melbourne Writers Festival is not the most typical setting for a love story, but this, dear readers, was where mine would begin.

Natalie Tran on Finding, Not Followers, But a Community

By Lucy Butler

The online generation is obsessed with becoming the next viral sensation, whether it’s with a cat meme, a fail video or creating the latest trend. However, what they fail to achieve is the satisfaction of connecting in an ongoing way with an online audience, something that successful YouTube vlogger, Natalie Tran, explained at the MWF session: Community Channel: Finding Followers.

Dave Hooper: a politically-incorrect … hero…well, sort of.

Pop culture is currently in a superhero moment and has been for the past 10 years: audiences love their superheroes and anti-heroes, so says John Birmingham in conversation with John Weldon at the session: John Birmingham: Monsters and Mayhem.

Feminist Divinity in Modern Mythologies

By Michelle Collins

An enthralled crowd gathered in ACMI’s The Cube to listen to internationally acclaimed authors Samhita Arni and Dolores Redondo, in conversation with Australian author Kirsty Murray. The trio expounded on the subjects of Modern Mythologies and the use of mythological plot and symbolism in Arni’s The Missing Queen, and Redondo’s The Invisible Guardian.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

See the World in a New Way

By Amanda Pearson

Short Stories are often considered a poor cousin to the novel. Viewed as marginal by the literary mainstream short stories are nevertheless consumed by a dedicated following. Paddy O’Reilly and Abigail Ulman set out to change the way we think about such works as they joined Patrick Allington in the session: The World According to Short Stories.

The Power of Words Knows no Borders

By Georgia Buck

It’s rare to find yourself in a room dedicated to the sharing and acknowledgement of diversity and culture, which made the Writers Across Borders workshop all the more special. Six writers from all over the world shared their works of writing and words of wisdom with all who were in attendance.

Can a Letter from a Scientist Change Your Mind on Climate Change?

By Athina Bakirtzidis Singh

Prepare to be frightened, prepare to listen. You may be sceptical about how a session titled: Climate Change: Action Through Stories could have any impact on climate change. However, scientists Dr Ailie Gallant and Associate Professor Kevin Walsh, novelist Alice Robinson and media guru Dr Deb Anderson weave together emotions, creativity and climate change in a most compelling way. 

Monday, 24 August 2015

Extraordinary Writers and Their Ordinary Routines

By Sherryn Hind

The Northcote Town Hall’s imposing double doors lent an air of anticipation to the audience waiting for the Extraordinary Routines session that promised a glimpse into the hidden world of the writer. The event didn’t disappoint making the effort of dragging one’s self into the city on a Sunday morning worthwhile. 

An “Extremist Fan-girl’s” take on Aussie Bestsellers Liane Moriarty and Graeme Simsion

By Sarah Halfpenny

It’s July 10 2015 and an email arrives: I’ve been selected to review the ‘Aussie Bestsellers’ session at the Melbourne Writers Festival.

Picture Books Rule the World!

By Margaret Robson Kett

Kitty Crowther asserts that ‘drawing is writing – a form of language’.  Shaun Tan agrees, adding that he ‘draws and writes with a crazy child-like brain.’ Host Bernard Caleo, a self-described comic book communicator, introduces Crowther as the best thing to come out of Brussels since Tintin, and Tan the ‘only thing to come out of Perth’.

Writing for what you believe in: Putting your identity in your writing

By Jake Addams

The Economist announced recently that Melbourne had been named ‘world’s most liveable city’ for the fifth year in a row. Disability and queer rights activist Jax Jacki Brown asks for whom exactly is this city 'most liveable' when she finds it near-impossible even to take a tram because of her disability?

Losing It: Between the Lines

By Sarah Hearn

Vivacious literary and cultural historian Jodi McAlister defines virginity as “the only word in the English language that describes having never done something” much to the amusement of an attentive Melbourne Writers Festival audience.

Get Creative: Just Do It!

By Maria Dunne

Selfies are often seen as narcissistic, vain and egotistical, but at ‘Workshop: Selfie Stories’ I met two women, Minna Gilligan and Natalie Tran, self-proclaimed ‘Defenders of the Common Selfie!’ who challenged that way of thinking.

Gender Equality: an Uncomfortable Truth

By Marcelle Liemant

Anne Summers is a leading feminist and the author of of Damned Whores and God’s Police, published in 1975. This session, Damned Whores and Gods Police: 40 Years On, hosted by the National Wool Museum, was a then-and-now look at gender equality. What has changed in the last 40 years, what hasn’t and what still needs to?

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Training Wings for Emerging Writers

By Hiba Hammoud

Broede Carmody, and Gillian Terzis, both journalists by day and editors, by night and respectively for Voice Works and The Lifted Brow by night, offered attendees at 'Next Gen: Future Voices' gave insights into their lives as young emerging writers. They focused on four issues in particular.

Hiding Love Letters between Pages at the State Library

By Claire Rosslyn Wilson

More than just a celebration of a building, Capital: the Beginning of the Word evokes the enduring strength of words and ideas.

“Within 30 seconds of meeting someone, judgements will have been made on that person.” ~ Renata Singer

By Joceline Loo

The importance of personal presentation is magnified for women in the media spotlight. Two powerful and inspiring women from the television frontline – Ita Buttrose (A PassionateLife)  and Jessica Rowe (Is This MyBeautiful Life) – came together and shared their experiences o with host and moderator Renata Singer in  "Women In Media: Keeping Up Appearances" at the Melbourne Writers Festival.

Copyright in the Digital Age - Supporting creators at all costs

By Deanne Koonwhye​

Who reading this has never downloaded music, art or text illegally? Very few of us? With so much online content freely available and “free of charge” taking what we want when we want has become normalised.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Louis de Bernieres’ Metaphorical Truth

By Zoe Papageorgiou

In preparation for reviewing “Louis de Bernieres: Ask a Novelist”, I attended the Melbourne Writers Festival Opening Night Address with the hope of formalising the Louis de Bernieres character that I had conjured in my mind. 

You Don’t Just Emerge and Be Tim Winton

By Chloe Watson

You complete your first creative writing class and decide you have some pretty sweet ideas for stories. After your first design class you find you’re not too shabby at photoshop. By week two of classes, you decide the world is ready for you and your growing knowledge of art and literature. So you decide to make a magazine.

Good Things Come from Good Intentions: Contemplating Peter Singer’s Altruism

By Fia Hamid-Walker

Peter Singer: The Activist Philosopher was sold out! Not really a surprise as the man is renowned internationally as the most influential ethicist and moral philosopher of our time.

Dig The New Breed of Lit Mag Editors

By Daniella Mattiuzzo

A gusty, warm and positively spring-like late Friday afternoon was the perfect setting for an hour of discussion on the winds of change in Australia’s literary magazine scene.

Writing and Censorship a World Wide Issue

By Angela Serrano

Sometimes panels like the Writing and Censorship session, featuring exclusively Asian writers, risk relegating issues like widespread censorship and defective democracies to non-Western societies.

Friday, 21 August 2015

How to Review Voicing Race at Melbourne Writers Festival 2015: A Guide in Three Parts.

By Alana Kosklin

Part I: Prepare. 
a) Do your homework on the panellists. Learn that Adolfo Aranjuez and Jessica Yu are part of the festival’s 30 Under 30, a program for hip, talented writers aged 30 and under. Realise that on a good day you are only half of one of those things, and it’s not under 30. Briefly mourn this fact.

Looking Forward to 'Good Muslim Boy, Good Greek Girl'

By Brian Howley

Going to primary school in 1970’s country Victoria meant sharing the playground with many Italian kids. Their exotic lunches of pasta, cheese and salami made everybody drool and their soccer ball skills tested everyone else's. I was not the only boy who learnt how to swear in Italian and I took great pride in my broadening language skills.

Delighted and Unsettled: Setting the Tone

By Anna-Rose Shack

It is the role of writers to tell “stupendous lies” and for readers to believe them. Thus said Louis de Bernieres at the opening night address of the Melbourne Writers Festival.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

In Her Prime: Kathryn Tafra Discusses Women Discussing Sex.

By Kathryn Tafra

In anticipation of the upcoming MWF session In Their Prime: Sex after 60, I have been thinking a lot about sex. Oh, who am I kidding? I think a lot about sex anyway. It is one of our societys last taboos, yet it is in our faces all the time. It absolutely fascinates me.

Monday, 17 August 2015

Writing Your First Short Story

By Amanda Pearson

You want to write a short story but don’t know how? Here are a few tips to get you on the way to short story success.