Melbourne Writers Festival

Melbourne Writers Festival
Melbourne was the second city to be approved as UNESCO’s City of Literature in 2008 (the first one was Edinburgh in 2004). To receive this title, cities need to host literary festivals and other events promoting national and foreign literature. No wonder that Melbourne hosts one of the world’s major writers festivals, the Melbourne Writers Festival (MWF).

The Melbourne Writers Festival was launched in 1986 as a joint initiative between the City of Melbourne and the Melbourne International Festival of the Arts (currently known as the Melbourne Festival). It was held as a part of the Melbourne International Festival of the Arts until 1997. In 1998, the Melbourne Writers Festival became an independent event and was held in August rather than October for the first time.

The Melbourne Writers Festival is part of the World Alliance, an international partnership that connects eight of the world’s leading literature festivals. The Alliance aims to support and showcase the work of writers from around the world, as well as to facilitate the creation of international literature projects. Its members are: the Edinburgh International Book Festival, the Berlin International Literature Festival, the International Festival of Authors in Toronto, the Melbourne Writers Festival, the Bookworm International Literary Festival in China, the PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature in New York, the Jaipur International Festival, and Étonnants Voyageurs in Saint-Malo.

The main goal of the Melbourne Writers Festival is to bring together authors from all over the world to celebrate literature, explore new ideas, and inspire readers. The festival presents a rich and diverse program that includes keynotes, conversation and discussion, storytelling, intellectual debate, music and art events, educational programs, families and children activities, seminars and workshops, and more. There are events for people of all ages and backgrounds, and almost a third of the program is free.

The Melbourne Writers Festival welcomes around 800 writers each year. Past international guests at the festival have included Margaret Atwood (Canada), Isabel Allende (Chile), Paulo Coelho (Brazil), Dave Eggers (USA), David Levithan (USA), Ben Okri (Nigeria), Salman Rushdie (UK), and many others. Of course, each edition of the festival also features many Australian writers.

With an attendance of over 73,000, MWF is one of the most important cultural events in Melbourne, as well as a literary festival of international stature. The festival runs over ten days in late August and early September. Its events take place at Federation Square in the Melbourne City Center.

In 2020, the event was held online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Melbourne Writers Festival

Photo: Melbourne Writers Festival




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