Current Issue #488

Adelaide Writers’ Week explores being human in first 2020 program reveal

Shane Reid
Adelaide Writers’ Week

Dark Emu author Bruce Pascoe, 2019 Man Booker International Prize-winning author Jokha Alharthi and George Pell trial reporter Louise Milligan feature in an agenda-setting first lineup of local and international authors.

Revealed today as part of the wider 2020 Adelaide Festival program, next year’s Writers’ Week lineup sets out questions of humanity as its key theme. Continuing from this year’s inaugural opening address, the 2020 program will be opened with a triple-header reflecting on the “only constant in life” – change. The opening event will feature twice Man Booker-shortlisted Nigerian author Chigozie Obioma, Karachi-based journalist Sanam Maher whose A Woman Like Her explores the life and death of Pakistani celebrity Qandeel Baloch, and Tyson Yunkaporta, whose recent book Sand Talk examines ways in which time-honoured Aboriginal knowledge can be better harnessed.

Jokha Alharthi’s Celestial Bodies was the recent winner of the 2019 Man Booker International Prize

The 2020 program’s cohort of international writers will also include 2019 Man Booker International Prize-winning Omani author Jokha Alharthi, US Poet Laureate Joy Harjo, Greek economist and former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, exiled Chinese writer Ma Jian, US author Tommy Orange and bestselling The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas‘ author John Boyne.

With his widely-praised work researching Aboriginal agriculture and land management currently on display at the Art Gallery of South Australia as part of Tarnanthi 2019, Bruce Pascoe will undoubtedly be a popular inclusion in the 2020 program in the wake of his latest collection Salt and a younger readers’ edition of his seminal text Dark Emu.

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Several Australian writers whose work has added important depth to the news cycle will appear at the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Park in 2020, including Four Corners reporter Louise Milligan, whose years of reporting on historic sexual assault allegations against George Pell culminated in her Walkley-winning book Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of George Pell, and Jess Hill, whose 2019 book See What You Made Me Do has been held up as one of the definitive pieces of reporting on Australia’s domestic violence crisis.

Journalist and author Blanche D’Alpuget and Don Dunstan biographer Angela Woollacott will undoubtedly draw the attention of Australian politics junkies, while ABC journalist and Q&A host Tony Jones’ ability to “take that as a comment” will be put to the test by the Adelaide Writers’ Week crowd. Myanmar-born, Melbourne-based Rohingya poet and detention centre survivor Habiburahman will also speak about his memoir First, They Erased Our Name.

Four Corners reporter Louise Milligan’s celebrated book Cardinal offers an in-depth record of the Pell case

Other notable Australian writers include Sydney-based Lebanese-Syrian journalist Ruby Hamad, whose recent debut White Tears/Brown Scars explored the intersectional limits of popular feminism, Canadian-born winner of the 2019 Stella Prize Vickie Laveau-Harvie, bestselling author Peter Goldsworthy, 2017 Stella Prize winner Heather Rose (The Museum of Modern Love) and City of Trees author Sophie Cunningham. The Hate Race author and poet Maxine Beneba Clarke will return after giving the Hazel Rowley Memorial Lecture in 2017, with Benjamin Law (The Family Law), Lucy Treloar (Salt Creek) and John Birmingham (He Died With A Falafel In His Hand) also slated to appear.

Full Adelaide Festival 2020 program

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Children’s and young adult authors are also well-represented, with The Gruffalo creator Julia Donaldson, iconic Australian illustrator Graeme Base, Andy Griffiths and recently-controversial Tomorrow, When The War Began author John Marsden also on the lineup.

In addition to the usual six days of free day time talks, Writers’ Week’s Twilight Talks series will return in 2020 discussing themes such as Being Human, Rock Bottom and the Authorial Voice, with lineups yet to be revealed.

Adelaide Writers’ Week 2020 first lineup announcement

Jokha Alharthi (Oman)
Arif Anwar (Bangladesh/Canada)
Tash Aw (Malaysia/United Kingdom)
Damian Barr (United Kingdom)
Graeme Base (Australia)
Tony Birch (Australia)
John Birmingham (Australia)
John Boyne (Ireland)
Jung Chang (China/United Kingdom)
Christopher Clark (Australia/United Kingdom)
Maxine Beneba Clarke (Australia)
Tim Costello (Australia)
Hannah Critchlow (United Kingdom)
Sophie Cunningham (Australia)
Blanche D’Alpuget (Australia)
Julia Donaldson (United Kingdom)
Chike Frankie Edozien (Nigeria/United States)
Peter Goldsworthy (Australia)
Jane R Goodall (Australia)
Erin Gough (Australia)
Andy Griffith (Australia)
Habiburahman (Myanmar)
Ruby Hamad (Australia)
Zahra Hankir (Lebanon/United Kingdom)
Joy Harjo (United States)
Jess Hill (Australia)
Ma Jian (China/United Kingdom)
Tony Jones (Australia)
Amie Kaufman (Australia)
Vicki Laveau-Harvie (Canada/Australia)
Benjamin Law (Australia)
Andrea Lawlor (United States)

Long Litt Woon (Malaysia/Norway)
Sanam Maher (Pakistan)
John Marsden (Australia)
Thomas Mayor (Australia)
Felicity McLean (Australia)
Louise Milligan (Australia)
Azadeh Moaveni (Iran/United States)
Aileen Moreton-Robinson (Australia)
H M Naqvi (Pakistan)
Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria)
Tommy Orange (United States)
Bruce Pascoe (Australia)
Elliot Perlman (Australia)
Julia Phillips (United States)
Serhii Plokhy (Ukraine/United States)
Sally Rippin (Australia)
Michael Robotham (Australia)
Heather Rose (Australia)
Joan Silber (United States)
Robert Elliott Smith (United Kingdom)
Pitchaya Sudbunthad (Thailand/United States)
Jamie Susskind (United Kingdom)
Miriam Sved (Australia)
Lucy Treloar (Australia)
Bart van Es (Netherlands/United Kingdom)
Yanis Varoufakis (Greece)
Tara June Winch  (Australia/France)
Charlotte Wood (Australia)
Angela Woollacott  (Australia)
Tyson Yunkaporta (Australia)
Nevo Zisin (Australia)

29 February – 5 March

Adelaide Writers’ Week 2020

Walter Marsh

Walter Marsh

Digital Editor
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Walter is a writer and editor living on Kaurna Country.

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