Adelaide Writers’ Week unveils a politically charged 2016 program.
From Saturday, February 27 to Thursday, March 3, Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden will be overrun with readers for Adelaide Writers’ Week 2016. Speculative fiction, short stories and political non-fiction are key to this year’s program. “It’s a broad church as far as audiences out there, and we must have a program that speaks to the issues of the day,” says Laura Kroetsch, Director. “The problem we had originally with literary festivals is that they were about literary fiction and poetry. The ugly truth of the world? People read everything, and there should be no shame attached to that.” “There are a lot of angry women in this program,” says Kroetsch. “Charlotte Wood, Anne Marie Slaughter. Jennifer Clement is the first woman to become president of PEN International; she’s Mexican and has done a lot of work with disappeared journalists and disappeared children; Margie Orford is with PEN South Africa and has done a lot of work around the brutality against children and women.” 2016 is also the year for history buffs, with two titans of the genre – Simon Sebag Montefiore and Simon Winchester – both making appearances. A real coup for the festival is Hyeonseo Lee, the extraordinary author of The Girl With Seven Names, a memoir of life in – and escape from – North Korea. Other huge names on the 2016 program include Alexander McCall Smith, Lucy Cousins, Tony Birch, Richard Dawkins and Lisa Genova. Australian writers – journalists and political commentators – take up a hefty chunk of the program, with sessions from Kerry O’Brien, Gideon Haigh, Annabel Crabb, George Megalogenis, Malcolm Knox, Tory Bramston and Paul Kelly. Max Porter, the editor of Eleanor Catton’s Booker Prize-winning The Luminaries, will present his first novel: Grief is the Thing with Feathers. Fellow editor Craig Munro, who worked with Peter Carey, Barbara Hanrahan and Olga Masters in the infancies of their careers, will discuss his work with these icons of the Australian canon. Imaginations will run wild with the clever creativity of Lauren Groff (Fates & Furies), Paolo Bacigalupi (The Wind-Up Girl) and Fiona McFarlane (The Night Guest). McFarlane will introduce a new collection of short stories; Paul Yoon, Joanna Walsh, Tegan Bennett Daylight, Virginia Reeves and more will also be presenting works of short fiction. “I’m obsessed,” says Kroestch. “I love short stories; I think, like poetry, short fiction is the perfect form.” The full program can be collected from bookshops, libraries and newsagents across Adelaide or accessed online from Thursday, January 28 at 9am adelaidefestival.com.au/2016/writers_week/Adelaide_Writers_Week_2016 Adelaide Writers’ Week 2016 line-up: Debra Adelaide Paolo Bacigalupi Jesse Ball Muriel Barbery Jonathan Bate CBE Bernard Beckett Tony Birch Stephanie Bishop Troy Bramston Simon Bryant Fran Bryson Jane Caro Jennifer Clement Aidan Coleman Lucy Cousins Annabel Crabb Stephen Daisley Richard Dawkins Gregory Day Tegan Bennett Daylight Sonja Dechian Robert Dessaix Patrick deWitt Jelena Dinic Fiona Farrell Peggy Frew Patrick Gale Lisa Genova Masha Gessen Kate Grenville Andy Griffiths Lauren Groff Darren Groth Gideon Haigh Gail Jones Jill Jones Mireille Juchau Leah Kaminsky Paul Kelly Etgar Keret Mohamed Khadra Malcolm Knox Ramona Koval Catherine Lacey Hyeonseo Lee Kate Llewellyn Alexander McCall Smith Fiona McFarlane Jennifer McLagan Bill Manhire Peter May George Megalogenis Drusilla Modjeska Simon Sebag Montefiore Rob Mundle Craig Munro Gerald Murnane Brenda Niall Kerry O’Brien Andrew O’Hagan Paddy O’Reilly Margie Orford Felix J Palma Max Porter Virginia Reeves Jim Shepard Carl Shuker Anne Marie Slaughter Anna Smaill Thom Sullivan Lucy Sussex Magda Szubanski Laura Thompson Lucy Treloar Laura van den Berg Robert Wainwright Vikki Wakefield Joanna Walsh Rohan Wilson Simon Winchester Charlotte Wood Beth Yahp Paul Yoon