Adelaide Writers’ Week 2024 program announced

For the 39th Adelaide Writers' Week, spanning six days from Saturday 2 March to Thursday 7 March, the world's leading writers will come together in the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden to reflect on the lessons of history, make sense of the present moment and imagine the future.

Earlier this week, Louise Adler AM unveiled her second Adelaide Writers’ Week program, spotlighting 194 writers across 135 sessions with the theme The Past is Not Another Country. Together, they will explore the fundamental query: what does it mean to be human?

Among confirmed writers are renowned historians Julian Jackson, Peter Frankopan and Avi Shlaim; passionate advocate for change Chanel Contos; Irish Laureate for Fiction Anne Enright; French literary sensation Édouard Louis; three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas L. Friedman; Booker Prize winner Richard Flanagan; and Australian Book of the Year winner Jessica Townsend.

In her second year as Director, Louise Adler AM said: “Adelaide Writers’ Week in 2024 will offer readers illuminating, inspiring and intriguing conversations about the process of writing and the ideas that have kept writers at their desks over the past year.”

There are three ticketed events and the two previously announced ticketed events in Adelaide Town Hall are now sold out. The first event is The Grand Dames of Letters on Saturday 2 March with Mary Beard, Anne Michaels, Jane Smiley and Elizabeth Strout (with Strout appearing via live stream), hosted by Julia Baird (The Drum). The second event is The Rest is Politics on Sunday 3 March, with ABC TV’s Sarah Ferguson (7.30) facilitating a discussion between Alastair Campbell onstage and Rory Stewart via live stream. The Rest is Politics will be introduced by the Premier of South Australia, Peter Malinauskas MP.

The third exclusive event will be co-hosted by Sarah Kanowski and Richard Fidler: Family Circus on Sunday 3 March at 2:30pm. This engaging session will feature authors Martin Flanagan, Wendy Harmer, Thomas Keneally, Lisa Millar and Christos Tsiolkas, sharing captivating snapshots from their personal family stories. Tickets go on sale from Tuesday 30 January. 

In 2024, the featured spotlight turns to writers from South Asia. Come along to exclusive sessions featuring five distinguished writers from this rich and diverse region – Anjali Joseph, Nilanjana Roy, Perumal Murugan, Meena Kandasamy, and Anjum Hasan -each offering their unique perspectives across poetry, essays, journalism, and fiction.

The popular Director’s Choice series returns for those who prefer streaming sessions from the comfort of home. Available on a Pay What You Can basis, the 12 sessions explore diverse themes: find out who and what killed capitalism with Greek economist Yanis Varoufakis (Technofeudalism), why politics matters with Alastair Campell (But What Can I Do?); embark on memoir journeys with Wendy Harmer (Lies My Mirror Told Me); venture into historical non-fiction with Mary Beard (Mary Beard: Empress of Rome), David Marr (Killing for Country), and Ilan Pappé (The Israel/Palestine Question); immerse yourself in compelling fiction with Jane Smiley (A Dangerous Business) and Melissa Lucashenko (Edenglassie); consider how stories are made with Leigh Sales (Storytellers), the power of the past with Anne Michaels and Anne Enright (The Power of Love); discover the latest novels from Kate Morton (Homecoming) and listen to a celebration of the beloved Australian writer Thomas Keneally (Thomas Kenneally and Friends).

The much-loved Breakfast with Papers series will be at Writers’ Week in the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden in 2024, allowing attendees to join the day’s subsequent sessions without changing seats. Sessions will be held from 8-9 am daily during Writers’ Week. Hosted by Adelaide’s own Tory Shepherd from The Guardian and Jonathan Green from Radio National, each day will feature a lineup of special guests scrutinising the morning’s media.

The Australia Institute, the nation’s foremost independent think tank, conducts high-impact research that influences perspectives and fosters more informed debate on critical issues. In 2024, The Australia Institute collaborates with Writers’ Week to address key policy questions confronting Australia. Join Australia Institute Executive Director Richard Denniss and the team on Sunday 3 March for a series of provocative, courageous, and unmissable discussions.

Also returning is Insiders, taking place on Monday 4 March. Host David Speers and a panel of Australia’s sharpest minds will dissect the week in politics, along with live onstage interviews and Guardian Australia’s Mike Bowers’ Talking Pictures with one of the country’s finest cartoonists.

Young readers aged 2-12 can gather on Sunday 3 March for a packed program of picture book, graphic novel and epic middle grade series authors (including Jessica Townsend of the popular Nevermoor series) and YA Night will take place on Tuesday 5 March including sessions with bestselling fantasy author Lynette Noni and acclaimed Yuin writer Gary Lonesborough.

YA Night will also see thirty selected teen poets – ten each from Australia, the USA, and South Korea – compete for the title of International High School Poetry Champion in an International Poetry Exchange Program (IPEP) session titled Writing the Future. IPEP began in 2014 as a partnership between Bronx-based arts and social justice organisation DreamYard, the U.S. Department of State, and former U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy.

Other sessions for young people include the announcement of the Microstory Competition winner, supported by Hello SA, and Hear Me Roar!, Writers’ Week’s beloved slam poetry event.

With the support of Office for Ageing Well and Seniors Card, Writers’ Week will be livestreaming East Stage sessions from Monday 4 March to Thursday 7 March to schools, libraries, community centres and aged care communities around South Australia to ensure as many members of the community have access to the event as possible.

Adelaide Writers’ Week has been made possible by the generous support of Channel 9, The Advertiser and ECH and philanthropic support of The Literati and MUD Literary Club.

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