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Scout’s Picks for the 2021 Melbourne Writers Festival

Learn how to write speculative fiction, hear from a famous chef and attend a glamorous gala.

How to Write Speculative Fiction

It wouldn’t be a writers festival without a hands-on workshop where you can pick up or perfect a skill. In this one, prize-winning Noongar author Claire G Coleman will talk you through the ins and outs of writing speculative fiction, sharing some of her own creative methods along the way. You’ll learn how the genre can be a powerful political tool and the ways in which it explores uncomfortable topics surrounding colonialism.

How to Write Speculative Fiction is on Saturday September 4 at The Wheeler Centre, 176 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne from 2.30pm to 5pm.

Uncomfortable Truths from Unceded Land

This uncomfortable, revealing and insightful panel discussion is what MWF is all about. Join Wiradjuri and Kamilaroi journalist Stan Grant, Torres Strait Islander author Thomas Mayor and prolific historian and author Henry Reynolds as they discuss the ways that First Nations ideas, histories and politics inform their work. Hosted by Professor Marcia Langton, this thought-provoking talk will highlight issues and experiences that many people struggle to comprehend.

Uncomfortable Truths from Unceded Land is on Saturday September 4 at The Athenaeum Theatre, 188 Collins Street, Melbourne from 6pm to 7pm.

MWF Gala

The Gala is always the centrepiece of MWF, and while it was put on hold in 2020, it’s back this year. Grab your best cocktail attire and settle in for a night of drinks and celebration of all things literature in the Ian Potter Queen’s Hall at State Library Victoria. There’ll be conversation with award–winning reporter Louise Milligan and a discussion between celebrated cultural historian Maria Tumarkin and editor and writer Leah Jing McIntosh; and good times in general.

The MWF Gala is on Tuesday September 7 at State Library Victoria, 328 Swanston Street, Melbourne from 7pm to 10pm.

Jock Zonfrillo: Last Shot

Masterchef judge Jock Zonfrillo shares his journey from addict to top Australian chef in this candid discussion with Benjamin Law. Zonfrillo will unpack some stories from his memoir Last Shot, share some advice for budding writers and chefs alike and open up about some of his struggles. A great night of storytelling and intimate discussion that any writer or foodie will enjoy.

Jock Zonfrillo: Last Shot is on Wednesday September 8 at The Athenaeum Theatre, 188 Collins Street, Melbourne from 6.30pm to 7.30pm.

I Will End You

Brodie Lancaster brings together a panel of writers and critics who each makes a case for getting rid of one piece of pop culture. Whether it’s a movie, book, song, or the latest TikTok trend, find out what Osman Faruqi, Declan Fry, Sinéad Stubbins and Jack Vening would rather see the end of. An upbeat panel discussion which also addresses issues around feeling out of touch, growing up too fast and struggling against your will to keep up with pop culture trends.

I Will End You is on Saturday September 11 at State Library Victoria, 328 Swanston Street, Melbourne from 6pm to 7pm.

Melbourne Writers Festival runs from September 3-12. You can view the full program here.

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