WRITERS WEEK 2019 PROGRAM LAUNCH: Getting Things off on the Write Foot
It’s that time of year again in Perth. The Fringe tents are going up. High-vis arts workers are constructing stages all over the city and artists, directors, producers, technical operators and performers from all over the world are converging on Perth, Whadjuk Noongar country.
Amidst this flurry of artistic mayhem, the upcoming Writers Week launched their program this past Thursday at the University of Western Australia. Part of the Perth Festival, Writers Week promises to bring a diverse, thought-provoking and passionate line-up of storytellers to the city. Curator Will Yeoman and the Perth Festival team have assembled a program with an exciting mix of local, interstate and international writers from novelists to journalists to poets and playwrights.
This year’s theme, ‘Our Imagined Selves’, delves into the interplay between reality and imagination; between dreaming up new worlds and changing the current one, as well as the relationship between fact and fiction and how each influences, changes and inspires the other.
Some of my most anticipated events this year include a presentation by the author of Stasiland, Anna Funder, exploring our world thirty years on from the collapse of the Berlin Wall. There’s also madison moore’s late-night ‘performance lecture with a difference’, Dance Mania: A Manifesto for Queer Nightlife. And finally, All of Me is Here, a panel discussion about adapting real life featuring Congolese-Australian playwright Future D Fidel, appearance activist Carly Findlay and Australian journalist-turned-novelist Trent Dalton.
But this is just scratching the surface. The program is brimming with a sense of theatricality and compelling artists creating work about the migrant experience. Nigerian novelist Esi Edugyan brings her Man-Booker shortlisted novel Washington Black. There’s an amazing event called Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Singaporean-based author, Balli Kaur Jaswal, and Nigerian novelist Ben Okri will be talking life, arts, politics and his new novel The Freedom Artist with Sisonke Msimang, Head Story Trainer of Perth’s own Centre for Stories.
There are also great local artists featured: writers and musicians, Bill Lawrie and Claire Moodie, celebrate the musical culture of Fremantle with their new book Freo Groove. Perth theatre director Jay Emmanuel leads a session to discuss a bold new collaboration on understanding displacement, while local poets, Maddie Godfrey, Julie Watts and Glen Phillips chat all things poetry.
I want to emphasise just how much happening all over Perth this Writers Week. Even if you don’t consider yourself a ‘reader’ or a bookish person, there are events covering a broad range of genres, forms and topics from climate change to comics; translated love songs to reclaiming queer narratives and Marcus Zusak to Jane Caro. There’s also plenty of events for families and children including a zine fair, workshops on comic book writing, reimagining mathematics and a special literary session curated entirely by kids aged 10-12. Such legends!
Writers Week takes place from 18-24 February and I urge you to check out the full program here.