Continuing the season of literary festivals, the Melbourne Writers’ Festival 2012 opens this week, on Thursday 23 August, with British actor, writer and director Simon Callow‘s keynote speech ‘Charles Dickens and the Great Theatre of the World’. And ends on Sunday 2 September with Australian writer Robert Dessaix talking about ‘The Time of Our Lives’. And between them, Germaine Greer will be giving the Queen Victoria Women’s Centre Keynote Address ‘Speaking Australian’ on Thursday 30 August.
The MWF also runs an excellent blog, starring writer and Overland blogger Stephanie Honor Convery, Literary Minded writer and blogger Angela Meyer, and writer Mark Welker, who are already posting regular updates with festival news.
I’ll be at the festival on 1-2 September, talking about money and Australian classics. I’m very excited about both panels. The first is ‘$ makes the world go round‘ at 1pm on Saturday 1 September. I’ll be talking with American writer John de Graaf (What’s the Economy For, Anyway?) and Australian economist and writer John Quiggin (Zombie Economics) about ‘Is capitalism the worst system, except for all the others?’ and whether money can lose its status as the ultimate enabler. Sounds like fun.
My second panel is ‘The Real Australian Classics‘ – a very provocative title – at 4pm on Sunday 2 September. I’ll be talking with publisher Michael Heyward, journalist and writer Ramona Koval, and poet and critic David McCooey in a session chaired by the Wheeler Centre’s literary man about town Michael Williams. It promises to be a sparky discussion and I’m really looking forward to it.
As you’ll see from the MWF website if you follow the links, there’s an amazing number and range of writers talking at the festival this year, from Australia and overseas. I’m planning to blog about the Australian classics panel for my very late August Overland red herring blog post – to coincide with the Spring edition of Overland, my last as fiction editor – so stay tuned.
The reason I’m so behind with my August blog for Overland is – too much WORK. I’m heading to the UK in September for a literary conference – ‘Composting Culture: Literature, Nature, Popular Culture, Science’ – at the University of Worcester from 5 to 7 September, where I’ll be giving a paper on Kim Scott’s EXTRAORDINARY novel Benang: From the heart and the work of green economist and politician Molly Scott Cato.
And then I’ll be in London launching the UK edition of Double Entry, which is looking very pretty with the London skyline on its cover.