Canberra Writer's Festival 2018 - Culture From the Can

January 3, 2019 / By Megan

In its third year, the Canberra Writers Festival (23-26 August 2018) brings together the heaviest hitters from politics, literature, journalism, academia and comedy. The four-day festival packs in over 90 events, including discussions, workshops and book launches. 

This year's theme ‘Power, Politics and Passion’ sets a tone for the festival of big ideas and bigger egos. Matthew Reilly, John Howard, Maggie Beer and Barnaby Joyce are just some of the colourful identities featured throughout the festival. 

Writers Festivals, once the home of the literary buff and the librarian, have blossomed across Australia, attracting big names, diverse events and broad audiences. The Canberra Writers Festival is no exception, and is quickly becoming mainstay in the popular capital’s annual calendar of events. Here is a preview of some of the events not to be missed at this year's festival. 

ONE ON ONE with Matthew Reilly In Conversation with Emma Alberici 

Sunday 26 August 1.00PM – 2.00PM, $35 

If you're one of the few people who haven't heard of him, Matthew Reilly is a New York Times and #1 international bestselling author who has sold over 7.5 million copies of his novels worldwide. His books are published in more than 20 languages in 20 countries. This visit is exclusive to the Canberra Writers Festival, with Matthew flying in and out of the country for only One on One in Canberra. 

THE POWER, PASSION & POLITICS OF FOOD with Maggie Beer In Conversation with Malcolm Farr 

Thursday 23 August 6.30PM – 9.30PM, $135 

Enjoy an evening and meal designed by one of Australia’s true food legends, Maggie Beer, who created an iconic brand from her farm in the Barossa Valley. Tantalising our taste buds for more than 20 years, Maggie is a pioneer in the promotion and use of regional food and wine. Hear her talk about her “overnight success” and how she keeps on giving in a scintillating evening of good food and conversation with Malcolm Farr of and Insiders. 

ON QUIET with Nikki Gemmell In Conversation with Mark Kenny 

Sunday 26 August 1.00PM – 2.00PM, $25 

In a world gone noisily mad on digital overdrive and non-stop chatter, Nikki Gemmell writes beautifully and evocatively of her quest for a quiet space. On Quiet is a yearning for an earlier time, the pre-digital experience, of long days with little to do and of quieter times and what that brews. The latest in the On series released by Melbourne University Press. 

AN EVENING WITH FIRST NATIONS AUSTRALIA WRITERS with Ellen van Neerven, Yvette Holt, Jeanine Leane & Charmaine Papertalk Green, Kim Scott, Melissa Lucashenko, Alexis Wright and moderated by Cathy Craigie 

Saturday 25 August 6.00PM – 8.00PM, $25 

In 2018 in Australia the issues facing First Nations Peoples and their communities are grounded in the denial of their sovereign rights and the refusal to negotiate and agree a Treaty settlement. First Nations authors and poets explore this topic in readings and a panel discussion. 

THE ART OF PERSUASION with John Howard OM ACIn Conversation with David Speers

Sunday 26 August  4.00PM – 5.00PM, $25 

John Winston Howard, Australia's second longest serving Prime Minister, shares with us his ability to tap into the mood of the nation and communicate clearly in order to have effect. Do not miss this former Prime Minister open up on The Art of Persuasion and the critical role of speech making to wield political power for effect. 

GOD IS GOOD FOR YOU with Greg SheridanIn Conversation with Paul Bongiorno AO

Saturday 25 August 4.00PM – 5.00PM, $25 

Veteran journalist for The Australian Greg Sheridan defends Christianity against the claim that the church has lost its moral authority. 

Suitably set in some of Australia’s most stunning buildings, the festival brings in audiences from Canberra and beyond. Whether you’re a political junkie, a fiction fanatic or just like seeing smart people discuss challenging ideas, the Canberra Writer’s Festival is as much a celebration of Australian culture as it is of great literature and writing. 

Program and tickets are available online at

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