Top picks Canberra Writers Festival, 2019

July 25, 2019 / By Claire Atteia

Speakers at the Good Life Speakers at the Good Life

Are you a writers festival enthusiast? Yes? Me too. Love them. I challenge you to think of a better way to spend a wintery weekend in Canberra, and it seems I’m not alone. The Canberra Writers Festival has been embraced by locals year after year, looking to celebrate all things literature at a range of iconic institutions across the national capital. 

When the program launched just last week, I was delighted. The speaker line-up is exceptional, from top-class journalists, political commentators and big names from across the globe – and they’ll be gathered to discuss the themes of Power, Politics & Passion. 

If you love books, writing and authors, or hearing expert interviews and conversations with writers talking about their work, the Canberra Writers Festival, running from the 21st to the 25th of August this year, is for you. Come along, celebrate creativity and join in the conversation. Here's a glimpse at the exciting line-up:

Down and Dirty in the Garden with a Legend - Stephanie Alexander in conversation with Malcolm Farr
What a way to kick off this year's festival! Join top foodie and best-selling author Stephanie Alexander and journalist Malcolm Farr for a fun-filled night that will tempt your taste buds and explore our love of good food. 
When: Wednesday 21,  7.00PM – 10.00PM

Fragile Inheritance - Peter Valentine in conversation with Bob Brown
Did you know that Australia has 19 World Heritage sites? Come along and hear author Peter Valentine discuss the exceptional contribution these Australian sites make to humanity’s legacy and how to preserve them for future generations, when he talks with Bob Brown, one of Australia’s most celebrated environmentalists.
When: Friday 23, 5.00PM – 6.00PM

Canberra Writers Festival (image credit: Michael Masters) Canberra Writers Festival (image credit: Michael Masters)

Good Kenny / Bad Kenny - Mark Kenny, Chris Kenny moderated by Alice Workman
Watch these Kenny’s go toe to toe over footy, politics, the Canberra ‘bubble’ and other such weighty matters, in a battle full of wit and brawn which is bound to be quite entertaining (from the sidelines!). 
When: Saturday 24, 9.30AM – 10.30AM

Capital Culture - Paul Daley, Andrew Leigh MP, Marion Halligan, Tracey Hawkins, Marg Wade, Nichole Overall moderated by Irma Gold
For an ode to the national capital, hear some of Canberra’s finest and most creative writers tell stories of politics and power, and also of humour and irreverence, ghosts and mayhem, and learn what makes Canberra such a fascinating city.
When: Saturday 24, 9.30AM – 10.30AM

Balancing Act - Hugh White in conversation with Allan Behm
Hear Professor Hugh White, one of the country's most provocative and realistic commentators on defence, consider ‘Can Australia defend itself in the Asian century’. Hugh will be in conversation with Allan Behm, a specialist in political and sovereign risk, strategy and security. It’s bound to be a fascinating discussion of a potentially radically reconceived defence of Australia.
When: Saturday 24, 9.30AM – 10.30AM

Dirty John (Tom, Dick & Harry) - Stephanie Wood in conversation with Caroline Baum
Have you listened to the podcast, 'Dirty John'? I suspect that’s where they got the title for this event, and this seems a similar tale. Woman meets charming man online and embarks on a whirlwind romance, but when she ends the relationship, she discovers a much larger story of duplicity and manipulation. Listen to Stephanie’s story and that of other women. As the event blurb says, this is a story for our times and all women.
When: Saturday 24, 11.30AM – 12.30PM

For Whom the Pell Tolls - David Marr, Louise Milligan moderated by Chris Uhlmann
No one can deny that the Catholic Church in Australia is in crisis. The public was mesmerised and shocked when Cardinal George Pell, Australia’s most senior Church leader, was sentenced. Join David Marr and Louise Milligan in conversation and assess the impact of the recent appeal, and where to now for the Catholic Church. 
When: Saturday 24, 1.30PM – 2.30PM

Charlotte Wood Charlotte Wood

Simon Winchester in Conversation with Richard Fidler
He’s said to be the ultimate dinner party guest – the distinguished and charming Simon Winchester OBE who just happens to be a best-selling author and global traveller. And we all know Richard Fidler, ABC’s leading conversationalist with that wonderful voice. They’ll be chatting about a lifetime of exploration of the big ideas and forces that have transformed society and the world.
When: Saturday 24, 1.30PM – 2.30PM

Nerd Out - Eddie Woo, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, Lee Constable moderated by Robyn Williams
Join two of the universe’s (yes, big bold claim!) most incredible science and maths brains, Dr Karl and Eddie Woo, as they go head-to-head with guest TV host and science communicator, Lee Constable. They'll answer curly questions thrown their way from host Robyn Williams and the audience. 
When: Saturday 24, 3.30PM – 4.30PM

See Change - William McInnes in conversation with Jane O’Dwyer
We all know his name, but did you know that William McInnes has just written a book on Fatherhood? It’s a nostalgic journey that harks back to a style of fatherhood from a bygone era. His book is about family and the memories he’s creating with his own children, and what he remembers of his father. You might want to bring the tissues!
When: Sunday 25, 1.30PM – 2.30PM

Why Speeches Matter - Lucinda Holdforth in conversation with Charlotte Wood
The right words can be transformative, they can stir the heart or reimagine the world. Hear Lucinda, author of Leading Lines, in conversation with acclaimed Australian author Charlotte Wood, as they explain if you want to be heard, it’s not enough merely to have something to say, you must know how to say it. 
When: Sunday 25, 3.30PM – 4.30PM

The Good Life- Julienne van Loon, Jane Caro, Sasha Marianna Salzmann moderated by Virginia Haussegger
Do you have a good life? Come listen to this lively panel contemplate life through the themes of love and friendship, work and play, fear and wonder. It’ll be a thoughtful discussion and will perhaps transform your own view of what it means to live a good life.
When: Sunday 25, 5.30PM – 6.30PM

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