We are disappointed to announce that we are making the incredibly sad but necessary decision to close Feminist Writers Festival (FWF). Having made it through ‘COVID year’ and delivering a virtual festival in 2020, this feels particularly tragic. But the resourcing required to push through an (ongoing) precarious situation is too much.
Since 2016, FWF has hosted over 163 speakers at 56 events in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Geelong, Lismore, Melbourne and Sydney, provided freely available podcasts of many of these events and created a stand alone podcasting stream, FWFtalks, available to all. We have published original work by/about over 70 feminist writers/thinkers covering varied ground within the feminist cause and tackling contemporary events from a feminist standpoint.
We know that having FWF as part of the literary and feminist landscape has been a positive contribution to the culture. But with decreasing arts funding, and increasingly, the allocation of money going to fewer, larger organisations, we see little consideration of the important role that smaller organisations play in bringing diversity and richness to a cultural field. It is hard to watch this happening from inside a beleaguered industry, on all fronts, and we stand in solidarity with overworked arts orgs everywhere.
While we have always paid our speakers and writers, we have primarily been a volunteer-run organisation. There’s only so far the hours of already overworked women can stretch and we cannot in good faith perpetuate the unpaid labour of women and nonbinary arts administrators in this arena.
We wish to thank the FWF community: our event-goers, readers, and especially the feminist speakers, writers, and thinkers who have particpated in our events and publishing and have informed, raged and celebrated feminist culture. We would like to especially recognise the volunteers – from ushers, to comms mavens, to board members – who have kept FWF going. Thanks also to our longtime partners Queen Victoria Women’s Centre and Listen Up podcasting, as well as the many publishers we have worked with, and countless other feminist and arts organisations who have partnered with us, or amplified our messages. To past funders Women Victoria, Creative Victoria, Besen Family Foundation, thank you. To the many individual donors, we see you and thank you, and the angels who gave during the debacle that was 2020: you kept us paying writers.
It is a monumental time for the feminist movement and while we are sad to not be playing an ongoing part in that, we are buoyed by the number of incredible feminist organistations working on the big issues of the moment. We will be wholeheartedly cheering them on and supporting as we can.