FWF Round-up: Thursday 21 July 2016


This week we’re excited about the launch of the Melbourne Writers Festival program, as we announce the details of our co-curated FWF public events, which will be held on Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 August. Three of these events are free, while FWF Networking Day ticket holders are eligible for a 10% discount on the remaining two events (discount codes will be emailed to ticketholders). If you don’t yet have a ticket to the Networking Day, grab it here.

Feminist Writers Festival public events at Melbourne Writers Festival

Muslim Feminism (free) – Sat 27 August, 1pm, Footscray Community Arts Centre
How are Muslim women fighting sexism and working for change? Shakira Hussein and Eliza Vitri Handayani explore the subject in their writing, while psychologist Monique Toohey helps patients access culturally appropriate services. In this session, they dissect the intersection of feminism and Muslim identity. Hosted by Catherine Balmer.

Winning Women (ticketed) – Saturday 27 August, 2.30pm, Fed Square
Baileys Prize winner Eimear McBride (A Girl is a Half-formed Thing) and 2016 Stella Prize winner Charlotte Wood (The Natural Way of Things) discuss their acclaimed novels, sources of inspiration, how gender informs their writing and the importance of literary prizes. Hosted by Aviva Tuffield.

Artistic Lives of Women (free) – Sunday 28 Aug, 11.30am, Fed Square
How is creativity in women nurtured – or rejected – in different cultures? Emily Bitto’s The Strays explores creative communities in Melbourne, while Rosalyn D’Mello is an award-winning writer based in India. They dissect cultural attitudes towards creativity and gender in this session. Hosted by Rita Wilson.

Feminism Then & Now (ticketed) – Sun 28 August, 1pm, Fed Square
How has feminism evolved over the last 40 years? What legacies have past trailblazers left on the current movement? Seasoned feminist activist and publisher Anne Summers and new generation voice Yassmin Abdel-Magied weigh in on feminism past, present and future.

Feminism Online (free) – Sunday 28 August, 5.30pm, Fed Square
How does the internet foster community and conversation for women? Is writing about your personal life a feminist act? Disability and queer rights activist Jax Jacki Brown and Daily Life columnist Giselle Au-Nhien Nguyen talk feminism online with Cristy Clark.

This week Feminartsy spoke to Fiona Wright, author of Small Acts of Disappearance, a book that explores mental illness through the lens of her personal experience. As she seeks to break down the shame and stigma that often surrounds eating disorders, Wright discusses the ways in which literature can offer ‘a spark of recognition’ that can dismantle barriers and help others understand that they’re not alone.

In an essay for Lit Hub, Natalie Kon-yu discusses how literary awards pretend “masculine writing and good writing are actually the same thing”. Kon-yu explains that she decided to stop reading any books written by men in 2001, after her discovery that the saturation of male-centric literature meant that she knew almost nothing about the lives of women. Sexism in literary prize culture shows us the voices we value in society, resulting in female writers, like Kon-yu, regarding their own voices as ‘marginal, ephemeral, vague’. A fascinating read for all writers – pass it on!

Congratulations to Karen McKnight, the winner of the inaugural Overland Writers Residency program. We can’t wait to see what this Melbourne-based writer and performer has in store, as McKnight will transform her writing schedule from every second weekend in her bedroom to a three-month residency, allowing her to get her collection of stories, The Polyester Dress, ready for publication. This residency, aimed at supporting marginalised writers, means we get to see what she’s been up to in her bedroom way sooner. So all we can say is, thanks Overland and hooray!

What I Really Really Want: Finding feminism through the Spice Girls – Rebecca Shaw writes about the feminist influence of the Spice Girls for Kill Your Darlings. Twenty years since the release of their iconic track ‘Wannabe’, she explores how they acted as a gateway to feminist thought and made her the feminist she is today.

At YWCA Victoria’s upcoming event Writing while female – subverting expectations, four creative women discuss why the variety of women’s writing is as diverse as the female experience itself. Featuring host/journalist/novelist Jenny Valentish, solo artist and founder of Magic Dirt, Adalita, legendary American novelist, performance artist and musician, Lisa Carver and screenwriter, journo and playwright, Michelle Law from Brisbane. Friday 29 July, Melbourne.

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