FWF Round-up: September 2016

Lian Low in the Spoken Word session

Lian Low in the Spoken Word session at our Networking Day

Recommended Reading

Fiction and identity politics: Lionel Shriver and ‘that’ speechStephanie Convery dissects the Brisbane Writers’ Festival’s keynote address given by Lionel Shriver. Exploring the history of cultural appropriation in literature and beyond, Convery provides some great insights from various authors of colour and marginalised cultural backgrounds.

What happened in Brisbane – in New Republic, Suki Kim writes about attending Shriver’s address in person and, later, sitting on the impromptu ‘right of reply’ panel designed to discuss reactions, such as the viral essay written by Yassmin Abdel-Magied, to Shriver’s speech.

FWF Round Up: Friday 9 September 2016


Thank you for being an integral part of the inaugural Feminist Writers Festival. As you know, we held our Networking Day on Friday 26 August, followed by two days of public programming held in partnership with Melbourne Writers Festival.

The festival was a huge success. Tickets to our Networking Day sold out over a month in advance of the festival, and all five of the public MWF sessions were at capacity.

It was heartening to see that our audience drew from such a diverse range of backgrounds, including an impressive age spread ranging from high school students to women in their seventies. The intergenerational conversations that took place were a very special feature of the Networking Day, and were also reflected in the hugely popular public MWF session, Feminism Then & Now with Anne Summers, Yassmin Abdel-Magied and Sophie Cunningham.

We have been busy updating our website with photos from the Networking Day and with links to the podcasts of many of the sessions, kindly recorded by JOY 94.9’s Broad. You can also find media coverage of the festival collected on our website for easy reading.

We hope you’ll keep in touch. We look forward to sharing what’s next for FWF.

Recommended Reading

Upcoming Events

  • Contemporary Australian Feminist Poetry will launch next week at Collected Works Bookshop, with readings from some of the anthology’s contributors. 6pm, Thursday 15 September, Melbourne.
  • Spinifex Press celebrates 25 years of feminist publishing today with a two-day event, That’s Radical Feminism, at the Lithuanian Club, North Melbourne.
  • Sisters in Crime will hold its 25th Anniversary Convention – SheKilda 3: A one-day crime spree. 19 November, St Kilda Town Hall.
  • The Victoria Women’s Trust’s Breakthrough is a gender equality event featuring 100 speakers, ‘bringing big ideas, leading thinkers and passionate change-makers to the fore.’ 25–26 November, Melbourne.
  • The World Without Birds: A musical fable by Christine Croyden play 26 October–6 November at La Mama Courthouse.

FWF Round-up: Friday 19 August 2016

Nayuka Gorrie

Nayuka Gorrie, one to watch at FWF.

‘We wanted to be really clear that we actually don’t have any interest in “Feminism 101”, that we didn’t want to squander this fairly finite amount of time and opportunity by going over the basics and to be introducing the really foundational concepts’. Brooke Boland at ArtsHub chatted with FWF Chair Cristy Clark, profiling ‘five to watch’ from the FWF program.

The goal of FWF is to be ‘intersectional and interrogative’, and its organisers hope to create a unique space for a diverse group of feminist writers. In Kill Your Darlings, Stefanie Italia chatted with the team about the genesis of the festival, and its place in the feminist writing community.

FWF Round-up: Friday 12 August 2016

Still from 'Certain Women'

Still from Kelly Reichardt’s ‘Certain Women’. Image via Kill Your Darlings

‘Most Australians are still living in a cocoon of historical ignorance.’ FWF artist Liz Conor speaks to Feminartsy about activism, colonial narratives of Indigenous Australian women, and why she’s looking forward to the chance to ‘listen up’ to other feminist voices at our networking day.

In The Lifted Brow, Candy Bowers ponders the state of racial diversity on Australian screens with a personal reflection on her love of TV, and the lack of people of colour she had to connect with on screen while growing up. Things really became troubled after Bill Cosby was ousted for drugging and raping women on set, and Bowers was left bereft of her favourite TV dad, and still asking questions about where all the brown people are in 2016.

FWF Round-up: Friday 5 August 2016

Betty Musgrove 'Pattern and the Personal'

Betty Musgrove, ‘Pattern and the Personal’, 2016. Image via Footscray Community Arts Centre

‘Taking the songs from the vault of their minds to an archive radically changes tradition. Yet they recognise it is crucial to do so, as the knowledge may well be lost if they don’t. These women are our professors, and there are very few Arrernte women who still hold this knowledge.’ Rachel Perkins reports on The Arrernte Women’s Project, based just outside Alice Springs, where Arrernte women are working to preserve vital songs and culture that might otherwise disappear from living memory.

FWF Round-up: Friday 29 July 2016

Magnolia Maymuru

Magnolia Maymuru. Photo: Sam Tabone/WireImage

We are delighted to announce some late additions to our Networking Day program. Penni Russon will join Merlinda Bobis and Emma Ashmere for our session on Feminism Through Fiction, and Louise Taylor will now chair our session on Writing Politics, Writing Feminism, with Evelyn Araluen, Jenna Price and Clementine Ford. We regret to announce that Anna Spargo-Ryan will be unable to join us this year.

We have updated our website to better recognise our supporters. You will now find a list of our wonderful Friends of the Festival, and separate acknowledgements of our Partners, Sponsors and Volunteers.

Tickets to our Networking Day on 26 August are almost sold out. If you or someone you know are hoping to attend then please get in quick!

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.

FWF Round-up: Friday 15 July 2016

Lucy Treloar and Fiona Wright

Lucy Treloar and Fiona Wright. Photo: Edwina Pickles (Sydney Morning Herald)

We’d like to extend a huge congratulations to Fiona Wright for winning the Kibble Award for her brilliant book Small Acts of Disappearance. Fiona will appear at FWF’s session ‘The politics of personal writing’, along with Maria Tumarkin and Stephanie Convery. Congratulations also to Lucy Treloar, whose novel Salt Creek was awarded the Dobbie Prize for a debut author.

This week, Feminartsy spoke to Amy Middleton, founding editor of Archer magazine, about what it’s like running a publication with a unique focus on sexuality, gender and identity. Amy will appear at FWF’s session ‘Queer, transgender & feminist writing’, along with Alison Evans and Alyena Mohummadally.

FWF Round-up: Friday 8 July 2016


Newly-elected Indigenous MP Linda Burney

‘While there is plenty of media coverage of feminists’ work today, there is something to be said about these books being an integral part of literature festivals. Sadly, it has traditionally been hard to find many feminist-specific festivals dedicated to delving into feminist literature, which is why one Australian festival has decided it is high time to change this.’ In this terrific article, UK site GirlTalkHQ takes a close look at the FWF and the conditions that led to its creation.

FWF Steering Committee member Veronica Sullivan spoke to Triple R’s Multi-Storied program this week about the festival, including her top events to watch out for. Listen to the interview here.

FWF Round-up: Friday 1 July 2016


Ursula Yovich. Image credit: Laura Murphy-Oats

When award-winning performer Ursula Yovich found herself back in her estranged mother’s hometown in Arnhem Land, in charge of the complex arrangements for her mother’s traditional funeral ceremony, the distance that had come between them over the years weighed heavily. In this article for the NITV news, Yovich describes how her own unfamiliarity with the rituals that form such an important aspect of Indigenous culture became the starting point for her play concept, which has won the Balnaves Foundation Indigenous Playwright’s Award.

The play will adapt her personal journey for the stage, exploring the ways that her identity as both Aboriginal and Serbian has shaped her, and how traditions and ceremonies form an important part of her cultural heritage.