Yarra Valley Writers Festival: May 2020

Published 5 February 2020, updated 14 April 2020

Renowned Australian authors will come together on Saturday 9 May for the inaugural Yarra Valley Writers Festival special online event.

Presenting from a variety of locations, the virtual format will see the country’s favourite writers discuss topics from the environment, their family, creating characters and of course, their newly released books, hosted by Festival Ambassador Michael Veitch.

Scientist and academic Professor David Lindenmeyer will start the day-long event with a special presentation on Saving the Environment, which will be followed by a talk on Fire & Climate with Tony Birch, Alice Bishop and Tom Griffiths.

With 50 years of writing behind him, playwright David Williamson will talk about his time in (and behind) the spotlight of some of his most iconic works. Stella Prize-winner Charlotte Wood will grace the (online) stage discussing The Weekend along with writing techniques, and following the successful release of Mammoth, author Chris Flynn will form part of a discussion on Writing About the Natural World alongside Vicki Hastrich and Lia Hills.

Songstress and writer Clare Bowditch will complete the day with a short performance and a cuppa as she takes fans through her memoir, Your Own Kind of Girl.

The Yarra Valley Writers Festival will continue throughout May, June and July with Sunday Writerly Sessions (Sundays throughout May at 3pm) and monthly Book Clubs (last Wednesday of the month in May, June and July) featuring top Australian authors.

Other writers featured throughout the online festival events include Meg Mundell (The Trespassers), Jock Serong (Preservation), Donna Ward (She I Dare Not Name), Eliza Henry-Jones (How To Grow A Family Tree), Robert Gott, Emma Vistik, Angela Savage (Mother of Pearl), Alice Pung, Rick Morton, Richard Glover, Karen Viggers {The Orchardist’s Daughter}, Alice Robinson, Christos Tsiolkas (Damascus).

Programmed by playwright Hannie Rayson (Hotel Sorento, Inheritance) the Festival presents contemporary authors but in a new, digital format. ‘This is a unique opportunity to be part of the most intimate encounter with the writers we love. We’ll be inviting them into our own homes. And asking them to share their most personal insights, anxieties and hopes at a time when, more than ever, the world needs compassion and imagination,’ said Hannie.

Tickets to the Yarra Valley Writers Festival online event start at $15 and can be purchased in advance from yarravalleywritersfestival.com.au. Ticket holders can participate in the entire day-long Festival to hear their favourite writers speak.


Festival welcome from the Yarra Valley with Michael Veitch, Festival Ambassador

10:00 Saving the Environment: It’s Not Fire & Brimstone, it’s Science | David Lindenmeyer

10:35 Fire & Climate | Tony Birch, Alice Bishop, Tom Griffiths & Michael Cathcart

11:45 Writing About The Natural World | Chris Flynn, Vicki Hastrich, Lia Hills & Robert Gott

12:40 Place in the New World Order | Alice Robinson, Meg Mundell, Karen Viggers & Elizabeth McCarthy

13:50 A Writers Lot: 50 Years, but who’s counting? | David Williamson & Hannie Rayson

14:45 How Weird Does Your Family Have to Be? | Alice Pung, Rick Morton, Richard Glover & Michael

Mackenzie (ABC)

15:45 Road to Damascus | Christos Tsiolkas & Angela Savage

16:45 If I Tell You I’m Going to Have to Kill You | Robert Gott, Emma Viscik, Angela Savage & Jock Serong

17:45 The Weekend | Charlotte Wood & Amanda Smith (ABC)

18:45 Your Own Kind of Girl | Clare Bowditch & Eliza Henry-Jones

Sunday Writerly Sessions in May

One hour online meaty and satisfying discussions with various authors, perfect with a cuppa or a glass of wine taking place from your home at 3pm every Sunday in May.

Sun 3 May Grief and Other Memories | Indigo Perry (Darkfall), Eliza Henry-Jones, Julia Baird (Phosphorescence) & Kerrie O’Brien (The Age)

Sun 10 May Getting On: The Griffith Review | Donna Ward, Charlotte Wood, Ailsa Piper & Ashley Hay

Sun 17 May The Politics of Our Words | Guy Rundle (Crikey, Meanjin), Rick Morton (The Saturday Paper), Kerry O’Brien

Sun 24 May Why Short Stories Have Big Impact | Sean O’Beirne (A Couple of Things Before the End), Josephine Rowe (Here Until August), Alice Bishop (A Constant Hum) & Alice Cottrell (Kill Your Darlings)

Sun 31 May Charcoal Sketches | Sean Dooley & Michael Veitch

Yarra Valley Writers Festival Book Club

An interactive and engaging monthly book club, taking place at 6pm on the last Wednesday of the month,hosted by YVWF Director Brook Powell and Ambassador Michael Veitch and joined by a variety of authors each session.

Wed 27 May Tony Birch – The White Girl

Wed 24 Jun Chris Flynn - Mammoth

Wed 29 Jul Angela Savage – Mother of Pearl


Festival Programmer: Hannie Rayson | Festival Ambassador: Michael Veitch | Festival Bookseller: Verso Books

Proudly Supported by Yarra Ranges Tourism & RACV Country Club.

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