The third annual Feminist Writers Festival will be held in Victoria this year from the 25th to the 27th of May. Last year workshops were held all around Australia. However, this year writers from all around the country are coming to Melbourne and Geelong to take part.
The event was first established in 2016 by Cristy Clark to support and promote feminist writers in Australia. The festival “builds on existing themes and voices around feminism and women’s writing by offering a space for critical engagement and practical support for all feminist writers and readers.”
The #MeToo and Time’s Up campaigns have accelerated activism in feminism by broadening the conversation around sexual harassment, especially in work places. The Feminist Writers Festival is an extension of these movements, aiming to give a voice to female writers and discuss gender and identity.
Feminist writing has evolved into many diverse forms and genres since its inception and now includes authors who are both mainstream as well as radical – from Virginia Woolf to Margaret Atwood and Sylvia Plath. Modern women are evolving through their writing and the Feminist Writers Festival is a platform for young female writers to grow.
Cristy Clark, founder of the Feminist Writers Festival, spoke to DScribe about the creation of this event and what to expect this year.
She said, “the initial prompt to start the organisation came at the beginning of 2015. I had a moment of thinking that there are so many feminist writers and bloggers scattered around Australia who meet through Twitter and Facebook, however, there was little opportunity for those people to come together. I thought it would be lovely and inspiring to broaden those communities.”
“The theme of the 2018 program is Rewriting the Story, focusing on structural change and how cultural narratives can link between writing and literature, to make a difference on the ground. Some of the specific cases are violence against women, activism and advocacy.”
“We have a workshop on activism and a panel on mentoring and how women can progress their career in the creative arts. The workshops aim to change the cultural narratives and link between personal and political. Non fiction writing is taken less seriously and this is why it is important” said Clark.
Amy Gray is a Melbourne-based writer leading a workshop called “Finding and Sustaining a Feminist Voice.” Gray said “I would love for people to walk away with the confidence in their own voice and to know they have an amazing community of writers who can help and celebrate them. I’ll also help give a complete rundown on how to start your writing career, develop contacts, pitch, frame out stories and work with others. I want women to know they can develop a solid feminist writing career that is meaningful to them AND their readers.”
“Feminism means everything to me. It’s our roadmap to personal and social liberation. It’s a full-cycle philosophy and activism that encompasses the external with academic and activist work to the internal. The more we learn, reflect and act, the more access people have to liberation.”
Founder of the event, Cristy Clark, further explained her dreams for the festival. “I hope people get inspiration when they leave the event and connect with the power of words and writing and community activism to make real change. There is real power in individually written work but as a community, we can make an even bigger difference.”
Tickets and the full Victorian program are available now at feministwritersfestival.com.