Melbourne Writers Festival: Free programs you can attend

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Melbourne Writers Festival. Image source: MWF2018

The Melbourne Writers Festival is back! This year’s edition, which runs for ten days from August 24 to September 2, will go with the theme of “A Matter of Life and Death”. It is a celebration of writing, art, music, theatre and performance.

The lineup is anything but dull. With talks and workshops from former child actress Mara Wilson, Canadian humourist Jonny Sun, American-Russian journalist Masha Gessen, Australian journalist Benjamin Law and more, you’re bound to have an interesting time.

Melbourne Writers Festival. Image source: MWF2018

It’s a festival for writers, but you don’t have to be a writer to attend. It is also a celebration of literature, and what better way to honour it than to turn it into performances. ‘Dying: A Tribute to Cory Taylor’, ‘Staged: The Lebs’, ‘Staged: Death of a Playwright’, and ‘Duets: Mojo Juju & Joel Ma’ are just some notable ones that you should definitely attend.

But if you’re like us – on a budget – you might find it difficult to go for all the programs that you want to. Fortunately, there are loads of free programs you could go for, courtesy of MWF2018. Even if you do not want to spend a dime, there will be something for you.

Here are some of our recommendations:

1. Assisted Dying: What’s Next? 

Malowney Tricia. Source: MWF2018

When: 10am, Saturday August 25

Where: ACMI The Cube

Who: Master of Bioethics holder Courtney Hempton, disability rights activist Tricia Malowney, palliative care researcher Margaret O’Connor, and vice president of Dying with Dignity Victoria Rodney Syme.

What: Victoria has become the first state to legalise voluntary assisted dying, but what does this signify? This one hour discussion will see professionals from various areas come together to talk about the right to end our own lives.

2. Vale: A Writer

Alice Pung. Source: MWF2018

When: 2:30pm, Saturday September 1

Where: Mission to Seafarers Main Bar

Who: Human Rights Advocate Sukhjit Kaur Khalsa, writer Alice Pung, journalist Andrew P Street and political commentator Jamila Rizvi. Hosted by writer Michael Williams.

What: With the myriad of published authors, it becomes difficult to be aware of them all – even more if they are departed. But it doesn’t have to stay that way. In this one hour talk, the aforementioned authors will personally deliver written eulogies for their favourite late writers.

3. Me & Melbourne

Me & Melbourne. Image source: MWF2018

When: 5:30pm, Saturday September 1

Where: ACMI The Cube

Who: Winners of 2018 ‘Me & Melbourne’ competition.

What: International students were encouraged to submit their pieces, reflecting their time in Melbourne and why it feels like home. Jointly organised by Study Melbourne and Melbourne Writers Festival, the Saturday program will see the announcement of the winners. Voting has ended – but entries can be found here.

4. Manga Workshop

Kenny Chan. Image source: MWF2018

When: 1pm, Sunday September 2

Where: Signal

Who: Manga artist Kenny Chan.

What: Want to improve your manga drawing skills? Then this is for you. In this two hour workshop, participants will learn how to draw manga-style faces and convey emotions through character expressions.

5. Jonny Sun: Art Workshop

Jonny Sun. Image source: MWF2018

When: 4:30pm, Sunday August 26

Where: Mission to Seafarers Main Bar

Who: Canadian humourist and illustrator Jonny Sun.

What: Known for his rambling writing style and absurd tweets, Jonny (known as jomny sun on Twitter) is the author of ‘everyone’s a aliebn when ur a aliebn too‘. This one hour session will bring you into the mind of Jonny, teaching you how to “find your inner alien” and unleash your hidden talent.

6. How To Be A Better Ally

Dani Weber. Image source: MWF2018

When: 10am, Friday August 31

Where: ACMI The Cube

Who: Non-binary dragtivist Dani Weber.

What: Not being part of a community doesn’t mean you get a free pass to watch them struggle. The LGBTIQ community needs their allies – and that can be you. The one hour workshop will teach you how to be a better listener, learner and supporter.

7. Ideas Hospital: Why Lyrics Matter

Eddie Ayres. Image source: MWF2018

When: 11:30am, Sunday September 2

Where: ACMI The Cube

Who: Musician and former radio presenter Eddie Ayres, Australasia’s first LGBTQI+ youth chorus, shOUT Choir

What: Why is music such an important part of life? How do lyrics help us when we’re struggling? Eddie Ayres will discuss this issue by bringing forward songs that have helped him during times of hardship. He will be joined by members of shOUT Choir, who will perform a medley of singalong survival songs.

8. Let’s Get Physical

Dance Magic Dance. Image source: MWF2018

When: 6:30pm, Sunday August 25

Where: Mission to Seafarers Main Bar

Who: The Boon Dancers

What: It’s time to get physical. The Boon Dancers have prepared this special free treat to all festival goers, guaranteed to get your blood pumping. The dance class will be set against a book-inspired soundtrack, as you move through words and shape-shift through pages.

For more information on Melbourne Writers Festival 2018, visit their website and Facebook page.

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