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5 Feb - 1 March 2010


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Saturday Sessions, 27 February

Places are limited – book early to avoid disappointment


The University Club Theatre

Dolphin Theatre

Festival Tent

Octagon Theatre


$12.50, Friends $11.30, Students $9.55  FREE FREE $12.50, Friends $11.30, Students $9.55 FREE

Writing Away from Home

Marele Day's latest novel illuminates the beauty of Japan's abalone divers; Linda Jaivin conjures the heady 'floating world' of westerners in China and Japan; while Robyn Mundy examines the nature of ice in Antarctica. They look at how the exotic fires the imagination.
Chair: Bruce Russell

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Wide Open Space

Michael Cathcart, Amanda Lohrey and Robert Gray look at the centrality of the landscape in Australia’s creative imagination with participating.
Chair: Mark Tredinnick

Art for Art's Sake?

Does the age old argument that a writer has a responsibility to engage with the political events of the day still hold true? Is it even more relevant today? Kalinda Ashton, Larissa Behrendt and Emily Maguire consider the intersection of art and politics in their writing.
Chair: Philip Mead

An Hour with Salley Vickers

Moving between the late 1960s and today, Salley Vickers' charming new novel is written with her renowned lightness of touch and psychological insight. It is a bittersweet reminder of the shadow lost opportunities can cast over a life. Fans will recognise many themes that run through all her works.
Chair: Liz Byrski

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From the Vault

Anthony Buckley and Michael Goldfarb have written two engrossing cultural histories that explore fascinating periods of change in Australia and Europe. They give us an insight into the journey they travelled in writing and researching their books.


Off the Beaten Path

William Dalrymple has spent 25 years exploring and writing about India; Nicolas Rothwell finds inspiration in Australia's mesmerising north; and Stephen Scourfield has travelled the globe writing about the connections between people and place. They share readings of their latest writing.
Chair: Antonio Casella

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Genre is not a Dirty Word

Crime, thrillers, mystery ... It's all fiction isn't it? Michael Koryta, Sara Foster and Marianne Delacourt explore what it means to be a genre writer.
Chair: Grant Stone

The Magic of Storytelling

Superb writers for children Angie Sage, Mark Walden and Kirsty Murray take us inside their imaginations as they share the stories that make young readers wild with excitement.
Chair: Julia Lawrinson

Political Lives

Love them or hate them, everyone has an opinion on John Howard and Paul Keating; but where does Kevin Rudd fit into this political picture? Robert Macklin and Paul Kelly give the inside scoop on three intriguing political figures.
Chair: David Cohen

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In Conversation

The new novels of Morris Gleitzman and Kate De Goldi feature two of the most endearing characters in recent young adult fiction. They write with a sparkling wit and humour that is universal for all age groups. Don't miss this special session for adults that will bring out the big kid in us all.
Chair: Meri Fatin


Exile and Emancipation

Biographer Evelyn Juers has written an extraordinary biography of Heinrich Mann and Nelly Kroeger's exile to the US. Michael Goldfarb has investigated how the liberation of Europe's Jews impacted Western society. They examine the interplay of exile and emancipation with creativity and intellectual life.

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River Road Press Book Launch

Join poets Fay Zwicky and Caroline Caddy and explore their new audio collections, The Witnesses and The Tibetan Cabinet. These writers deliver luminous insights ranging across culture and humanity from Zurich to Antarctica, while delving deep into our own backyards.

Indigenous Voices

Three important voices in contemporary Indigenous writing – Larissa Behrendt, Anita Heiss and Archie Weller – share their recent writing.

Supported by Indigenous Literacy Project

Beyond Bushrangers and Larrikins

In their latest books, Tom Keneally and Michael Cathcart give life to colourful characters who populated our early history. Tom chronicles our original inhabitants and early settlers, while Michael gives an illuminating account of the way people have imagined and interpreted Australia.

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Moulding Character

Commonwealth Writers' Prize winner Marina Endicott's new novel examines what it means to do the right thing, while Australian novelist Andrea Goldsmith tests friendship and love among close friends. Both novels are nuanced character studies. They discuss shades of characterisation.
Chair: Geraldine Mellet


'Mystic, Awful was the Process' with Gail Jones

Balzac was terrified, Conan Doyle saw ghosts, Nabokov believed photography to be the height of mendacity. Barrett Browning saw only the revelatory joy of the image. This illustrated lecture considers writers' attitudes to portrait photography and meditates on the mysticism of photographs.

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Beneath the Veneer

Some of the most interesting characters are flawed, with families and relationships providing a goldmine of material. David Carlin, Emily Maguire and Wendy James explore the emotional landscape of human behaviour.
Chair: Angela Meyer

It's Not Just the Cover ...

But it could be. How many  times have you bought a book for its cover and put it on your coffee table, or by your bed, so it can brighten up your day? Hear how award-winning book designers Robyn Mundy and Anna Maley-Fadgyas and author Amanda Curtin turn beautiful words into objects of desire.
Chair: Donna Ward

Monty Don in Conversation

We've travelled around the world with him visiting 80 extraordinary gardens and landscapes. Now Monty Don invites us into his own garden in The Ivington Diaries, a stunning reflection on the rhythm and passage of the seasons and our connection to the natural world.
Chair: Stephen Scourfield

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Pulp Fiction

The new novels of KA Bedford, Lenny Bartulin and Adrian McKinty have a Chandleresque air to them. They look at the legacy of noir fiction and its effect on their writing with Chair Grant Stone.



Alex Miller and Andrea Goldsmith's new novels are both preoccupied with love – the love between friends, of lovers, obsessive love and familial love. They are also stories of ordinary people making sense of their worlds. These two great authors consider love in their writing.
Chair: Danielle Benda

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From the Poetic to the Sublime

Three contemporary Australian poets share their work. Robert Gray is one of our nation's finest poets; Mark Tredinnick is the recent winner of the Blake Poetry Prize; and Samuel Wagan Watson is an award winner who has performed around the world.
Chair: Marcella Polain

Sex, Drugs and Braces

For young adults negotiating their place in the world, fiction can offer answers. Whether it's family life and sexuality, or darker subject matter of violence and death, is anything off limits? Patrick Ness, James Roy and Jack Heath explore the boundaries.
Chair: Amanda Betts

It's All Gone to the Dogs

Have we taken 'managerial language' too far? Are we losing the ability to say things in terms we understand and hampering our ability to communicate in times of danger? AC Grayling and Don Watson look at the decay of language.
Chair: David Cohen

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Consuming Passions

Film reviewer Michael Adams and musician/music critic Robert Forster live their passions. In writing about the mediums they love, they have their fingers on the pulse of the pop culture zeitgeist.
Chair: Mark Naglazas


Crime Does Pay

Crime writers Colin McLaren and Adrian McKinty consider the interplay between real life and the imagination in the world of crime fiction.
Chair: Deborah Kennedy

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Donna Mulhearn journeyed to Baghdad to protest the American bombings, while Neil White went from magazine publisher to federal inmate, incarcerated with an unlikely group of prisoners. They give us a glimpse of their lifechanging experiences.
Chair: Meri Fatin

Peeling Back the Layers

The new fiction of Archie Weller, Helen Oyeyemi and Shani Mootoo is preoccupied with identity and belonging. These fascinating authors talk to Chair Antonio Casella about their writing.

The March of the Patriots

Political analyst Paul Kelly's new book gives the inside story on how Paul Keating and John Howard governed Australia. Based on interviews with both men, this is a book about power, policy and leadership. 
Chair: Lawrence Apps

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From Cyber to ... ?

KA Bedford, Marianne Delacourt and Garth Nix consider some of the shifts in science fiction and fantasy writing with
Chair Helen Merrick.



Octagon Theatre

Dolphin Theatre

New Fortune

Sunken Garden

Uni Club Banquet Hall

$21.50, Friends $19, Students $15.50 FREE FREE $21.50, Friends $19, Students $15.50

The Good Soldiers with David Finkel

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Finkel spent eight months with 800 US army infantry soldiers of 2-16 battalion in Iraq during President Bush's infamous 'surge'. Reporting from the front line, he captures the lives of ordinary men in extraordinary circumstances at a defining moment in history.

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Wed 24–Sun 28 Feb, 6.30

Short Matters European Film Academy

The best award-winning short films from Europe in 2009. Introduced by Marion Döring, Director of the Academy, Short Matters features a fabulous selection of dramas, comedies, animation and documentaries from Europe's premiere emerging talent.


Launch of indigo journal volume 5 by Alex Miller

Join us for a champagne celebration as Alex Miller launches indigo volume 5, WA's newest journal of creative writing and ideas. Then stay on for a very special Festivalthemed edition of everyone's favourite wordsmith gathering, Cottonmouth.


An Evening of Readings

Be mesmerised by 'the writer's voice' in this wonderful evening of readings by a selection of our international stars: Marina Endicott, Patrick Gale, Elizabeth Kostova, Tom Rachman and Salley Vickers.

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Breakfast with Tom Keneally

Tom Keneally has two new books: Australians is the first in a three-volume history on the humanity of our national tale; while The People's Train takes us to the heart of the Russian Revolution. Join Tom as he discusses his fascination with history. Includes breakfast.
Chair: Bill Bunbury

PRICE $42.50, Friends $37, Students $32.50

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An Evening with Irvine Welsh

Master of dark humour Irvine Welsh has created some of contemporary culture's most memorable characters. He returns with Crime, an electrifying thriller about innocence and absolute evil, and Reheated Cabbage, a collection set in a landscape that is part-Edinburgh, part-Hell.
Chair: David Cohen

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Perth's favourite spoken word animals crawl out from underground with a peacockbewildering, hula-spinning outdoor spectacular. Prepare for strangeness, sadness and beauty as Cottonmouth throw a party with spoken-word performers from the Festival and beyond. Click here for a full list of performers.


Literary Lunch with Hugh Mackay

Hugh Mackay is well known as a psychologist, social researcher and novelist. Join Hugh as he discusses his latest novel Ways of Escape and the place of truth in fiction. Includes lunch.
Chair: Mignon Shardlow

PRICE $72.50, Friends $64, Students $60

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