ACT Chief Minster

Welcome to the 3rd Canberra Writers Festival. The ACT Government is once again proud to support this event and to see Canberra and the region embrace it.

In 2018 the Canberra Writers Festival will showcase a star-studded array of local, national and international authors in a four-day celebration of literature, writing and writers.

There will be something for everyone at the Canberra Writers Festival under the themes of Power, Passion and Politics. From top-class journalists and big names from across the globe, to thriller and crime authors, military and defence writers, political commentators and a bonanza of events for children and young adults, enjoy the high quality line up across some of Canberra's iconic venues.

I would like to thank the Foundation Partners, especially the Australian National University, National Museum of Australia, the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House, the National Portrait Gallery and the National Press Club of Australia.

I’d also like to thank the corporate sponsors the National Press Club of Australia, Doma Hotels Group, Swisse Wellness, Audi and the National Circuit Network. To the very important media partners The Saturday Paper, ABC Radio Canberra and The RiotACT, I acknowledge your invaluable support as well.

To the many volunteers, thank you for your generous time, enthusiasm and the vital role you play.

I hope you all enjoy this ever-growing popular cultural event.

Andrew Barr ACT Chief Minster

Festival Directors

The 2018 Canberra Writers Festival is overflowing with POWER, POLITICS & PASSION!

We have an extraordinary line up of international, national and local literary talent.  Our international guests include global columnist and historian Gwynne Dyer who is published twice weekly by 175 newspapers in 45 countries; British writer, broadcaster and former barrister Afua Hirsch; Ed Husain, a Muslim academic from New York and a former adviser at the Tony Blair Faith Foundation; and, Englishman Jonathon Drori who commissioned the BBC’s very first website, one highlight in a long career devoted to online culture and educational media.

Scottish novelist and playwright Irvine Welsh, best recognised for his novel Trainspotting is joining Richard Fidler in conversation; Palestinian nurse and writer Olfat Mahmoud is with us; and, US scientist and musician Dr. Cassidy Rose Sugimoto is part of a panel on the Passion, Power and Politics of Science.

They join an incredible Australian line-up including US-based action-thriller writer Matthew Reilly, who is flying in from LA for an exclusive with the CWF; former Prime Minister John Howard will speak to his new book The Art of Persuasion while Annabel Crabb joins UK-based writer Kathy Lette on Badass Women of History. We love that other distinguished guests such as Maggie Beer, Michael Kirby and Morris Gleitzman also shape our program.

The Canberra Writers Festival is enriched with insights from renowned journalists, broadcasters, presenters and commentators that enhance our program. Combined with our iconic national venues, we believe we have a festival that will ignite your passions and one that you will savour. This year’s program reflects the dominant themes of the past year, and the issues important to us as human beings, communities, Australians, as well as global citizens.

We bring this literary feast to you thanks to the ACT Government, our many treasured sponsors, our dedicated volunteers and of course the guidance of a committed and clever Board of Directors.


Jenny Bott Artistic Director

Paul Donohoe Festival Director


Message from the Chair

The Canberra Writers Festival Board welcomes you to our third festival. Power, Politics, Passion - these are what make Canberra tick. They're what the festival is all about.

Whether you feel excitement or dismay at what's happening here, it is never dull. Politics and public policy - the essential ingredients of government - are Canberra's core business. And that's what attracts the breadth of talent, domestic and international, to share their ideas, to ask the questions no one has ever thought of, and provide answers that always entertain, sometimes provoke and never disappoint.

The Canberra Writers Festival focuses on its audience, who are the key to the conversation that sets our festival apart from other writers' festivals.

Without our partners, sponsors, volunteers, interns, writers and commentators, and of course you the audience, the festival would have remained a dream.

So, come along, participate, and have fun.

Allan Behm Chair Canberra Writers Festival Board