What’s On: Brisbane Writers Festival 2021

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Brisbane Writers Festival

7 – 9 May 2021

State Library of Queensland, South Bank, various Brisbane venues, and online


Brisbane Writers Festival begins a new chapter of engaging storytelling with a hybrid program of more than 100 live and virtual events across three days. One of Queensland’s longest-running festivals, Brisbane Writers Festival (BWF) bookmarks its 59th year with a celebration of the written and spoken word, showcasing local and international literary luminaries.

In the lead-up to BWF’s 60th anniversary in 2022, this year’s program of free and ticketed events debuts new initiatives the First Word and Last Word events, which invite a notable Indigenous artist to deliver the opening and closing words of the festival; and the Author/Editor Showcase about the professional relationship from ideation to publication.

More than 100 renowned writers, thinkers, artists and opinion-makers will share their diverse views and unique voices across myriad topics, exploring emergent themes of survival, mortality, climate change and diversity prompted by current events.

Delivering a fully digital program in her inaugural year as Brisbane Writers Festival CEO in 2020, Sarah Runcie is looking forward to connecting word lovers and wordsmiths through in-person and online sessions.

“Brisbane Writers Festival has an amazing lineup of extraordinary national authors and wonderful local talent participating this year. We are welcoming new initiatives in 2021, such as the First Word and Last Word events that celebrate and elevate First Nations’ voices and their rich history of storytelling, as well as extending our program to provide online events that offer people across the state the opportunity and flexibility to engage with authors, thinkers, artists and writers from their living rooms,” Ms Runcie said.

There are plenty of events on offer for readers as well as for established and aspiring writers. Love YA also returns in 2021 with a full day of free programming geared for fans of young adult fiction. With limited in-person tickets available, these popular YA sessions will also be live-streamed. Queensland students can also engage with the Word Play Schools literature program, an online hub with more than 20 events, videos, activities and games available for children of all ages and stages to access state-wide.

“I hope people respond to the diversity and depth of this year’s Brisbane Writers Festival program and the emergent themes around survival and mortality, but also what is positive, valued and affirming about these pertinent topics. And I hope one of the positive and affirming things is being able to attend the Brisbane Writers Festival again,” Ms Runcie said.


For bookings and to view the full 2021 program, visit the BWF website


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