Brisbane Writers Festival delivers an all digital lineup in 2020

Image: Brisbane Sign, South Bank Parklands, BrisbaneIn what’s guaranteed to be a page-turner – in the digital sense – Brisbane Writers Festival will deliver an exciting week-long online program, The Room to Dream: A Celebration of the Arts Led by Literature, from 31 August 2020.

While COVID-19 attempted to thwart this year’s festival with its disruptive agenda, Brisbane Writers Festival (BWF) has rewritten the 2020 chapter with a digital program to continue to champion authors and artists and engage audiences.

The Room to Dream: A Celebration of the Arts Led by Literature digital program will highlight 14 incredible Australian artists from different disciplines in a celebration of story, connection and collaboration. Artists spanning disciplines from dance to poetry and illustration to fiction will interpret and respond to the Room to Dream themes of awe, wonder, love, reverence for nature, resilience and connection.

In seven online events over seven days, two different artists will engage in a ‘call and response’ collaboration, which will be presented on the BWF website. The online format also marks a different chapter for incoming Brisbane Writers Festival CEO Sarah Runcie, who was appointed to the role in June 2020.

“While it’s disappointing that Brisbane Writers Festival is unable to proceed as planned in September 2020, we’re delighted to deliver a digital program to celebrate Australian authors and artists and continue the literary conversation with our highly engaged audience online,” said Ms Runcie.

Brisbane Writers Festival will return as a physical festival in May 2021 with headlining events to be held from 7 – 9 May. Ms Runcie said she looked forward to working with Artistic Director Rachel Fry to deliver “one of the most impressive writers festivals in the country” when it returns in May next year.

Talking to the 2020 program, Brisbane Writers Festival Artistic Director Rachel Fry said, “Queensland has nurtured some of Australia’s greatest writers and inspired many engaging tales – from the suburbs to the outback. I am really proud to present this program of writers and artists – most of whom are Australian and a third of which are First Nations writers and artists,” she said.

The Brisbane Writers Festival – Room To Dream program will be available to view from 31 August – 6 September 2020. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Brisbane Sign – South Bank Parklands, Brisbane

Brisbane Writers Festival – Room To Dream program 2020:

Alison Whittaker and Katina Olsen
Mon 31 August
Sydney-based Gomeroi poet Alison Whittaker, a 2019 Queensland Literary Award winner for her poetry collection, Blakwork, will conjure a fusion of feelings with Katina Olsen, a Wakka Wakka and Kombumerri dancer and choreographer.

Vivian Pham and Camelia Pham
Tue 1 September
Vietnamese-Australian author Vivian Pham is described as “one of the indispensable voices of her generation”. Tune in to see her original voice juxtaposed with vibrant and surreal artworks by Vietnamese illustrator Camelia Pham.

James Bradley and Shastra Deo
Wed 2 September
Award-winning Australian novelist James Bradley, described as a “writer of ideas”, will have a cerebral challenge with lauded Brisbane-based writer and video game enthusiast Shastra Deo, whose poetry tome, The Agonist, explores the big questions.

Chris Flynn and Eirian Chapman
Thu 3 September
Award-winning author of acclaimed new novel Mammoth, Chris Flynn, who lives on Phillip Island in Victoria, will pit his wits against his real-life partner, illustrator Eirian Chapman, and her captivating and boldly graphic designs.

Laura Elvery and Evelyn Araluen
Fri 4 September
Brisbane writer Laura Elvery has achieved acclaim for her debut collection of meticulously crafted short stories, Trick of the Light. Bundjalung poet Evelyn Araluen is another master of her craft with her atmospheric prose.

Jess Scully and Mary Hoang
Sat 5 September
Deputy Lord Mayor of Sydney, curator and writer Jess Scully published her first book, Glimpses of Utopia, in August 2020. Her worthy collaborator is artist and psychologist Mary Hoang, whose moving artworks incorporate sound, psychology and installation.

Marlee Silva and Rachael Sarra
Sun 6 September
Gamilaroi / Dunghutti writer Marlee Silva and Goreng Goreng artist Rachael Sarra are author and illustrator, respectively, of My Tidda, My Sister: Stories of Strength and Resilience from Australia’s First Women, which shares the experiences of Indigenous women and girls.