Minds Wide Open at the 2015 Brisbane Writers Festival

Arts Review BWF 2015 editorialConnecting bright and curious minds from around the world for a city wide conversation, Brisbane Writers Festival (BWF) invite ‘Minds Wide Open’ at the Cultural Centre Precinct, South Bank from 2 to 6 September 2015.

“BWF continues its proud history of connecting writers, artists, thinkers and innovators this year,” said Festival Director/CEO Julie Beveridge. “We live in a world that creates noise quickly and change slowly so we’ve become really good at consuming information in small, easy to digest portions, several at a time and hundreds a day, but our capacity to go deeply into any of it is overshadowed by its volume.”

“This September BWF will create a vibrant forum, along with the time and space to deep-dive for ideas.   We invite you to bring your voice, but also come with your mind wide open, and be inspired by the storytellers and wordsmiths who seduce, elevate and change us!”

Kicking off the 2015 Festival will be Welsh journalist, humourist and documentary maker Jon Ronson who will investigate the curious nature of festivals and their audiences. Jon will also share his views on the renaissance of public shaming and talk to journalism in the 21st Century.

Other international guests include YA sensations Cassandra Clare and Holly Black who along with David Burton, Eliza Henry Jones, Daniel Herborn, Christine Bongers, Deb Fitzpatrick and John Marsden will take over the Brisbane Square Library for 7 hours of non-stop LOVE LA! (Cosplay is strongly encouraged!).

STORY + returns to investigate the future of writing and storytelling shaped by technology, design and data.  Tom Uglow from Google Creative Lab, Mike Jones, Naomi Alderman (Zombie’s Run), Donna Hancox, Sue Swinburne and Oscar Schwartz are among the speakers who will talk to the nature of collaboration, the obstacles that writers and transmedia artists and publisher are facing, and the opportunities that are peeking out from around the next corner of change.

BWF invite you to don your pearls and feathers and step back in time for an evening of who-dunnit at Newstead House with Sophie Hannah who will chat about her Poirot Novels.

Much loved Walkley Award-winning cartoonist, First Dog on the Moon is set to scamper about in an adorable theatre show, complete with bonus Q&A session as well as taking part in other events with Mark Bahnisch to discuss satire – often referred to as the lowest form of wit but is the most effective way in calling for change and Anita Heiss, Bernard Keane and Dennis Atkins looking at our right to offend.

Brisbane 2050: Imagining Our Future City will provide a great opportunity to voice your thoughts on what you want Brisbane to be – if you think we are positioned well to support increased population growth, the state of our industries, green space and accessibility amongst other things.  The ‘instabooth’ will be installed on site at the Festival from 2 September.

The information collected will inform discussion points for a good old-fashioned Town Hall meeting with Bernard Salt, Elizabeth Farrelly, Geoff Woolcock and Andrew Gutteridge as well as urban planners, community leaders, artists and economists.

Leading the long list of Australian authors heading to BWF is Kate Grenville who will host an evening of conversation about the fine art of writing and her enchanting body of work including her new book One Life which will resonate with all daughters’ mothers and grandmothers.

Later that evening we welcome international author Sarah Waters to The Edge, to discuss her latest novel which is set in the 1920’s and speaks to the social and economic aftermath of World War 1.  Waters, who refers to herself as less of a chronicler of history and more of a reimaginer of vanished eras, has a deft touch for the intimate space between people, living and not living.

Peter Singer’s Good Thinking Lecture will have you reflecting on a challenging new movement in the search of an ethical life, one that involves doing the most good possible and also show you how restructuring our lives can lead to greater personal fulfilment.

BWF will INSPIRE you with a series of remarkable stories by presenters such as Barbara Arrowsmith Young who defied all odds and changed her brain, Abdi Aden who arrived in Australia with no family, money or education and Andy Jackson who was born with Marfan’s Syndrome.

With so many more stories and adventures awaiting you – don’t hesitate! Tickets are on sale with some events already sold out. For more information and complete programme, visit: www.bwf.org.au for details.

Image: some of the artists appearing at the 2015 Brisbane Writers Festival