Perth Festival Writers Week announces 2019 Program

PFWW19 Ben Okri_Esi EdugyanInternational headliners prize-winning Nigerian author and poet Ben Okri and Canadian author of Washington Black, Esi Edugyan will be joined by more than 100 writers, poets and journalists at this year’s Perth Festival Writers Week in February.

Western Australia’s premier literary event boasts a stellar line-up of guests including fabulous American cultural critic and DJ madison moore, Stasiland author Anna Funder and Benjamin Law hosting the The Big Crazy Book Club.

Other international literary talent includes Singapore-based author Balli Kaur Jaswal (Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows), British novelist Andrew Miller (Now We Shall Be Entirely Free), British writer Amy Sackville (Painter to the King) and Greenland-based Danish crime fiction writer Mads Peder Nordbo (The Girl Without Skin).

Further international literary talent includes Deepak Unnikrishnan (Temporary People), British/Australian author Lucy Christopher (Storm-Wake), Australian-born and Dublin-based writer Monica McInerney (The Trip of a Lifetime) and writer and Professor of World Literature in English Elleke Boehmer (The Shouting in the Dark).

Our interstate guest list features some familiar names and hot new talents such as Jane Caro (Accidental Feminists), Trent Dalton (Boy Swallows Universe), Chloe Hooper (The Arsonist), Peter FitzSimons (Mutiny on the Bounty), Future D. Fidel (Prize Fighter), Carly Findlay (Say Hello), Karen Foxlee (Lenny’s Book of Everything), Moreno Giovannoni (The Fireflies of Autumn), Rodney Hall (A Stolen Season), and Gail Jones (The Death of Noah Glass).

Also featured Hugh Mackay (Australia Reimagined), David Malouf (An Open Book), Heather Morris (The Tattooist of Auschwitz), Kristina Olsson (Shell), AS Patric (The Butcherbird Stories), Mikey Robins (Seven Deadly Sins and One Very Naughty Fruit), David Stratton (101 Marvellous Movies You May Have Missed), Eddie Woo (Woo’s Wonderful World of Maths), Fiona Wright (The World Was Whole) and Markus Zusak (Bridge of Clay).

Alongside the national and international guests, we proudly present some of our brightest Western Australian voices such as AJ Betts (Hive), Amanda Curtin (Kathleen O’Connor of Paris), Pip Drysdale (The Sunday Girl), Steve Hawke (The Valley) and Alice Nelson (The Children’s House).

Once again, the Writers Week Hub will be at The University Club of Western Australia and will host meal events such as a Gatz-inspired Great Gatsby High Tea with WA historical fiction writer Natasha Lester and Gatz director John Collins and a lunch with The West Australian’s travel editor Stephen Scourfield and musician Scott Wise.

There’s also a special focus on comics and graphic novels, including a retrospective of film adaptations of comic books like Flash Gordon and The Adventures of Tintin. There will be a discussion about The Rise of Australian Comics with Wolfgang Bylsma, Justin Randall, Campbell Whyte and Sarah Winifred Searle.

From Monday 18 February, Writers Week heads out to Perth and surrounds with free Out and About sessions at The Literature Centre in Fremantle, City of Perth Library, The Centre for Stories, and Kings Park and Botanic Garden. Hear Markus Zusak discuss the trajectory of his career and his new novel Bridge of Clay or join Irish-born, Perth-based writer Dervla McTiernan launch her new book, The Scholar – both at The Literature Centre.

For those looking for something hands on, there will be workshops on Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 February at our Writers Week Hub. On Saturday, AS Patric will guide you through the techniques for writing a great short story in The Art of Fiction, and play with words and exercise your imagination with Ara Jansen in Wordplay.

Get thinking like a writer in Writing Fiction – Getting Started with Amanda Curtin or use your own life experience to write fiction or memoir in Encountering the Other with Rashida Murphy. For teenagers who think maths is boring, Eddie Woo will show just how fun it can be in Reimagining Mathematics.

There are family-friendly sessions across Writers Week including The Sound of Picture Books, Curated by Kids and Paper Bird Kombi return, while introducing new programs and activities including Comic Book Heroes Takeover, Zine Fair and workshops.

Perth Festival Writers Week Curator William Yeoman says at the heart of the 2019 Writers Week is the theme Our Imagined Selves exploring why your story is part of every story.

“We invite you to fuel your imaginations with conversations, performances, fun family activities, and adventures with our outstanding cast of international, Australian and Western Australian guest writers and thinkers,” said Yeoman. “Where else can you savour songs of love and lust, assess the rise and fall of empires, drop in on a zine fair or learn how to take great pictures from a seasoned travel photographer?”

The 2019 Perth Festival Writers Week runs from 18 – 24 February. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Ben Okri and Esi Edugyan (supplied)