Perth Festival Writers Weekend program revealed

Perth-Festival-the-joy-of-readingBeloved Western Australian author Tim Winton, science fun guy Dr Karl, double Miles Franklin-winner Michelle De Kretser and uproarious writer-comedian Judith Lucy are among the new names to round out the full Perth Festival Writers Weekend program for 2022.

Embodying the Festival’s 2022 Wardan (ocean) theme, the 26 – 27 February weekend will make waves of connection in the beautiful garden setting of Fremantle Arts Centre (FAC).

The weekend begins, fittingly, with the hot-topics panel Saturday Papers and Sisonke Msimang, Tony Birch and Craig Silvey sharing their love of stories in The Joy of Reading. It ends with Tim Winton offering an evening of deep insight and inspiration drawing from his lifelong love of the sea in the special Closing Address on Sunday.

In between, lovers of stories and the people who tell them will plunge into a diverse program of more than 40 events across the weekend. These range from the merry mischief of James Foley and Dr Karl at the ever-popular Family Day sessions to the cresting Crime Wave in Australian fiction and Unlimited Futures: Speculative, Visionary, Blak + Black Fiction.

Among the special guests joining by live stream or in person at FAC will be Helen Garner, Lisa Taddeo, Christos Tsiolkas, Michelle de Kretser, Pip Williams, Hannah Kent, Michael Robotham and Lech Blaine.

Local heroes including Natasha Lester, John Kinsella, Dr Cindy Solonec, Dr Elfie Shiosaki, Emma Young, Joshua Kemp and many more will navigate the turbulence of the human heart on the outdoor stages at FAC.

Other sessions include Julia Baird’s 20th anniversary reflection on Media Tarts, Bri Lee asking Who Gets to be Smart, Judith Lucy’s hilarious insights in her autobiographical Turns out I’m Fine, the Lines to the Horizon, Australian surf writing and the wit and wisdom of Liz Byrski and Juliet Marillier in Difficult Women.

In his compelling memoir Car Crash, Lech Blaine reflects on his traumatic coming-of-age experience and Miles Franklin Prize winner Josephine Wilson joins Prema Arasu for the annual Randolph Stow Memorial Lecture.

“We invite you to gather with us in the gardens of Fremantle Arts Centre for a series of sparkling conversations with some of Australia’s best new writing talent alongside many of our greatest authors and thinkers,” said Writers Weekend curator Gillian O’Shaughnessy.

“Bring the kids along for our Family Day festivities on the Sunday morning and enjoy a view of our port city and the famous Fremantle doctor as you immerse yourself in stories.”

To make the Writers Weekend accessible to all, Family Day events are pre-registered and free all Sunday morning with our Pay What You Can ticketing system returning for 2022. This means you can pay as little as you wish but anything you pay above the suggested $19 session ticket price will help other people attend Festival events where cost is a barrier.

On the weekend before the jam-packed Writers Weekend in Fremantle, we’re diving even deeper into our Wardan theme with A Day of Ideas: At Sea. Curated by Sisonke Msimang, this mix of conversations, panels and storytelling is set to stimulate and inspire audiences at Subiaco Arts Centre on Saturday 19 February.

A Day of Ideas: At Sea will be presented across three blocks over the afternoon and evening. Block A: WAVE AFTER WAVE begins with art historian Clarissa Ball and takes in conversations with women sailors, ocean swimmers and Fremantle Port’s first woman tugboat hand.

Block B: HOW GOOD’S AUSTRALIA celebrates the positive migrant experience in Perth with youth ambassador Bellamore Ndayikeze and a range of other guests from the worlds of hair-styling, dance, music and swimming.

After a break for dinner, Block C: LOVE PUNK AND RUGBY promises an evening of tall but true tales from the Centre for Stories, including from former Manikins rocker Neil Fernandes and deaf rugby-playing Auslan and Japanese Sign Language expert Nobu Hara.

A Day of Ideas takes place at the Subiaco Arts Centre on Saturday 19 February. The Perth Festival Writers Weekend takes place at the Fremantle Arts Centre on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 February. For more information and full program, visit: for details.

Image: Craig Silvey, Sisonke Msimang and Tony Birch (supplied)