Brisbane Writers Festival Launch 2019

June 26, 2019

The program for the 2019 Brisbane Writers Festival was launched at the State Library of Queensland on the 20th June. Invited guests were wowed as they entered and were greeted by a light festooned Queensland Terrace which sparkled on a brilliant Brisbane evening. Guests enjoyed a cocktail or two whilst sampling the delights from the generous grazing tables. 

Launch guests, including Sallyanne Atkinson, Kerry O’Brien and Tim Costello, were all excited to hear from guest speaker, author John Birmingham, who spoke eloquently about our changing world. CEO and Artistic Director, Zoe Pollock, outlined the theme for the year which is ‘ This Way Humanity’. The Festival celebrates diversity in our world in a time of unprecedented global connectivity and change. Indigenous stories, from the original custodians of our land, will also be a feature at this year’s festival. Well loved local and international authors will be part of the jam-packed program which also boasts poets, politicians, podcasters and rappers. 


A stellar line up of international authors will be headed to Brisbane in September including bestseller Jasper Fforde who will discuss his latest novel, Early Riser. New York Times best selling author, Karen Thompson Walker will unpack her latest novel The Dreamers. Multi -award winning author, Ann Weisberger will discuss her stunning new historical fiction novel,The Glovemaker. You can meet  Joanne Ramos, author of the chilling dystopian work, The Farm, who will discuss dystopian futures, motherhood, merit and money. 

Nevermoor fans are in for a treat, as well loved Queensland sensation, author Jessica Townsend, will be in conversation with Megan Daley. Benjamin Law, Anita Heiss, Matthew Condon and Ashley Hay are a few of the well loved Australian voices at the festival. My writing friends and I will be excited to see Rosalie Ham who wrote our favourites, The Dressmaker and The Year of the Farmer. 

I’m keen to see Accidental Feminists author Jane Caro, who speaks about how we women over 55 have changed the world. This development was unexpected and unintended and I will be interested to hear her discuss this topic with Clare Press. Well loved Brisbane author Kristina Olsson will chair several sessions as well as speak with Bronwyn Lea about her bold and haunting novel , The Shell. Hollow Bones author, Leah Kaminsky discusses Nazism and the crucial lessons we can learn from our recent history. 

Fans of the podcast, Teacher’s Pet, will have a chance to get up close and personal with Hedley Thomas, who will explore the power of investigative journalism. Former PM Kevin Rudd will talk about his experiences in the Australian Labor Party and on opening night Word Artists like writer, actor and comedian Steven Oliver will share the opening with slam poetry champions and rapper Baker Boy.


Festival favourite from last year, Angel’s Palace will be back. Inspired by Alexis Wright’s critically acclaimed novel Carpentaria, this impressive dome decorated with an original artwork by Gordon Hookey will feature a sound and light show and some inspiring performances. Experience literature in a new way by visiting the stunning new installation inspired by Jessica Anderson’s Tirra Lirra by the River. Local designer Anna Spiro has created this bespoke hub by drawing inspiration from the text and evoking the Queensland setting. 

New ‘Meet the Author’ events will fill quickly with intimate sessions with authors like Rosalie Ham and comedian Mike Robbins. These will be  perfect for book clubs or writing groups keen to get up close and personal with their favourite writers. Also look out for authors venturing into the suburbs and speaking at local libraries. One of my favourite Festival experiences last year was meeting Dervla McTiernan at my local Ashgrove Library.

Every year my writing group waits eagerly for the Brisbane Writers Festival program to come out. We pore over it as diligently as children poring over the Ekka showbag liftout. Some sessions we attend together before peeling off to Masterclasses or author talks based on our special areas of interest and we always learn so much and come away invigorated and excited about our own writing. So whether you are a reader, writer or just interested in a favourite personality, there is something to suit everyone this year. So tell me do you love a Writers Festival ? What are some of your favourite Writers Festival moments? The Brisbane Writers Festival will run right here in a Brisbane from Thursday 5th September – Sunday 8th September. The Brisbane Writers Festival 2019 is where stories live.

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