Adelaide Festival

2021 Adelaide Writers’ Week announces first authors

The Adelaide Writers’ Week organisers have announced the first line up of authors for 2021, which will feature 77 local and international authors.

It is only fitting that next year’s Adelaide Writers’ Week, the third from Director Jo Dyer, seeks to immerse us all in the healing power of literature as we reflect on the tumult of the year through which we’ve lived, look to what might be ahead of us and contemplate the Unstable Ground on which we stand.

Running from Saturday 27 February to Thursday 4 March as part of the Adelaide Festival, Adelaide Writers’ Week will be one of the first literary festivals in the world to return with authors and audiences gathering together in person. An expanded Australian line-up will appear live in the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden while international authors will appear in the Gardens via real-time digital livestream.

77 local and international authors have confirmed for the program to date, including:

Arundhati Roy (IND)
Booker Prize winner Arundhati Roy is India’s pre-eminent author and thinker and is celebrated globally for her novels, essays and activism.

William Gibson (USA/CAN)
Visionary speculative fiction author and renowned chronicler of the future, William Gibson is credited with having coined the term “cyberspace”.

Maaza Mengiste (USA/ETH)
Shortlisted for the Booker Prize, Maaza Mengiste’s The Shadow King tells of Ethiopia’s forgotten women soldiers in the first conflict of WWII.

Richard Flanagan (AUS)
Booker Prize winner Richard Flanagan’s masterful new novel The Living Sea of Waking Dreams is a poetic meditation on love, loss and beauty.

Trent Dalton (AUS)
After the runaway success of Boy Swallows Universe, crowd favourite Trent Dalton returns with his new novel All Our Shimmering Skies.

Julia Gillard (AUS)
Australia’s 27th Prime Minister Julia Gillard is now the inaugural Chair of Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at Kings College in London. Her latest book, co-written with Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, is Women and Leadership.

Malcolm Turnbull (AUS)
Australia’s 29th Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull reflects on his time in office and his post-political life in his first live appearance promoting The Bigger Picture.

Sigrid Nunez (USA)
New York Time-bestselling and National Book Award-winning author whose work has been translated into twenty languages.

Anne Applebaum (POL)
Pulitzer Prize-winning author and journalist. She is a staff writer for The Atlantic, where the ideas explored in her acclaimed new book Twilight of Democracy first appeared.

It won’t quite be business as usual with international authors to appear virtually via digital livestream into the Garden and COVID safety protocols will be observed across the site, requiring scanning prior to entry, but the six days of free open air readings, panel sessions and literary conversations will be back in the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden.

Writers’ Week will return with its successful early evening program which in 2021 will be an all-Australian line up for Twilight Talks over two nights. Guests can relax with a glass of wine before hearing from a line-up of the most provocative, engaging and erudite Writers’ Week authors. On Monday, some of the country’s best minds consider the critical and compelling issues of our times in the Writers’ Week’s live chat show, Authorial Voice. Tuesday night sees an all-star line-up ruminate in an intimate and personal way on the Unstable Ground on which we stand.

In 2021, the Plane Tree Stage will be active all week for the first time. Alongside events for younger readers on the weekend, and the ABC’s live broadcasts on Wednesday and Thursday, Writers’ Week presents two brand new series. On Monday, learn How to be an Author where publishers, booksellers, agents and authors explain the business of writing in a series of events specifically curated for aspiring authors. Activism and advocacy are the order of Tuesday. Audiences are invited to Be the Change they wish to see in the world as some of Australia’s leading activists reveal how to be effective change-makers.

Another blockbuster program for children and young people takes place on the opening weekend with a jam-packed program designed for the youngest of book readers. Kids’ Day on Saturday features an all-Australian line-up of some of the brightest names in children’s literature including current Australian Children’s Laureate Ursula Dubosarsky (The Terrible Plop and Brindabella), Davina Bell and Allison Colpoys (Under the Love Umbrella and All The Ways To Be Smart), and Gavin Aung Than (Super Side Kicks series). With an abundance of free activities in the shade of the Plane Trees, the Kids’ Day events will delight and inspire the under 12 crowd.

For the Middle Grade, YA and Spoken Word fans, a stellar lineup of contemporary authors for young people will be at this year’s day for Middle Grade & YA Readers. The day will kick off with perennial crowd favourite R.A. Spratt (The Peski Kids and Friday Barnes; Girl Detective series), followed by teen superstar Will Kostakis (The Monuments series) and local legend Vikki Wakefield (This is How We Change the Ending). Seminal Cli-Fi author James Bradley (The Change series) will be joined by debut non-fiction author Jess Scully (Glimpses of Utopia), and the inspiring Davina Bell (The End of the World is Bigger Than Love) are also included on the day. It’s a relaxed environment for tweens and teens to enjoy author talks and conversations as well as the dynamic talent of Australia’s most powerful spoken-word performers in Hear Me Roar.

With the support of Office for Ageing Well and Seniors Card, Writers’ Week will be livestreaming selected sessions (Monday March 1 to Thursday March 4 inclusive) to schools, libraries and retirement villages around South Australia to ensure as many members of the community have access to the event as possible.

The full program will be announced January 2021 on the Adelaide Writers’ Week site.

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