Adelaide Festival

Writers’ Week 2021 Is Here!

What better way to kick off the festival season than with every book-lover’s favourite event, Adelaide Writers’ Week?

The festival season is upon us, Adelaide! 

What better way to kick it off than with every book-lover’s favourite event, Adelaide Writers’ Week? Starting Saturday February 27 running until Thursday March 4, there will be many famous literary faces gracing the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden just off King William Road. Each day will consist of a variety of sessions presented on the Garden’s stages with Australian and international authors discussing their books, thoughts, and the unstable ground upon which we find ourselves after the devasting year of 2020. 

Gates open each morning at 8:30 a.m. with hourly sessions starting at 9:30 a.m., lasting until late afternoon most days. 

Whether you are a book lover or an inquisitive soul, there is a session that will quench your thirst. 

Adelaide Writers’ Week is proud to be one out of a handful of free literary festivals in the world. Yes, you read that correctly. All the sessions in the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden are free to attend. If this event were held anywhere else other than the great city of Adelaide, it would surely have a price tag attached. The Literati donor circle helps bring this free event to the community, so show your support by attending, and, if you feel inclined, by purchasing books and donating to Literarti.

Travel restrictions have currently halted overseas travel, so it is a great time to take full advantage of the talent and events happening in our own backyard. Adelaide Writers’ Week brings many popular Australian authors to our city for the busy six-day event. 

Trent Dalton, author of  Boy Swallows Universe which won an unprecedented four Australian Book Industry awards in 2019, will be joining Writers’ Week on Saturday to present his highly anticipated second book, All Our Shimmering Skies. 

South Australian writers will be celebrated during Saturday night’s (Re)Launch: Live and Local! session. Eight local authors had their in-person book launches squelched by COVID-19 and will now have a chance to properly introduce their diverse range to a live audience. The weeklong event really showcases the homegrown talent of our state and nation. 

The calibre of authors attending this year’s Writers’ Week has not been dwindled by the pandemic by any means, though it has changed the normal operation of sessions. This year, international speakers will be livestreamed into the Garden from Canada, Indonesia, Ireland, Mexico, UK, and the US. Writers’ Week is also taking the necessary COVID-19 precautions by requiring all attendees to sign in with the COVID-Safe Check-In either manually or via QR codes, recommending cashless payments, and encouraging patrons to maintain social distancing and utilise hand sanitiser.

For those who are unable to meet up in the Garden, there are still ways to get involved. From Monday March 1 until Thursday March 4, Writers’ Week sessions will be livestreamed to libraries and community centres across South Australia thanks to the Office for Ageing Well and Seniors Card. A list of locations livestreaming selected sessions can be found here.

Alternatively, twelve pre-selected sessions can be watched from the comfort of your own home, courtesy of the Curated Dozen program. The Curated Dozen tickets must be purchased in advance on a pay-what-you-can basis. This is a great opportunity to join the South Australian community, regardless of your physical location. 

Among the international speakers livestreaming into Adelaide is cerebral, William Gibson, who is a speculative fiction writer known for creating a subgenre of science fiction and subsequently coining the term “cyberspace”.  You can listen to William at the East Stage on Sunday, or alternatively stream his session through the Curated Dozen.  

It is hard to whittle down the wide array of sessions available over the jam packed six-day lineup of Adelaide Writers’ Week. If you don’t want to scroll through the 70+ author list or randomly choose a session to attend, we’ve got you covered with a quick highlight of curated suggestions:

For the people working 9 to 5, Twilight Talks are the perfect after-work snippet to get the experience of Adelaide Writers’ Week. From 6:30 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday, grab a drink and relax in these casual sessions with multiple authors, comedians, podcasters, and journalists.  

For the family, there are two days packed with events for children and teenagers. On Saturday in the Torrens Tent, activities and events for children up to 12 years old will be commencing roughly every 30 minutes from 9:30 a.m. until 3 p.m.. Young adults can enjoy age-appropriate author sessions all day Sunday in the Torrens Tent with hourly talks from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.. Interactive and insightful, these two days are sure to get the young ones in your family excited about reading and the rich arts scene available in Adelaide. 

For the budding author, Tuesday March 2 will be your day with four of  The Business of Being a Writer sessions available at Plane Tree Stage. Authors and agents, who were once in your shoes, will be talking about their daily work, branding of books, and the journey of publishing. In conjunction with the week’s events, Writers SA is hosting four workshops to provide Adelaide writers a chance to get guidance from authors who are in town for Writers’ Week. Bring all your writing questions to these events; we have a feeling there might be a few people that can answer them for you. 

For the person who loves politics, Julia Gillard, Malcolm Turnball, and Christopher Pyne will be speaking on SaturdaySunday, and Tuesday respectively about their recently published books. Discussions will certainly include their time in Canberra, but you can expect a more candid chat about their passions and lives.

For the activist, draw inspiration from various subjects ranging from personal impacts to economical change. Briggs discusses his latest children’s book, Aboriginal excellence, and the future of Black leaders on MondayHot topics like climate change and the Murray-Darling Basin will also be highlighted on Monday and Wednesday by knowledgeable speakers. 

For someone wanting something different, there is See Me Through My Hands on Sunday, which shines a light on the creativity within the deaf community by featuring Auslan performers and their stories. Immerse yourself in poetry at Hear Me Roar! later on Sunday as poets perform their work on stage. These two unique events will allow you to experience different facets of the community that you may not encounter every day. 

There truly is something for everyone this year at Adelaide Writers’ Week. To scope out a session to attend be sure to visit the Writers’ Week Schedule for a comprehensive timetable.  

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