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Wednesday, 11th May 2016
The Greatest Poet Alive : The feral genius of Australia’s Les Murray

The Atlantic Magazine nominates our Patron and 2016 guest author, Les Murray as 'THE GREATEST POET ALIVE.' Tickets are online now to see this legend, our national treasure, in Mildura at one of the finest most intimate Writers' Festivals in the country.

Click here to

Thursday, 3rd March 2016
La Trobe University Writers in Action at the 2015 Mildura Writers Festival

A short documentary created by Emel Berdilek and Vincent Kos in conjunction with La Trobe University, about the Mildura Writers Festival. Featuring Thomas Keneally, Sharon Olds and Stefano de Pieri.
Click here to view on YouTube

Wednesday, 8th February 2016
2016 Mildura Writers Festival Writer in Residence Announced!

In 2015 the Mildura Writers Festival announced its inaugural Mildura Writers Festival Residency. The Residency will tkae place again this year with Melbourne-based writer and psychogeographer, Nick Gadd.

Click here to read the press release.

Wednesday, 2nd September 2015
Radio New Zealand  |  Our Own Odysseys: Tracy Farr in Mildura

Australian-born, Wellington-based writer Tracy Farr just spent a month at a writing residency in the Australian town of Mildura for their writers festival.

Click here to listen (courtesy Radio New Zealand)

Monday, 21st July 2014
Mildura Writers Festival Wrap Up

Lisa Gorton being awarded the Philip Hodgins Memorial Medal by Philip's daughter Anna, accompanied by Philip's youngest daughter Helen and Judge Chris Wallace-Crabbe 2014. Image credit: Danielle Hanifin

The Mildura Writers Festival celebrated its twentieth anniversary in cosy settings over the winter weekend, with good food, wine and words, evaluated by many as one of the best Mildura Writers Festivals yet.

The festival got off to a magnificent start with the opening night booked to capacity a week in advance and a growing waiting list.  Visitors from interstate and metro areas travelled to see sports journalist Gideon Haigh pair up with award winning novelist Helen Garner for a night of entertaining discussion titled Facts and Truth.  The wood fires made for an intimate and convivial atmosphere amidst the blustery conditions outside.
The opening night set the scene for the rest of the weekend.  With most sessions at capacity and more than 50 percent of guests from outside of Mildura, spirits were high with many new friends made and stimulating conversations had.  The extraordinary line-up of writers arranged by Artistic Director Paul Kane had audiences captivated at each event, speaking not only about the topic at hand, but their own personal battles and experiences in the industry. 
Lisa Gorton was awarded the 2014 Philip Hodgins Memorial Medal on Friday evening, for her passionate approach to poetry and writing, having written two books of poetry, a children’s book, published work in British, American and Australian journals and releasing her upcoming novel The Life of Houses later this year.  Lisa’s acceptance speech was fervent and moving, reading her poem about Philip Hodgins highlighting the inspiration his work had been to her.
Extra seating was required at the La Trobe University Lecture, courtesy of PEN Melbourne on Sunday, 20th July where Indigenous writer Bruce Pascoe spoke passionately about his obstacles in presenting the evidence that Australian Aboriginies were more than just ‘hunter gatherers’ as suggested by our history books and that European settlers discovered modern farming techniques upon their arrival in Australia.  The morning session opened with a smoking ceremony in the university’s gardens before a special performance by the HOPE Dancers.
At the Finale Lunch, some of those who are dear to the festival were commemorated. After travelling to Mildura from New York for the past 20 years, Tina, the wife of Paul Kane was presented with a gift and a heart warming speech by Festival Chair Donata Carrazza.  Following that, a surprise presentation was also made by Arts Mildura Chair Ross Lake to Donata Carrazza and Stefano de Pieri for their years of generosity and support to ensuring the festival thrives each year.
Festival visitors frequently referred to the uniqueness of the festival, highlighting that the writers were “one of them”, appreciating that they lined up to show their tickets at events just like everyone else, that they sat with the audience during sessions and participated in question time.  Similarly, the writers immensely enjoyed the intimacy and good nature of the festival.
“I’d just like to thank all the people involved in organising and working toward making this the finest literary festival I’ve ever attended, wonderful writers, wonderful food, kindness and attention to details – Mildura!  What an incredible experience.  Thank you all so much.” Robert Adamson. 

Thursday 17th July 2014
Free for students, literature event

Jane Smiley, Chaffey Secondary College presentation, 2013. Image credit: Paul Lambeth

Celebrating twenty years, the Mildura Writers Festival, 17-20 July 2014, will kick off tonight with the opening event held at the Mildura Club, commencing a weekend with many free events for students.  
Building on the strong relationship with La Trobe University, the Mildura Writers Festival committee welcomes students of all ages to attend the festival’s non-catered events, free of charge.
Students can confirm a seat online by pre-booking via the Arts Mildura website, or simply show their student card at the door of each event.  This allows access to ten events across four days and the opportunity to meet and liaise with eleven renowned writers of fiction and fact, novels and poetry. The diverse range of authors participating in this years festival are from the UK, the US and Australia.
Interstate universities, book stores and writing centres support this festival by promoting this long running festival to their students and customers. Arts Mildura continues to receive messages of support from established organisations in recognition of the contribution made by this event to the national literature landscape.
“All the very best for a brilliant festival Mildura - super lineup. One of the first and best of Vic's regional writers fests.” Bendigo Writers Festival
Higher Education Partner La Trobe University will host a weekend of events with the La Trobe University Sessions held in the Brian Grogan Lecture Theatre on Saturday, 19th July from 10.00am – 5.00pm.  A full day package is available for $60 per person including lunch, single events at $10 per person and free access to students.  This is the best opportunity to see all of the writers in the one place, performing readings and taking part in on stage discussions.  Featured books will also be on sale from Collins Booksellers pop-up shop.
La Trobe University Mildura Head of Campus Dr Deb Neal said the festival was a significant local event.  “I encourage all students to head along and see some of the fantastic events on offer,” Dr Neal said.  “The Mildura Writers Festival is such an important regional event because it really celebrates our love of literature, reading and writing.”
In 2013, MWF Artistic Director Paul Kane was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from La Trobe University on Sunday, the closing day of the festival.  This year, courtesy of PEN Melbourne, Bruce Pascoe will present Black Seeds, preceded by a smoking ceremony and short dance by local group, the HOPE Dancers.  This event is free to all members of the public.

Tuesday 15th July 2014
Significant Australian Poets at the 2014 Mildura Writers Festival

Now in its twentieth year, the Mildura Writers Festival has evolved to become one of Australia’s most significant literature events, showcasing a broad range of authors’ achievements, including poetry.  
The Philip Hodgins Memorial Medal was established to honor the life and work of the late Australian poet Philip Hodgins.  Internationally celebrated poet Chris Wallace-Crabbe, will again present the award for 2014, in addition to moderating sessions and reading from his most recent books of verse including Telling a Hawk from a Handsaw and New and Selected Poems.
In addition to Chris Wallace-Crabbe, other celebrated Australian poets participating in this year’s festival include Robert Adamson and Lisa Gorton.
"We are looking forward to the festival very much. It's great timing because I have just finished a new book of poetry, so I will be reading from this manuscript for the first time.  The book will be published in the USA by Flood Editions Chicago, and Bloodaxe Books in the UK, in Australia Black Inc will publish it early next year." Robert Adamson
Mildura Writers Festival guests will be among the first to hear from Robert’s newest book, Net Needle.  In a writing career spanning over forty years, including 18 books of poetry and three books of prose, Robert is one of Australia's most celebrated poets.  Winner of numerous awards including The Age Book of the Year Award, Robert is also the inaugural CAL Chair of Poetry at University of Technology, Sydney.
Lisa's first poetry collection, Press Release, was awarded the Victorian Premier's Prize for Poetry.  Her second, Hotel Hyperion, was shortlisted for the Queensland Literary Awards.  As an essayist and reviewer, her work appears in British, American and Australian journals Her novel, The Life of Houses, is forthcoming in 2014.
"..I think I will read chiefly from my most recent poetry collection, as well as reading some new poems. In Hotel Hyperion I was thinking about rooms and memory -- how we come to know a place... I love the Mildura Writers Festival. It's a real festival: intimate, celebratory, with great conversations. I am looking forward to sharing all that with people who come to the sessions."  Lisa Gorton
Tickets are still available for the Mildura Writers Festival with concession prices available and free entry for students to all non-catered events.

Friday 11th July 2014
Prestigious memorial medal to be awarded

Frank Moorhouse being awarded the Philip Hodgins Memorial Medal 2013. Image credit: Danielle Hanifin

The Philip Hodgins Memorial Medal was introduced in 1996 and is awarded annually to an Australian writer whose work best reflects the high standards and distinguished literary accomplishments that Philip Hodgins consistently advocated and exemplified in his poetry.
In a little known restaurant in Mildura in October 1994, a small group of friends came together to celebrate a love for literature, good food and stimulating company.  The special guests that evening were two of Australia’s leading poets. Robert Gray, a poet highly regarded for his “painterly sensuality and cool precise imagery” and Philip Hodgins, whose work draws upon his experience of rural farming life. While much has changed since that gathering almost 20 years ago, the Mildura Writers Festival continues to promote literary arts in this thought-provoking and intimate festival, known for generating an atmosphere of conviviality amongst writers and and audiences.
Philip Hodgins had a short but illustrious career as a poet, winning many awards including the Bicentennial Poetry Book Award, the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Award and the National Book Council Poetry Prize.  He lost his battle with leukaemia within a year of the 1994 event and a memorial medal is awarded annually in his memory.  That little known restaurant, Stefano’s, has grown into one of the most well-known restaurants in Australia, recently changing ownership, while  the Mildura Writers Festival, conceived in Stefano’s Restaurant, has evolved to become one of the finest literary events in the country.
The award has been won by many accomplished writers over the years including Don Watson, Clive James and last year, Frank Moorhouse, writer of fiction, non-fiction, screen plays and essays.
In 2002, the medal was awarded to Chris Wallace-Crabbe, who for the past three years has been the judge of this prestigious award.  A new judge will be appointed in 2015 for another  three year cycle. 
The 2014 winner will be announced at the Philip Hodgins Memorial Medal Dinner on Friday, 18th July from 7.30pm at Gallery 25.  In honour of Philip Hodgins, his daughters Anna and Helen will conduct a reading of Philip’s poetry, followed by the presentation of the medal hand crafted by Mildura artist Jim Curry, along with a $3,000 cash prize.  Guests anticipate this moment each year, as Jim crafts an original, uniquely designed box from Australian materials.
Throughout the evening, a quality three course dinner will be served by the chefs of 27 Deakin, with paintings by Ralph Bristow hanging on the walls.
Tickets include wine provided by Chalmers Wines and are available for $75 per person online at, from the Mildura Arts Centre and from the Mildura Visitor Information Centre.

Wednesday 9th July 2014
Alice Pung

Lawyer, teacher and bestselling author Alice Pung will present at the Mildura Writers Festival, 17-20th July 2014.

Named after Alice in Wonderland, as her father saw Australia as his own Wonderland, Alice was raised in suburban Melbourne, after her parents escaped the killing fields of Cambodia during Pol Pot’s reign.

Her first book, Unpolished Gem, follows Alice’s upbringing in Footscray, describing her daily struggles of trying to fit into two different worlds and a humorous view on the Australian lifestyle from the perspective of her parents and relatives.

Alice’s most recent publication Her Father's Daughter takes a more serious tone, digging deeper into her father’s past, the atrocities that he faced throughout this twenties in Cambodia and an understanding of her parent’s constant anxieties and worries around her safety.

Unpolished Gem won the 2007 Australian Book Industry Newcomer of the Year Award, whilst Her Father’s Daughter took out the 2012 Western Australia Premier’s Literary Awards for Non-Fiction.  Alice's latest book will be released in November 2014.

Outside of her memoirs, Alice has had stories and articles published in Good Weekend, Meanjin, The Monthly, The Age, The Best Australian Stories and The Lifted Brow.  She also edited the book Growing up Asian in Australia.

She has taught, judged and held residencies in China, USA and Australia and is currently an Ambassador and Board Member for the 100 Story Building, a centre for young writers from culturally and linguistically diverse and marginalised backgrounds, based in Melbourne’s inner west.

Alice’s books are studied in secondary schools and universities both nationally and internationally. She has lectured at numerous universities and schools and taught writing workshops to students from the ages of 8 to 80.

A woman with multiple skills, Alice is also a qualified lawyer and works as a legal researcher in the area of minimum wages and pay equity.

"I look forward to coming back to share the joys and anxieties of writing literary non-fiction, and also look forward to seeing my favourite chef Stefano & family." Alice Pung

Alice first participated in the Mildura Writers Festival in 2008 when Unpolished Gem was released.  She will return to Mildura to present at the following events:

Writing Lives: Literary Non-Fiction with Alice Pung, Christina Thompson and Bruce Pascoe
4.00pm, Friday 18th July
ADFA Building, $15

The Writer as Editor with Christina Thompson and Alice Pung
4.00pm, Saturday 19th July
La Trobe University, $10

Monday 7th July 2014
Sports journalist to visit Sunraysia

Cricket fans should clear their diaries for the third weekend of July with sports journalist Gideon Haigh presenting over two days at the Mildura Writers Festival, 17-20 July 2014.

Dubbed “the finest cricket writer alive” by The Australian, Gideon is famous in the literary world for thirty books in thirty years, twenty of them about cricket.  One of his most popular books On Warne won the British Sports Book Awards Best Cricket Book of the Year Award, the Cricket Society and MCC Book of the Year Award, the Jack Pollard Trophy, and the Waverley Library Nib Award; it was also shortlisted for the Australian Book Industry Awards Biography of the Year, the Victorian Premier's Literary Awards, and the Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature.  Gideon followed Shane Warne’s career over two decades and a thousand international wickets, from sports star to full-time celebrity.

Initially a keen fiction writer in his adolescent years, journalism introduced Gideon to a whole new world of non-fiction stories.  He has primarily worked as an independent journalist in Melbourne and London, contributed to more than a hundred newspapers and magazines, largely The Australian and The Times (UK), and on top of his thirty written books, edited seven others.  He also occasionally appears on ABC’s Offsiders, a Sunday morning television sports program.

Outside of cricket, Gideon has written numerous other books and essays including The Office: A Hardworking History, where he discovered a world teeming with dramas, boredom, betrayal, distraction, discrimination, leisure and lust.  Published in 2012, The Office won the NSW Premier's Literary Awards Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-fiction. 

“I had always wished to read an appealing, accessible, colourful, discursive history of offices as locations for work and recreation, but couldn’t find one, so I decided to attempt my own.” Gideon Haigh

In celebration of the upcoming festival, Aesop will host an evening with Gideon at their Flinders Lane signature store in Melbourne on Tuesday, 15th July from 6.00pm.

Gideon will open the Mildura Writers Festival with fellow prize-winning writer and journalist Helen Garner at the event Facts and Truth, held at the Mildura Club from 7.30pm on Thursday, 17th July, $15 entry.

He will also hold the stage at a mid-festival winter dinner held at The Setts with a three course menu prepared by local chef Jim McDougall.  Tickets are available for $85 for Books v Cigarettes: The Rematch with Gideon Haigh, Saturday, 19th July at 7.30pm which includes a drink on arrival.

Friday 4th July 2014
Black Seeds: Agriculture or Accident?

Indigenous author Bruce Pascoe will arrive in Sunraysia later this month to present at the annual Mildura Writers Festival, presented in a range of intimate venues across Mildura from 17-20 July 2014.

After initiating relationships with the Aboriginal community in Sunraysia on his visit to the festival in 2013, Bruce will return to share his new book Dark Emu, released in February.  Published by Magabala Books, Australia's oldest independent Indigenous publishing house, Dark Emu challenges the perception that Australian Aborigines were hunter gatherers and references strong evidence of sophisticated farming and agriculture practices preceding European settlement.  Bruce questions “Why are we not telling Australian children of the success and the achievements of Aboriginal Australia?"

Bruce is an award winning fiction and non-fiction writer with a passion for Aboriginal language recovery.  He has been a publisher, editor, teacher, farmer, fisherman, Aboriginal community secretary and curriculum designer.  A family man, Bruce is of Bunurong and Tasmanian descent and currently lives in Gipsy Point with his wife and two children. 

Renowned both in Australia and internationally, Bruce attended the London ANZ Literary Festival and the Dublin Literary Festival in 2014.  He has won numerous awards and last year was shortlisted for three different literary prizes for his recent book Fog a Dox, a story of courage, acceptance and respect integrated with Indigenous cultural knowledge and awareness.

The judge’s comments from the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards, where Fog a Dox won first place, sum up Bruce’s genuine and honest writing style: “Pascoe’s is an original voice and his story of people and country is beautiful in its simplicity. It gives an eloquent voice to those rarely heard.”

Bruce will arrive in Mildura on Friday, 18th July where he will present with Alice Pung and Christina Thompson from 4.00pm at the ADFA Building to discuss Literary Non-Fiction.  Facilitated by Helen Healy, tickets are available for $15 or $10 concession.

“I’ll be talking about my new books, Dark Emu and Fog a Dox.  I’m really looking forward to meeting with Aboriginal families in Mildura... I’m also interested in talking with farmers and old timers who have stories about Aboriginal food and fish harvest.” Bruce Pascoe.

Bruce will also present at the La Trobe University Lecture on Sunday, 20th July from 11.00am in the Brian Grogan Theatre, a free event, which will be followed by the Festival Finale Lunch at Seasons Mildura from 12.30pm.

Wednesday 9th April 2014
Mildura Writers Festival

Philip Hodgins Memorial Medal 2013. Image credit: Danielle Hanifin

The Mildura Writers Festival will take place from Thursday, 17th – Sunday, 20th July 2014, composed of an intimate, winter program of workshops, lectures and discussion forums with acclaimed Australian and international writers.

The Mildura Writers Festival is a well-established and popular festival, not due to its size or profitability, but for the calibre of talent it attracts and the atmosphere of conviviality presented in regional settings during the provincial Victorian winter.

Having first come about from a poetry reading in Stefano de Pieri’s cellar restaurant over 20 years ago, the festival prides itself on sharing local and regional gourmet food and wine with acclaimed writers and guests and has since evolved into one of the finest literary festivals in the country.

For 2014, Festival Artistic Director Paul Kane based in New York USA, has currently confirmed the following writers and poets:  Christina Thompson, Helen Garner, Simon Leys (Pierre Ryckmans), Robert Adamson, Lisa Gorton, Alex Miller, Gideon Haigh, Alice Pung, Bruce Pascoe and Chris Wallace-Crabbe.

"This is the only festival I'll travel 16,000 kilometres to attend.  It's sheer pleasure!" Paul Kane, Mildura Writers Festival Artistic Director.

The US Consulate General has confirmed a donation of $5,000 to the Mildura Writers Festival to assist in bringing an American author to Australia to present, as has been done several times in the past.  In 2013, the festival hosted Jane Smiley, author of A Thousand Acres which was also made into film.  This year, Christina Thompson will travel from Massachusetts to participate in the festival, author of Come on Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All, a mix of geography, sociology, history, and autobiography.  

After initiating relationships with the Aboriginal community in Sunraysia on his visit to the festival last year, indigenous author Bruce Pascoe will return again in 2014 with his new book Dark Emu.  Published by Magabala Books, Australia's oldest independent Indigenous publishing house, Dark Emu challenges the perception that Australian Aborigines were hunter gatherers and references strong evidence of sophisticated farming and agriculture practices preceding European settlement.  Bruce questions “Why are we not telling Australian children of the success and the achievements of Aboriginal Australia?"

The annual Philip Hodgins Memorial Medal Dinner will take place at Gallery 25 where the Australian winner, who reflects the highest standards and distinguished literary accomplishments, will be announced.  The winner will remain a mystery to the public until awarded on the night of the dinner.

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