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Michael Winkler in conversation with Finley Japp

Presented by Mildura Writers Festival and Arts Mildura

September 29, 2022 7:00 pm

Arts Mildura Hub

We want to get our audience excited about Michael’s brilliant book Grimmish which was shortlisted for the 2022 Miles Franklin award. We encourage you to read this unorthodox book and come along to hear Michael share the story of Joe Grim, an Italian-American boxer who toured Australia in 1908 – 09, losing fights but astonishing crowds with his capacity to endure brutality.

Everything about Michael Winkler’s rise to glory in the literary world appeals: he was born at the Mildura Base Hospital and lived his first five years in Merbein before his family relocated to Cobram (we can gladly claim him as our own and he won’t mind); he has written extensively for major publications, edited and authored numerous books and won the Calibre Essay Prize in 2016;  he wrote Grimmish which publishers rejected repeatedly until he published it himself in 2021; he was given cult status in the Twittersphere where word got out that this book was exceptional, Helen Garner stating that “Grimmish meets a need I didn’t even know I had”; his book was short-listed in 2022 for the country’s most prestigious literary award, the Miles Franklin – the first ever self-published work to have the honour;  he was picked up by an Australian publisher and then landed a UK and US publishing deal.

There is much to love about this hard-won trajectory to literary recognition and we want to celebrate it with Michael and with you. As Michael himself says: ‘The Miles Franklin is matchless … (it) matters. It says that ambition and innovation will be celebrated, even if not matched by high sales. It acknowledges the capaciousness of literature and finds space for disparate and sometimes difficult writing. It acknowledges endeavour and excellence rather than populism.’

Please join us at The Hub in September whether you’ve read the book or not.

If you’re looking for a special night out, grazing plates from Stefano’s will be available to pre-purchase and the Arts Mildura Hub Bar will be open from 5:30pm. Grazing plates can be purchased with your tickets below.

Support the Mildura Writers Festival as they approach their 30th year by donating with your ticket purchase. All donations collected for this event will contribute directly to the continued success of the Mildura Writers Festival.


Arts Mildura would like to acknowledge the Latji Latji, Nyeri Nyeri, Ngintait, and Wergaia people as the Traditional Owners of the land on which we work, along with their neighbours the Barkindji, Maraura, Mutti Mutti, Tatti Tatti and Wotjabaluk people.

We pay our respects to each of these communities and to their elders past and present.