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The write stuff: Grab last-minute tickets to festival events

The Weekend Edition

May is just a flip of the calendar month away and it’s bringing with it a bunch of exciting events. One such standout happening (or rather, bunch of happenings) is the upcoming Brisbane Writers Festival.


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Brimming with brain-tingling events that shine a spotlight on both Australian and international literary legends, this festival is weaving its way into town from May 3–8. Before tickets sell out, here are some not-to-be-missed affairs that celebrate the written word …

There’s nothing quite like devouring a good book, a feeling that the organisers and guests of Brisbane Writers Festival know all too well.

More than 200 Brisbane Writers Festival events will be taking over Brisbane next month. Through the Brisbane as a Storied City program, Brisbane Writers Festival and local writing legend Nick Earls have curated a line-up of superb writers and poets who will be sharing stories, tales and conversations in some iconic Brisbane event spaces.

Punters can join First Nations curator Ellen van Neerven to experience their debut work Heat and Light, hang with writer and actor Michelle Law to watch Homecoming Queens and eat burgers, or tune into poet and raconteur Samuel Wagan Watson and guest readers who will share some Smoke Encrypted Whispers in the heart of West End.

Other delightful highlights include Clare McFadden’s The Flying Orchestra with Queensland Youth Orchestra at Brisbane City Hall, and A River with a City Problem, where historian Margaret Cook brings the story of Brisbane’s relationship with its river to the flood-affected Yeronga.

Wannabe fan-fiction wordsmiths and novice knights of the pen can test out their skills at Overshare, where they can bring their best 800 words to share in a judgement-free zone.

Those who’d like to add a dose of magic to their life can be mystified and entertained at Real Magic, where Australian magician and TikTok star Ash Magic will share his story of becoming a world-class stage performer and a viral sensation.

Tricks of a literary kind will be on display at the high-octane Show Ponies event, where captivating word wizard Freya Sadgrove is bringing a troupe of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most dazzling poets to Brisbane for the first time. Other must-attend events arrive as part of the inaugural Country of Focus program, which will highlight literary minds from the Aotearoa and the Great Ocean region.

Diaspora Excellence will showcase a seriously talented selection of Māori and Pasifika artists living and practising their craft in Brisbane, Hiakai (livestreamed) will see New Zealand-Samoan chef and author Monique Tumema Fiso chat all things culinary, while A Life in Crime: Ngaio Marsh will explore the aforementioned writer’s career as a celebrated crime author.

Explore storytelling traditions beyond the written page in Weaving on the Terrace, where weavers let their hands do the talking, or join renowned Māori astronomer Professor Rangi Matamua as he unravels the science and stories of the night sky in Maramataka – Look Up.

Events that are sure to sell out quick-sticks before the festival kicks off includes the ever-popular Mother’s Day high tea at Customs House with bestselling author Sally Hepworth and Those Two Girls’ Lise Carlaw and Sarah Wills, the star-studded wordsmith battle Literary Death Match, a flavoursome banquet dinner with author and journalist Benjamin Law at Sunnybank’s Landmark Restaurant and the nostalgia-filled Brisbane in the 80s and 90s event with much-loved fiction writer Rebecca Sparrow.

To peep at the entire Brisbane Writers Festival program and score tickets, head to the BWF website. Oh, and if you’re keen to get on the festival’s 60th anniversary guest list (this includes invitations to exclusive events and discounts on festival tickets, passes and online and special events), you can become a Festival Friend for just $75.

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