Tony Birch and Fiona Murphy

Tony Birch and Fiona Murphy bring their sharp minds and roving curiosity to the program this year with sessions that ask big questions and offer creative solutions.

Prolific and acclaimed author and poet Tony Birch (Dark as Last Night and Whisper Songs) explores knowledge, authority and the many ways a writer’s lived experience might inform their work.

How to Make a Basket: Weaving Words for Country Friday 20 May, 12–1pm

Festival Guest Curator Tony Birch speaks with three First Nations poets – Jazz Money, Anne-Marie Te Whiu and Evelyn Araluen – who have each woven images and stories about Country and our place in it.

Class Dismissed: At the Margins of Identity Saturday 21 May, 4–5pm

The myth of a classless society continues to be enshrined in Australia, despite obvious inequalities underpinning wealth and privilege. Festival Guest Curator Tony Birch speaks with George Haddad, Amy Thunig and Christos Tsiolkas about how class informs their work.


Award-winning Deaf writer Fiona Murphy (The Shape of Sound) invites us to challenge our assumptions and question our certainties with sessions that show how nothing turns the world on its head quite like a writer at play. 

On Second Thought Friday 20 May, 6.30–7.30pm

What if Twitter were a parlour game and you had a chance to rethink that thought? Festival Guest Curator Fiona Murphy is joined by Rick Morton and Amy Thunig as they debate which direction they want the conversation to go.

Paying Attention Sunday 22 May, 4–5pm

Being disabled means navigating a world not designed for you. Festival Guest Curator Fiona Murphy asks: what if we flipped the equation and people with disability and chronic illness and started charging for the expertise? Featuring Hannah Diviney, El Gibbs, Michelle Law and Fiona Wright.