134,000 attend AWW 2018; Krasnostein tops bestsellers
Adelaide Writers’ Week (AWW) has reported 134,000 people attended the 2018 festival, which ran from 3 to 8 March.
Attendance was up slightly compared to last year’s event, which recorded an attendance figure of 132,000. More than 80 international and Australian authors took part in a program that included 102 free sessions over six days.
This was the last AWW under the direction of Laura Kroetsch, who included among her 2018 highlights an ‘extraordinary’ session with US author Barbara Kingsolver, which attracted more than 2000 people, as well as events with Sarah Krasnostein, A C Grayling and George Megalogenis discussing the future of democracy.
Kroetsch said some of her personal highlights included hosting an event with author Eva Horning and hearing American writer Michael Farris Smith read from The Fighter. Kroetsch added: ‘For me personally, I’m proud to have presented so many [debut female authors], both fiction and nonfiction, and to see a book in translation in our top 10 bestsellers. I have always sought to make this event a place to discover new writers, and this year we certainly did that.’
As previously reported by Books+Publishing, Sydney Writers’ Festival (SWF) CEO Jo Dyer will take up the role of director of AWW in June, while Kroetsch will direct a new ‘literature, film and ideas’ program at Tasmania’s midwinter festival Dark Mofo.
This year’s festival was dedicated to children’s author Mem Fox, who appeared at an in-conversation event with Ruth Clarke on 5 March, as well as featuring in the kids’ weekend program. Fox joins past dedicatees Brenda Niall, Robert Dessaix, Margo Lanagan and Christopher Koch.
This year, the festival also partnered with participating schools, retirement villages and libraries to live stream a wide range of its sessions from 5 to 7 March.
As in previous years, Imprints was the festival bookseller for AWW. A spokesperson for the bookseller said they were ‘very pleased’ with the results of this year’s festival, noting strong overall sales for nonfiction. This was reflected in the top 10 bestsellers, where six of the top 10 titles were nonfiction books.
‘Overall, festival-goers purchased broadly and appreciated the diversity and talent of authors on show,’ said the bookseller. ‘As always, Adelaide Writers’ Week offers an opportunity for the reading public to not only see their favourite authors in conversation, but to discover those new writers who might go on to be their next favourite.’
The top 10 bestselling titles were:
- The Trauma Cleaner (Sarah Krasnostein, Text)
- Silent Invasion (Clive Hamilton, Hardie Grant)
- Home Fire (Kamila Shamsie, Bloomsbury)
- Democracy and Its Crisis (A C Grayling, Oneworld)
- Draw Your Weapons (Sarah Sentilles, Text)
- The Fact of a Body (Alexandria Marzano Lesnevich, Pan Macmillan)
- The Ruin (Dervla McTiernan, HarperCollins)
- Desperation Road (Michael Farris Smith, Little, Brown)
- Gachar Chochar (Vivek Shanbhag, Penguin)
- The Wonder of Birds (Jim Robbins, Black Inc.)