Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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MWF Digital: a ‘balm’ for challenging times

The digital edition of the Melbourne Writers Festival (MWF), which ran from 7–16 August during Melbourne’s stage four lockdown, attracted around 34,200 attendees.

MWF sold 27,500 tickets to 41 online, ‘pay what you can’ sessions, plus 6700 tickets to four free, livestreamed events. Thirty percent of ticket-holders chose to pay $0, with those who did pay for sessions delivering five times the donations of the 2019 festival.

MWF Digital attracted 3000 interstate and 400 overseas viewers, with Julia Gillard’s session ‘Women and Leadership’ selling a total of 3200 tickets, and events with Kate Grenville and US writer Elizabeth Strout each attracting 2500 attendees.

The MWF gala event ‘Are You Paying Attention?’ and the session ‘Bubbly with Jam & Clare’, featuring Em Rusciano and Miranda Tapsell, both had audiences of around 2000. To date, 1850 viewers have watched schools program events and 1500 people have accessed MWF podcasts.

MWF associate director Gene Smith said, ‘The support from our community—attendees, donors, partners, and writers—has been astounding. That support not only showcases how important MWF is to Melbourne and its readers but reinforces its place as a major international literary event. We hope that being part of MWF Digital has been a much-needed balm to this challenging time.’

Last year’s festival, ‘When We Talk About Love‘, attracted 45,000 attendees across a program of 350 live events. A quarter of the program was free.

Michaela McGuire was recently announced as the new artistic director of MWF, and will take up the position after the conclusion of the 2020 festival.


Category: Local news