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Lahiri, Nelson, Dabiri announced as first guests for MWF 2021

The Melbourne Writers Festival (MWF), to run from 3–12 September, has announced the first guests for its 2021 event, which will include a mix of digital and in-person sessions.

Pulitzer Prize winner Jhumpa Lahiri will discuss her new novel Whereabouts (Bloomsbury), composed in Lahiri’s adopted language of Italian and translated by the author into English;  Maggie Nelson will appear live from Los Angeles to talk about her latest work On Freedom (Jonathan Cape, September) exploring the concept of freedom in the spheres of art, sex, drugs and climate; and Emma Dabiri will discuss What White People Can Do Next (Penguin Press, June), ‘a game-changing interrogation of the anti-racist genre, and why we must challenge the construction of race’, according to MWF.

The festival, which celebrates its 35th birthday this year, will take place at the State Library of Victoria in Melbourne, and is the first under new artistic director Michaela McGuire. Following a digital-only festival in 2020, the 2021 event will retain the ‘pay what you can’ ticketing model introduced during the Covid-19 lockdown, and a quarter of the live program will be free.

‘This is a milestone year for MWF, and our program is a befitting celebration,’ said McGuire. ‘We’re showcasing the finest minds, both here and abroad, who are shaping and challenging the conversations that we most urgently need to have as a city, as a country, and with ourselves.

‘We are so grateful for the support Melburnians showed for MWF Digital in the dark days of lockdown. We cannot wait to welcome readers, writers and thinkers back for more incredible international conversations online, alongside a huge program of live events, showcasing the staggering talent of Australian writers in the magnificent State Library Victoria.’

Tickets for Lahiri, Nelson and Dabiri are on sale now, and the full festival program will be announced 28 July. The MWF schools program was announced on 5 May. For more information see the MWF website.


Category: Local news