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'An intellectual all you can eat': Melanie Saward, Lenora Thaker to curate Brisbane Writers Festival

Joseph Guenzler -

The Brisbane Writers Festival is back in 2024, promising an enriched program co-curated by special guest curators, Bigambul / Wakka Wakka woman Melanie Saward and Lenora Thaker from Erub and Mabuiag Islands.

Filled with captivating plot twists and engaging page-turners, this year's festival offers an unforgettable experience.

Scheduled from May 30 to June 2, their contributions ensure a diverse and dynamic lineup of events, showcasing the best in contemporary literature and storytelling.

"Brisbane writers festival has always been one of my favourite events of the year," Ms Saward said. 

"Even when I was just a student and wanted to be a writer, I loved going." 

The 2024 festival offers over 150 live events, including author talks, panel discussions, special events, and workshops.

Indigenous authors, including Daniel Browning, Jackie Huggins, Melissa Lucashenko, and Anita Heiss will contribute to the festival's cultural richness through panels and conversations, showcasing Australia's traditional storytelling and fostering connections.

"Anita and I are going to talk about blackfella romance novels and falling in love as a blackfella," Ms Saward said. 

"And we have some real deadly poets from around the place, sharing some poetry."

The Brisbane Writers Festival is back in 2024 with an exciting lineup featuring captivating stories and thrilling plots. (Image: BWF 2024)

The festival features more than 60 Brisbane authors and a star-studded lineup of national and international guests.

Most events take place at the Festival hub in the State Library of Queensland at the South Bank Cultural Precinct.

Australian headline authors including Melissa Lucashenko, Julia Baird, Kate Ceberano, Chris Hammer, and Trent Dalton will also attend the event.

International highlights include Booker Prize-shortlisted author Paul Murray, bestselling crime writer Michael Connelly, fantasy legend Naomi Novik, English novelist and screenwriter Louise Doughty, and superstar fantasy author Samantha Shannon.

After years of being an avid fan, Ms Saward has enjoyed her experience in curating this year's Brisbane Writers Festival (BWF).

"This is my first year doing the curation, which has been the most fun job ever," she said. 

"Making a list of my dream black fellas to come and talk about topics that I'm really interested in.

"My curation has really focused on inviting people into our joy as mob and things that are good about being a blackfella."

Aunty Barb Nicholson will also be present speaking on her work in Junee Correctional Centre. 

"Her work is so inspirational," Ms Saward said. 

"She's talking about her time in Junee jail with the mob in there and how shes helping them express themselves through writing."

BWF Artistic Director, Jackie Ryan said the 2024 program would serve up something for everyone, spanning every genre and bringing together some of the finest writers and thinkers today.

"Our slogan is ‘Have we got a story for you’", Ms Ryan said.

"And it’s a promise we’re keen to deliver on whether your appetite is for culture, science, sport, literature, politics, espionage, music, health, comedy, romance, performance, crime, history, poetry — or a combination of the above.

"We’re serving up a veritable buffet of writers and subject interests in 2024 and have set the conversational table with fine panel and chairing combinations for audiences to feast on."

Local favorites from Queensland include Trent Dalton, William McInnes, Anna McGahan, Samuel Wagan-Watson, Matthew Condon and more.

Sessions explore themes of politics, power, music, and fashion, with appearances by Megan Hess, Kate Ceberano, Ed Le Brocq, and Stuart Coupe.

Celebrated writer Charlotte Wood discusses her new novel Stone Yard Devotional, while the Marion Taylor Gala dinner at the Queensland Art Gallery’s Water Mall features bestselling English author Louise Doughty.

Word Play and Love YA cater to students from Prep to Year 12.

With a diverse program of author panels, speeches, and performances, the Festival promises a story for everyone.

Tickets go on sale from Thursday, March 21.

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