Social issues

A Literary Feast

– by David Churack

The Perth Writers Festival, an annual event celebrating all forms of the written word held as part of this year’s Perth International Arts Festival, has concluded last week after delighting Perth’s literary crowd with in-depth discussions of literature and the inclusion of several famous writers as guests.

Among the more notable writers who made an appearance was Hilary Mantel, whose best-selling novel Wolf Hall, a work of historical fiction set in 1500s England and focussing on Thomas Cromwell’s rise to power, won a Booker Prize in 2009.

Another author who attracted a lot of attention was Elizabeth Gilbert, whose 2006 memoir Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia was made into a Hollywood film.

Various other public figures and celebrities were also in attendance. Noted Australian politician and former Greens party leader Bob Brown arrived to discuss his memoir, Optimism: Reflections on a Life in Action.

John Darnielle, primary member of the popular American indie folk band The Mountain Goats, and Jae Laffer from Australian band The Panics had an enthralling discussion about the connection between music and literature, concluding with Jae giving a live solo performance.

These events do not begin to describe the large amount of diverse workshops, seminars and discussions that were included within the festival, many of which were free to the public.

The Perth Writers Festival grew out of the larger Perth International Arts Festival, which was established in 1953 by a UWA Professor to be a ‘festival for the people’. The emphasis of the Perth Writers Festival as a part of Western Australia’s main cultural celebration demonstrates the importance many local citizens place on the written word.

And that definitely seems to be a cause for celebration.

Image credit: Perth Writers Festival brochure

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