Announcing the Manly Writers' Festival program

Announcing the Manly Writers' Festival program

Welcome to 2024! We haven't cluttered up inboxes in January so we're happy to bring you all our latest news for the first time this year. We trust you enjoyed your festive season.

In March we have four books being released, three of which will feature at the inaugural Manly Writers' Festival which we are putting together - and it is the festival we write to you about today.

Whether you're a local to where we are based, around the Manly area of Sydney, or from elsewhere in Sydney or NSW, or interstate, we have put together a terrific program for the first festival.

It started as an idea at the fourth Football Writers' Festival in July last year: as a local publisher, we were aware of local writers who didn't necessarily get an opportunity to talk about their books. So we are proudly local in terms of who we feature, but also national, and even a little bit international.

Featuring more than 80 authors, writers and session hosts across more than 40 conversations, the festival is an opportunity for readers and thinkers to attend a literary festival that is intimate, accessible, and gives a platform to local and emerging authors, as well as high profile and established literary names.

The festival kicks-off in the evening of Thursday March 14th with the first of four special events, An Evening with Thomas Keneally AO, one of Australia’s most celebrated and credentialled authors, hosted by Hamish Macdonald at the Hotel Steyne.

Then we venture through subjects, people, and places in a celebration of storytelling that has something for everyone.

Friday March 15th sees another of the special events with a LOLA Breakfast – a breakfast Beachside at the Manly Pacific Mgallery to Love Our Local Authors.

Our Friday is filled with grace, diversity, leadership, activism, women’s brain health, the impact of Covid-19 on our children, a literary life through the eyes of an agent and emerging fiction writers, and a travel writing workshop. Those we’ll hear from include Julia Baird, Catherine Fox AM, Dr Maggie Kirkman, Emeritus Professor John Maynard, Craig Foster AM, Dr Sarah McKay, Professor Kim Cornish, and Lou Johnson to name a few.

Friday evening sees another special event with the Manly Literary Salon at the Manly Spirits Distillery in Brookvale. This incorporates the launch of local novelist Jill Valentine’s debut novel High Heels and Low Blows, as well as a poetry reading featuring Michele Seminara, Dr Luke Fischer, Zeina Issa, and Cocoa Deep-Amek. To help set the literary salon vibe, there’s also Jazz with Kate.

Saturday March 16th is an even bigger exhibition of the power of storytelling in all its forms.

For lovers of fiction, there is something every hour with the fiction genres covered including real life, historical, romance, comedy, literature, and thrillers. Celebrated fiction writers include Genevieve Gannon, Robert Gott, Miranda Jagger, and Tim Ayliffe.

Throughout the rest of the program we meander through travel, memoirs (about professional sport, sexism in the workplace and grief), true crime, the Matildas and women’s sport, sport and society, the 1980 Cold War Olympics, Jewish life, Trump’s America, NSW politics, the media, women’s health, the myth surrounding Ned Kelly, and the winner of the Prime Minister’s 2023 Literary Non-Fiction award about (an unexpected) life on a farm.

Taking us through this journey includes Ben Groundwater, Jeanne Ryckmans, Emily Eklund Power, Sam Vincent, Mirandi Riwoe, Andy Bernal, Dr Hunter Fujak, Paul Farrell, Michelle Ford Eriksson MBE, and Dr Constantine Campbell along with Professor Victoria Haskins, Julian Linden, Lia Harris, Darren Mara, and Michael West.  

In a program littered with highlights, one worth noting is 16-time Walkley award winning journalist Nick McKenzie talking about his work in investigating Ben Roberts-Smith and his recent book Crossing the Line. Nick will be in conversation with the ABC’s Sarah Dingle.

To close the inaugural festival, Michael Brissenden will host a Q&A-style session on Geopolitical Dynamics on the evening of Saturday March 16th, featuring winner of the Walkley Book of the Year Antony Loewenstein, and other foreign policy commentators and experts Allan Behm, Professor Mark Edele, Edward Acton Cavanough, and Dr Lachlan Strahan. 

The festival also includes nine sessions for young people from school years 3 to 10 inclusive which starts with a Welcome to Country and features local authors Pip Harry and Zena Shapter, as well as Liz Deep-Jones, Ursula Dubosarsky, Carla Fitzgerald and Will Kostakis. 

The main festival venue is the Darley Smith Building, which is part St Matthew’s Church on the corner of Darley Road and The Corso in Manly.

Gleebooks will be on-site for the Friday and Saturday, along with a festival barista. Author book signings will take place within the bookshop after each session.

Tickets for the general sessions are $20, while Special Events range from $30-$75. Tickets are available exclusively via the Manly Writers' Festival website.

Check out the program and follow the links to buy tickets

Any profits from ticket sales will be shared between the festival’s two charity partners, the Literacy for Life Foundation, an Aboriginal-led adult literacy charity, and the Northern Beaches Community Cancer Charity which helps people living with cancer on the Northern Beaches.

Books for everyone!

Hear from Michelle Ford about Turning the Tide