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2018 Adelaide Writers' Week picks

Adelaide Festival

More than 80 authors will converge on the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden for the six-day Adelaide Writers’ Week from Saturday. InDaily asked six Adelaide writers and festival guests to share the sessions they’re most looking forward to.

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Rachael Mead: This Writers’ Week program looks wonderful.  As an environmentalist and lover of literary fiction it will come as no surprise that I’m a huge fan of Barbara Kingsolver and on an excitement scale of one to 10 about seeing her in person on Tuesday, I’m at an 11. Two of the best Australian books I’ve read in the past year are Barking Dogs and Australia Day, so I’ll definitely be elbowing my way to the front to see the session with Rebekah Clarkson and Melanie Cheng on Tuesday morning. As a poetry lover, I’m very excited to hear the brilliant poet Australian Sarah Holland-Batt and American poet and memoirist Patricia Lockwood, and I also love the essays of Teju Cole so I’m very much looking forward to hearing him speak about his work on Saturday.
– Rachael, a poet and short story writer, is taking part in the Poetry Reading session at Writers’ Week on Tuesday at 5pm.

Anna Solding: The sessions I’m most excited about in 2018 are The Poisonwood Bible with Barbara Kingsolver (Tuesday, midday), as she is an amazing writer and champion for the environment, and The Trauma Cleaner with Sarah Krasnostein (10.45am, Thursday), as there is such a buzz surrounding this book. I’m also looking forward to hearing Teju Cole (Blind Spot, midday, Saturday) talking about photography and writing. Claire G Coleman and Jane Rawson will try to make sense of Australia’s colonial past in Seeking Refuge (2.30pm, Wednesday). Finally, I’m always thrilled to once again hear the hilarious Robert Dessaix (5pm, Wednesday) and Alexander McCall Smith (5pm, Thursday). Can’t wait!
– Anna is an author (The Hum of Concrete) and director of MidnightSun Publishing

Rebekah Clarkson: The whole program looks wonderful, but I am especially looking forward to hearing Patricia Lockwood. She has two sessions – one on Wednesday at 1.15pm and the other with Ashleigh Young on Monday 12pm. She’s a poet turned memoirist and a number of people recommended Priestdaddy to me before I finally read it over a three-day summer holiday. I laughed, read excerpts aloud to whoever would listen, and found it ultimately very moving. She’s funny and smart and compassionate. I’m also looking forward to the poetry reading on Tuesday afternoon. It’s an honour to be included in this event and the line-up of poets this year is excellent.
– Rebekah, author of the book Barking Dogs, is a guest at two Writers’ Week sessions – The Burbs (10.45am, Tuesday) and The Book That Changed My Life (2.30pm, Sunday) – and is chairing two other sessions.

Heather Taylor Johnson: If there is one session I cannot miss this Writers’ Week it has to be Barbara Kingsolver. For years she’s been a “safe place” for me, meaning if I pick up one of her books, I know what I’m in for and I just know I’m going to love it. Robert Dessaix is that way for me as a speaker. He’s so eloquent and deep, and one gets a sense he’s always being brutally honest with his interviewer and with himself. I’m expecting great things from both Pam Brown and Sarah Holland-Batt on the poetry side of things, as well as looking forward to the local poets’ showcase as part of the ABR’s States of Poetry. The Book That Changed My Life with Rebekah Clarkson, Sofie Laguna and Wendy Orr should be fun because I love it when writers get a chance to talk about being readers – being a reader, after all, is arguably the best thing about being a writer.
– Heather is a poet and novelist (Jean Harley Was Here and Pursuing Love & Death) who is currently writer-in-residence at the JM Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice.

Farrin Foster: “Small Towns” (March 3, 3.45pm), featuring Mark Brandi and Dervla McTiernan: Brandi’s Wimmera is a claustrophobic novel that accurately captures the strange, ominous sensations of small-town Australian living. This session, with Irish author McTiernan, should reveal insights about the Australian character in comparison to its UK counterparts. “What is Lost” (March 8, 3.45pm), featuring Sarah Holland-Batt and Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner: Jetnil-Kijiner’s urgent imagery of climate-change-driven destruction has been one of the few things to have global cut-through in that often pig-headed debate. She and fellow poet Sarah Holland-Batt are likely to offer incisive and compelling perspectives on things we often only understand in the abstract.
– Farrin Foster is editor of CityMag and will chair a Writers’ Week session on Thursday afternoon with Woman of Substances author Jenny Valentish.

Alison Flett: My absolute must-see for this year’s Writers’ Week is Sarah Holland-Batt. She’s a magnificent poet with a deep understanding of linguistic cadences: her poems sound really beautiful but they also make you see the world in a new way. I’m also excited about Rebekah Clarkson and Jennifer Mills, two wonderful fiction writers who excel in my favourite type of prose – the short story.
– Alison, a poet and editor, is taking part in the Poetry Reading session at Writers’ Week on Tuesday at 5pm.

Adelaide Writers’ Week outgoing director Laura Kroetsch has also shared her own quick picks with InDaily:

The 2018 Adelaide Writers’ Week will be in the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden from March 3-9. See the full program here.


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