Politics Takes Centre Stage at MWF

With the Melbourne Writers Festival (MWF) kicking off this week, we caught up with the MWF team to see how the lit fest is putting politics under the microscope. 

“History is a war of storytellers” says Pulitzer Prize winning author and 2013 Melbourne Writers Festival guest Junot Díaz in a recent interview with The Age newspaper. And he’s right: literature and politics are more intertwined than you may think.

Consider the current Federal election. In their race for votes, both sides of politics appear to be weaving their own stories to the electorate while advancing their own ‘narratives’ for a future Australia.  It appears our leaders also have great authorial aspirations, with Tony Abbott releasing his own ebook and Kevin Rudd’s lengthy editorials in The Monthly.

The 2013 Melbourne Writers Festival brings together some of the sharpest political minds to unearth the human side of politics.

 Junot Díaz

Junot Díaz

Eminent speakers who’ll be taking a scalpel to Australia’s political landscape include former Labor leader Mark Latham on the future of the ALP, former Greens leader Bob Brown on the state of the environment, distinguished journalist Margaret Simons on the personal versus political divide of election reporting, and leading demographer Bernard Salt on the growth of multicultural Australia.

On a global scale, New York writer Junot Díaz will consider the universal relationship between literature and activism, leading ethicist Peter Singer will champion the idea of altruism in modern society and Jeremy Harding will plumb how far governments can patrol migration.

Jeremy Harding

Jeremy Harding

This election year, there’ll be no shortage of important issues to debate and discuss, including immigration. Gain an insight into living under a dictatorial regime or discover the loneliness an immigrant can face in a new land, through the books and words of Junot Diaz .  When asked about immigration, Diaz remarked in an interview with The Age, “There is no test you can take to prove you have a human soul, except do you grant other people humanity.”

To give you a taste of what to expect at his ‘In Conversation’ event at MWF, check out this video of Junot Díaz discussing his influences and approach to writing.

The Melbourne Writers Festival 2013 runs from Thu 22 Aug – Sun 1 Sep 2013 at ACMI, Federation Square and venues around Melbourne and Victoria. For more information visit the ACMI Website.

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