RMIT and Melbourne Writers Festival join literary forces

RMIT and Melbourne Writers Festival join literary forces

RMIT has partnered with the 2019 Melbourne Writers Festival to host a series of events that will bring the City of Literature to life.

For more than three decades Melbourne Writers Festival (MWF) has brought together the best writers, thinkers and performers from Australia and the world to revel in the power of words.

RMIT has been part of this celebration for the past six years, thanks to a special partnership dedicated to fostering bright young literary talent and cementing Melbourne’s reputation for cultural and creative excellence.

WrICE writers including Andy Butler (left) and Saaro Umar (second from right).

In addition to co-curating another exciting series of events, RMIT will, for the first time this year, host MWF events in some of its most impressive cultural venues, including the recently revitalised The Capitol, Melbourne's iconic Chicago Gothic theatre designed by Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahoney.

Associate Dean Writing and Publishing Associate Professor Francesca Rendle-Short said that this year’s partnership and program with Melbourne Writers Festival represented a deepening of an important relationship.

“This exciting program showcases the talent and contemporary relevance of writing and publishing at RMIT,” Rendle-Short said.

“Through the playful sharing of personal and cultural stories, the writers in this program are delighting in experimentation and the possibilities of engaging with a festival audience.”

Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, writer-performer and dramaturge Dr Peta Murray will present one of the exciting co-curated events, On Loss: A Public Re/w/write, at RMIT’s Foresters Hall on 31 August and 7 September.

Dr Peta Murray will invite participants to make new meaning as part of the On Loss: A Public Re/w/write event.

The event will invite MWF participants to make new meaning from the raw materials of their own life experience, grief and loss, through experimentation with creative writing and communal story-making.

Murray said the show extends on her performance essay practice developed during her doctorate.

“The show is about what happens when we bring a group of people and their life stories together and find a vehicle that allows those stories and memories to intersect,” she said.

RMIT will also co-present The Particular is the Universal on Friday 6 September, a shared performance between emerging Singaporean writers and creative writing students at RMIT.

The result of an intercultural collaboration studio as part of the Bachelor of Arts (Creative Writing), the event will feature RMIT students will performing alongside emerging literary voices from Singapore, including Singapore National Arts Council Young Artist of the Year (Literature) Alvin Pang.

School of Media and Communication guest lecturer and author Sreedhevi Iyer coordinated the intercultural collaboration studio as part of the Bachelor of Arts (Creative Writing).

“Just as I'm conscious that our RMIT students might experience something different to what they are usually exposed to in their writing world, I'm also hopeful that the Singaporean writers will encounter a specific strangeness that is different to what they understand about this place,” Iyer said.

RMIT's non/fictionLab research group and not-for-profit literary publishing organisation and industry partner The Lifted Brow will co-present a public lecture series, Brow Talks, that aims to present interesting speakers thinking deeply about passionate topics for a general audience.

Incubated and sponsored by RMIT Writing and Publishing, the Writers Immersion and Cultural Exchange Program (WrICE) will bring together Asian and Australian Writers for several MWF events, including Writers Across Borders, West Writers x WrICE, and the launch of their latest anthology, The Near and the Far, Volume 2, a collection of the best writers from the Asia-Pacific region published by Scribe Publications.

Internationally-renowned writers including RMIT Writing and Publishing Adjunct Professor Yankunytjatjara writer Ali Cobby Eckermann, RMIT alumni Rajith Savanadasa and Andy Butler, Oromo poet and editor Saaro Umar are set to feature as part of the events alongside WrICE writers Christos Tsiolkas, playwright Michele Lee and international writers Bernice Chauly and Norman Erikson Pasibaru.

Melbourne Writers Festival will run from 30 August – 8 September 2019. View the full program here.

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Story: Ali Barker and Jasmijn van Houten

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