2018 Program

Pre-Festival Events

The Art of Discomfort – Homegrown Hobsons Bay

Free event hosted by Hobsons Bay Libraries – please book your seat through http://libraries.hobsonsbay.vic.gov.au or phone 1300 462 542 Homegrown Hobsons Bay writers put themselves on the line every time they put pen to paper and push through their comfort  zones to create new work. They constantly challenge bias and...
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The Poetry Bus to Mystery Places

Let Bruno Lettieri (Bruno Goes Everywhere) and friends take you on a magical mystery tour on The Poetry Bus. Leaving from the Williamstown Town Hall, the double-decker bus will tootle around Hobsons Bay, stopping at selected mystery locations for live poetry readings by Kristin Henry (the First Lady of The...
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Day 1
16 Jun 2018
Day 2
17 Jun 2018

The Ada Cambridge Prizes and Official Festival Opening

Join us for the announcement of the prestigious Ada Cambridge Prizes for Biographical Prose and Poetry and the Young Adas Short Story Prize, and the official opening of the Festival. Proudly supported by Waterline Place and Documents on Call. Free event, all welcome. Please pre-book your free tickets to secure...
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Beginnings and Extinctions with Josephine Wilson

Join us for a lively discussion about novel writing, families, mortality and redemption. Do we ‘create’ novels or do they grab us until we are compelled to tell their stories? Why does a great novel always make us think about who we are? Josephine Wilson’s second novel, Extinctions, called ‘a...
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Josephine Wilson
Sherryl Clark

Exciting Adventures with Alice-Miranda and Clementine Rose

Bestselling author, Jacqueline Harvey talks all things Alice-Miranda and Clementine Rose in this interactive session which will have the audience laughing out loud. Come along and hear all about the newest adventure in the series, Alice-Miranda in Scotland, with lots of madcap characters and old friends too. See what’s next...
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Jacqueline Harvey

Developing Ideas & Creating Characters in Words & Pictures

Photo – Sydney Morning Herald In this hands-on workshop, adults will work with author, illustrator and artist Leigh Hobbs to develop their picture book ideas. BYO black fineliner, 2B and coloured pencils. Full $40| Conc $37 | Early $35
Leigh Hobbs

Introduction to Kamishibai – Paper Theatre

Join us as comic-book author, graphic novelist, teacher and kamishibai artist, Bernard Caleo shares the origins and modern place of kamishibai or Japanese “paper theatre”. He’ll take us back to 1930s Japan to explore street performance and the intriguing history of this art form. Bernard’s talk will include a number...
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Bernard Caleo

Walking Home with Ailsa Piper

Ailsa Piper is a “triple threat” – a writer, actor and director – and in her funny and moving solo performance, based on her acclaimed travel memoir, Sinning Across Spain, all of her gifts are showcased. In the course of an hour, she brings to life her 1300km walk from...
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Ailsa Piper Willy Lit Fest
Ailsa Piper

Picture This – Big Ideas in Science

Join Sarah L’Estrange as she wrangles a panel of wildly talented writers, illustrators and scientists who use the graphic novel and comic book style to bring science to life. Lorna Hendry and Bernard Caleo (How to Win a Nobel Prize written with Barry Marshall) together with Dr Gregory Crocetti and Ailsa...
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Lorna Hendry
Ailsa Wild
Sarah L’Estrange
Gregory Crocetti
Bernard Caleo

A Man Called Yarra

A Man Called Yarra is an inspiring memoir of overcoming hardship and striving for a better life. Join Robert Hillman as he chats with Yorta Yorta man, Melbourne artist, musician, businessman and charity worker – Stan ‘Yarra’ Yarramunua. Stan ‘Yarra’ Yarramunua is a highly successful Melbourne artist, musician, businessman and...
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Stan Yarramunua
Robert Hillman

Enza Gandolfo – The Bridge

Demet Divaroren talks with Enza Gandolfo about her new novel, The Bridge. Join us as Enza shares her motivations for writing the book and some of her research. In 1970s Melbourne, 22-year-old Italian migrant Antonello is newly married and working as a rigger on the West Gate Bridge, a gleaming...
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Enza Gandolfo
Demet Divaroren

Things My Garden Taught Me

Like every adventure, Things My Garden Taught Me is a tale of battles won and lost. With whimsy, reflection, and literary allusion Gabrielle Baldwin explores what she has learnt about life – and death – from her South Gippsland bush garden. She chats with garden writing expert Anne Latreille, author...
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Anne Latreille
Gabrielle Baldwin

John Spooner and Mark Knight – Cartoonists in Conversation

Get inside the minds of two of Australia’s finest cartoonists. John Spooner and Mark Knight usually let their pictures do the talking and, drawing on over 70 years of combined experience, have captured the highs and lows of Australian life. This time they come together at Willy Lit Fest to...
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Mark Knight
John Spooner

Elizabeth Macarthur – A Life at the Edge of the World

Michelle Scott Tucker shines a light on an often-overlooked aspect of Australia’s history in this fascinating story of a remarkable woman as she chats with Georgina Arnott. In 1788 a young gentlewoman raised in the vicarage of an English village married a handsome, haughty and penniless army officer. In any...
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Michelle Scott Tucker
Georgina Arnott

Poetry – Alive and Kicking

Take a whole new look at (and listen to) poetry, when the Willy Lit Fest brings you three of Melbourne’s most dynamic and inspiring young women performance poets. Experience three vivid and distinctive performances, followed by an opportunity to discuss the writers’ art and inspirations. Amy Bodossian is a critically-acclaimed...
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Soreti Kadir
Amy Bodossian
Emilie Zoey Baker
Dr Chris Ringrose

Start Writing: How to Get Started on Any Writing Project

Staring at a blank page is hard. Procrastination, fear and not knowing where or how to start can defeat you before you begin. Experienced writers from the team at Writers Victoria will give you tips and tricks to help you get started and keep going on any writing project. The...
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Writers Victoria

Interviewing Techniques for Memoir and Family History

Everyone has a story to tell, we just need to ask the right questions. In this workshop Melbourne writer and editor, Anna Brasier will show you how to plan, prepare and conduct an interview; gather your facts, and create the story. Participants will research, prepare and plan an interview, create...
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Anna Brasier

The Thrill of Death and Destruction

Crime fiction has overtaken romance as the top-selling genre – what is it that we want from crime, mysteries and thrillers? Is it excitement or justice? Why do authors write crime fiction – what are their darkest and funniest influences? We’ll discuss tension, plotting, villains and global chaos in this...
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James Phelan
Sarah Bailey
Sherryl Clark

Putting on the Frighteners!

Almost everyone has a scary fairy tale from their childhood they’ve never forgotten. What’s yours? While parents want to protect their children from being scared, more and more evidence is showing that facing your fears through story is empowering, exhilarating and therapeutic. We’ll look at the role of scary fairy...
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Sherryl Clark

Kamishibai Stories for Kids – A Show for all Ages

Kamishibai or ‘paper theatre’ is a Japanese street storytelling art using picture cards framed in a wooden box or stage. Popular in the 1930s, the storytellers mounted their stages onto bicycles and delivered stories to children. With the advent of television, kamishibai became less popular and the storytellers applied their...
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Tetsuta Watanabe
Anna Manuel
Dani Bücheler-Scott
Jackie Kerin

Working Mums: Managing Children, Work and Life

Compiled by two Australian mums, Danielle Ross Walls and Louise Correcha, to help support other parents, Working Mums: Stories by real women on how they manage children, work and life is a collection of empowering stories from Australian mothers. The book’s primary aim is to help working mums feel less...
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Maria Smith
Danielle Ross Walls
Tiffany Gilmour
Louise Correcha
Rhiannon Colarossi
Mel Butel
Amanda Abel

The Saturday Ladies’ Bridge Club

Alison Stuart, Denise Ogilvie, Ebony McKenna, Carol Challis, Sara J. Wolfe and Eliza Renton, are all published romance novelists. Over lunch one day they discovered they had ghostly connections and as a result decided to write a book together. The result is The Hauntings of Livingstone Hall and now they...
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Sara J. Wolfe
Alison Stuart
Eliza Renton
Denise Ogilvie
Ebony McKenna
Carol Challis

Reason and Lovelessness – Barry Hill in Conversation

Barry Hill is a poet and historian who has won Premier’s Awards for poetry, non-fiction and the essay. ‘This wonderful, mysterious and compelling collection of essays prompts us to consider Barry Hill’s unusual place in Australian letters…The essays are like jewels in a necklace, each glistening with its own beauty...
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Barry Hill
Richard Tanter

Eden Book Launch by Jonathan Griffiths

Set in the immediate future, and told from multiple points of view, Eden is an escapist fantasy, a commentary on planet Earth’s woes and a crime thriller. Jonathan Griffiths cordially invites you to the launch of Eden. Please RSVP to jamrag@optusnet.org.au Jonathan Griffiths first came to fame as the lead...
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Jonathan Griffiths

Stereo Stories in Concert at Williamstown Town Hall

Doors open 7.30pm. Show 8.00pm to 10.00pm including interval. Drinks at bar prices, BYO light supper. Cabaret seating. Born and raised at the Willy Lit Fest, Stereo Stories is a charming and compelling concert of music and memoir. For its fifth annual Willy Lit Fest show The Stereo Stories Band will...
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Emilie Zoey Baker
Vin Maskell
Lucia Nardo
Andy Griffiths

Sunday Morning Fun with Andy Griffiths

Come on a tour of the treehouse with children’s author, Andy Griffiths. All questions will be answered, (even the silly ones). Andy will be signing books after his talk. Expected to sell out quickly – bookings essential! Please note that this sessions starts at 10.00am. Andy Griffiths is one of...
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Andy Griffiths

Graeme Simsion & Anne Buist – Two Steps Forward

Join Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist as they talk to Maria Haughey about their smart, funny and romantic novel, Two Steps Forward. A story of renewal—physical, psychological and spiritual. It’s about the challenge of walking a long distance and of working out where you are going. And it’s about what...
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Graeme Simsion
Anne Buist
Maria Haughey

Martin Flanagan – A Wink from the Universe

The Western Bulldogs’ 2016 premiership came from nowhere. A club with no luck, no stars, no right to win, they swept to victory on a tide of nationwide goodwill. Martin Flanagan talks to John Harms about A Wink from the Universe –a book about how a group of people can...
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Martin Flanagan
John Harms

The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree

Shortlisted for the Stella Prize, The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree is an extraordinarily powerful and evocative literary novel set in Iran in the period immediately after the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Using the lyrical magic realism style of classical Persian storytelling, Shokoofeh Azar draws the reader deep into the...
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Lisa Hill
Shokoofeh Azar

The Secrets of Successful Picture Book Writing

Writing children’s picture book texts can be deceptively tricky. In this hands-on workshop children’s picture book author and editor Sue Whiting will provide her five top tips for successful picture book writing. This workshop is for those who are keen to develop their craft and who wish to give their...
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Sue Whiting

New Fiction: Little Gods with Jenny Ackland

Heralded as a rare, original and stunning novel about a remarkable girl who learns the hard way that the truth doesn’t always set you free.The setting is the Mallee, wide flat scrubland in north-western Victoria, country where men are bred quiet, women stoic and the gothic is never far away....
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Rose Mulready
Jenny Ackland

George Orwell – The Last Man in Europe

As he lay dying, George Orwell summoned his publisher Fred Warburg to his bedside. No longer capable of holding a pen, the writer dictated a message to the public about the world of his new novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four. ‘Don’t let it happen,’ he concluded. ‘It depends on you.’ April, 1947....
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Dennis Glover
Dr Chris Ringrose

Sofie Laguna – The Choke with Ailsa Piper

The Choke is a brilliant, haunting and uplifting novel about a child navigating an often dark and uncaring world of male power and violence, in which grown-ups can’t be trusted and comfort can only be found in nature. This compassionate and claustrophobic vision of a child in danger and a...
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Sofie Laguna
Ailsa Piper Willy Lit Fest
Ailsa Piper

Spies, Lies and Mysteries: Meet Kensy and Max!

Ever wondered what it takes to be a spy? Bestselling children’s author Jacqueline Harvey reveals how to be a successful sleuth, and the inspiration behind her newest characters, 11-year-old twins Kensy and Max. What would you do if you woke up in a strange place? If your whole life changed...
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Jacqueline Harvey

The Writer’s Journal with Anna Brasier

This workshop really is in the spirit of our of “From Little Things…” All great writing has to start somewhere! Your journal might just be that somewhere. A journal is a great way to gather your thoughts and keep a collection of inspirations for your writing. From the blank page...
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Anna Brasier

Voyage of the Southern Sun with Michael Smith

‘The blue-sky dreaming of Walter Mitty, the resourcefulness of Phileas Fogg and – dare I say it? – the over-confidence and geniality of Mr Toad in a flying machine. Surely these literary figures were the inspiration for such an adventure. A marvellous exploit and wonderfully told.’ —A.J. Mackinnon, author The...
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Rob Brown
Michael Smith

The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted

Robert Hillman is the award winning, internationally published author and co-author of more than one hundred works of fiction, biography, autobiography and history including Joyful, The Mouth That Roared and The Rugmaker of Mazar-e-Sharif. Join Lucia Nardo as she chats with Robert about his latest novel, The Bookshop of the...
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Robert Hillman
Lucia Nardo

The Things We Do (to develop craft and career)

You’ve written, edited, rewritten and polished the manuscript. Now increase your chances of publication by understanding how the industry really works. Join two successful authors, Claire Saxby and Sue Whiting in conversation about the ways their various jobs (both writing and non-writing) have informed their writing and contributed to their...
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Sue Whiting
Claire Saxby

Alice Pung – On John Marsden with Bruno Lettieri

In her book, On John Marsden, Alice Pung writes about one of her biggest influences – the much-loved and highly successful writer, John Marsden. Alice and John talk to Bruno Lettieri and shed new light on the craft of writing. Talking about the book Alice writes: ‘I keep coming back...
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John Marsden
Alice Pung
Bruno Lettieri

Pompey Elliott at War: In His Own Words

Hundreds of Australian first-person narratives of World War 1 have been published, but none more riveting than this one. Hear Dr Ross McMullin bring General Pompey Elliott’s words to life as we discover this exceptional military leader through his frank and moving wartime letters and diaries and learn about a...
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Ross McMullin

Kamishibai Workshop for Children with Anna Manuel

In this hands-on workshop Anna Manuel will teach children how to create a Japanese paper theatre and perform their own story. We’ll explore the nature of kamishibai story-telling with pictures and words and kids will take home a paper frame which they can re-use for more stories. Suitable for 6-12...
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Anna Manuel

The Amazing Case of Doctor Ward and Other Stories

When you spread your picnic rug under the golden elm in the Williamstown Botanic Gardens, do you ever ask the question: how did this and other exotic plants come to be in Australia? Storyteller, Jackie Kerin and musician, Sarah Depasquale, believe that it’s quite possible that the answer lies in...
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Jackie Kerin
Sarah Depasquale

Has Facebook Killed Citizen Journalism?

HAS FACEBOOK KILLED CITIZEN JOURNALISM? Citizen Journalism, Community Journalism – What happens when social media replaces other forms of media? What does the future hold? Come along and join in on this fascinating discussion with Derek Green (The Westsider) and panel. This panel will consider: What is citizen journalism? Is...
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Kelly Kayne
Melissa Longo
David Llewellyn
Derek Green

Love and Madness – Writing from the Heart

Paula Keogh’s The Green Bell is a lyrical and profoundly moving story about love and madness. Justin Heazlewood’s Get Up Mum is a beautifully endearing, entertaining book about love, family, mental illness and coming-of-age. Janice Simpson chats with two authors writing powerful memoir that shines a tender light on living...
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Justin Heazlewood
Paula Keogh
Janice Simpson

How the West was One

Join editors Sue O’Brien and Karyn Howie, together with Josephine Cafagna, Carmel Taig, Lucia Nardo, Kevin Harrington and other contributors as they celebrate the richness of working class childhoods. How the West was One is a beautiful collection of post World War II memoirs from these writers and many more. In the...
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Kevin Harrington
Carmel Taig
Karyn Howie
Sue O’Brien
Josephine Cafagna

People’s Choice Awards

Free event, bookings required. A much loved festival favourite that sees local writers from the western suburbs reading a piece of poetry or prose which they written. At the end of the event the audience votes on whoes work they enjoyed most – who was the most interesting, entertaining or...
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Dr Chris Ringrose
Anna Brasier

Let’s Talk Books

Free event – no bookings required. Meet with like minded readers to talk about books and authors at this year’s Willy Lit Fest. Get together with new freind, share ideas, literary memories and reading recommendations. Whatever you like to read, we’d love to hear about it. This event is facilitated...
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A Curious Mind with Greg Baum

Well known for his expansive journalism across a long career in newspapers, Walkley award winning Greg Baum, author, chief sports columnist and associate editor with The Age is a man with wide interests and a curious mind. Greg Baum has been a journalist for 40 years, the last 29 at The...
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Greg Baum
Bruno Lettieri

Anaesthesia – The Gift of Oblivion

Until 170 years ago many people chose death over the ordeal of surgery. Now hundreds of thousands undergo operations every day. Anaesthesia has made it possible. Kate Cole-Adams talks with Sarah L’Estrange about her book Anaesthesia: The Gift of Oblivion and the Mystery of Consciousness. You know how it is...
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Kate Cole-Adams
Sarah L’Estrange

The Crappiest Refugee with Hung Le

Join us as comedian and author, Hung Lee chats with Stella Kinsella about “The Crappiest Refugee and treats us to a stand up session to close the festival. On the last day of the Vietnam War, nine-year-old Hung jumped on a leaking prawn trawler on the Saigon River, somehow cheating...
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Hung Le
Stella Kinsella

rePresenting Nature – Book Launch with Janet Howie

Janet Howie is a writer, poet and botanical artist who lives in Williamstown. Janet’s latest book, rePresenting Nature, showcases two of Janet’s loves: botanical art and poetry. The book consists of twenty pairs of Janet’s poems and her paintings; seven haiga (haiku paired with a painting) and an essay, ’Art...
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Janet Howie
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