Festival Program

Day 1
18 Jun 2021
Day 2
19 Jun 2021
Day 3
20 Jun 2021

Cosy Bedtime Stories

Reckon you’re too old for a bedtime story? Never! There’s nothing better than rugging up in your comfiest clothes, enjoying a warm drink and relaxing while you listen to a story being read aloud. The children’s librarians have teamed up with Julie Anne Grasso, Homegrown Hobsons Bay author and half...
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Julie Anne Grasso

Opening Night

“It is my soul that calls upon my name; How silver-sweet sound lovers’ tongues by night like softest music to attending ears!” — William Shakespeare Join two of Melbourne’s best minds and marvellous wordsmiths in a session devoted to the spoken word. Speakola curator, author and presenter Tony Wilson takes...
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Tony Wilson
Tony Birch

Walking Circles

Hone your eyes to old signage, details of architecture, traces of the past, and secrets hidden in plain sight. Join Nick Gadd, author of Melbourne Circle: Walking, Memory and Loss, on a psycho-geographic walk around Williamstown, and find out how place and stories are intertwined; take in some the Street...
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Nick Gadd

Street Libraries

Curious about Street Libraries? How to get one? Build one? Host one? Street Libraries are boxes attached to a property that provide small, free book exchanges for the community to use. They create community connections and increase a love of literacy in neighbourhoods. Hobsons Bay boasts over thirty Street Libraries...
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Truganini – walking through the myth

‘A book of unquestionable national importance’ – Professor Henry Reynolds, University of Tasmania. Have you ever wondered why an area of Hobsons Bay is devoted to the name Truganina? Truganini’s story has made her an international icon for a monumental tragedy, yet how much about her life do you actually...
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Catherine Lewis
Cassandra Pybus

Counting our blessings: How to convey the lived experience to the lucky country

Alice Pung (One Hundred Days, Unpolished Gem) was born in Footscray a month after her parents Kuan and Keen arrived in Australia. Alice’s father, Kuan – a survivor of Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime – named her after Lewis Carroll’s character because after surviving the Killing Fields, he thought Australia...
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Bruno Lettieri
Yout A. Alaak
Shokoofeh Azar
Alice Pung

The Women and the Girls

2020 and 2021 have been watershed moments; times of great change. The stunning scenes of Black Lives Matter and the #MeToo Movement have made us spectators to history happening under our porchlight. The 1970’s was also a time of social change and upheaval and some pretty seemly fashion statements. From...
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Laura Bloom
Sarah L’Estrange

You are what you read: Diversity in children’s books

Our world is forever changing and the books we share with our children need to reflect this. Books can be transformative and they can be affirming; they are windows into other worlds and mirrors into our own. Join our panel of experts to hear their thoughts about the power of...
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Michael Earp
Nevo Zisin
Cal Wilson
Amal Abou-Eid

Sea of Dreamers – Homegrown Hobsons Bay authors

“We wrapped our dreams in words and patterned the words so that they would live forever, unforgettable.” – Neil Gaiman On seas of words we dream, the writer navigating through stormy, unexpected waters and tranquil silent seas. Join Homegrown Hobsons Bay authors, Nicholas Abdilla, Helen Penrose, Vicki Milliken  and H....
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HC Gildfind
Nicholas Abdilla
Vicki Milliken
Helen Penrose

The Song of the Crocodile

You can hear the music in this novel; it seems to sing off the page. Even a tin ear could make a tune from these words. Yuwaalaraay woman Nardi Simpson comes to Melbourne to celebrate her debut novel, the stunning Song of the Crocodile. Winner of the Black&Write 2018 fellowship,...
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Nelly Thomas
Nardi Simpson

The Ada Cambridge Writing Awards 2021

Come along to the celebration of the annual statewide Ada Cambridge Writing Prizes 2021 and the inaugural Jennifer Burbidge Writing Prize. Join Adas’ judges Lis Grove and Dr Chris Ringrose as they announce the winners for the Biographical Prose, Poetry and the Young Ada awards. The winner of the inaugural...
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Lis Grove
Chris Ringrose

The Vision Splendid – Every crowd has a silver lining…

Swan in, in silver, to be part of the inaugural Vision Splendid, live on stage in Williamstown’s gorgeous Ballroom. Come be part of the unmasked scene of Melbourne with the much-loved everyman – Dave O’Neil hosting an evening of sparkling conversation and throwing in a few curve balls for the...
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Cal Wilson
Dave O’Neil
Dr Karl Kruszelnicki
Jacinta Parsons
Simi Genzuik
Dean’s Martini
Leigh Hobbs

How to be an Author

In this online event featuring How to Be an Author, Fremantle Press takes you behind the scenes with some great life hacks for an author in Australia. Over three panels filled with practical advice and tips to help you on the path to publication, Holden Sheppard will be in conversation...
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Holden Sheppard

Surfing Science: Hang Ten at 10

As if by apparating, the great Dr Karl Kruszelnicki bursts live onto the big screen in the Ballroom at the Williamstown Town Hall, offering answers to all the questions you never expected to ask: Why is sharpening a pencil in space a risky business? What makes a sunset red and...
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Dr Karl Kruszelnicki
Stella Kinsella

Cast Your Eyes Astern

Come along and celebrate the launch of Cast Your Eyes Astern. Cast Your Eyes Astern is the fifth attempt to publish a documented history of the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria. A history of the Club was written during the 1940s and another brief history was printed in 2003. Two...
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Ann Goodwin

STEM Stars

“Science, for me, gives a partial explanation for life” – Rosalind Franklin, an overlooked female figure who helped uncover the structure of DNA. So why are there so few women recognised in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)? Since Wild Dingo Press produced their STEM stars series...
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Rebecca Lim
Emily Gale
Elena Turner
Claire Saxby

Infinite Splendours – Roiling turbulence

“I see far more in the countryside than charm. I see infinite splendours.” Reading the novel, one can actually feel the shape of the land, the sunshine, the cloud cover; the tragedy and heartache. Complexity reveals itself, just as in a painting slowly layered, and in the character of the...
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Sofie Laguna
Bruno Lettieri

Channelling your Creativity…strolling with the senses

Join multi-published, award-winning local author, Alison Stuart on a ‘sensory’ exploration of Williamstown. As a writer you want to transport your readers to another time, another place and embed them in that fictional world, show them what the characters are living alongside, seeing, and smelling. One critical tool you have...
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Alison Stuart

Tough Guy Book Club

Join the goons of Tough Guy Book Club who know a thing or two about drinking beers and reading books to have your questions answered at this excellent event. Hear readings from classic Australian novels that have been expertly matched with outstanding Australian beers. Presented by the Tough Guy Book...
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The Believer: Encounters with Love, Death & Faith and Sarah Krasnostein

The world spins ever faster on ever smaller dimes and we, with vertigo, watch in the bottom of a crucible, wondering when it will all fall in on itself. Award-winning author of The Trauma Cleaner, Sarah Krasnostein gets in deep with 2019 festival guest Into the Fire’s Sonia Orchard as...
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Sarah Krasnostein
Sonia Orchard

Under the Milky Way tonight…

What happens to contemporary and speculative fiction authors when reality overtakes prescience? Three profoundly creative YA authors meet local writer Matt Davies to discuss how they use their writing to help unpack the social, political and environmental realities of our world and how they balance this with themes that inspire...
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Matt Davies
Amie Kaufman
Holden Sheppard
Lili Wilkinson

The People’s Choice Awards

An annual festival favourite, the People’s Choice returns to the Pirate’s Tavern on Sunday June 20 at 4pm. After a successful albeit curious Zoom event last year, winners were rewarded for originality, presentational and brevity! This year we encourage each presenter to spend four minutes exploring the silver lining of...
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Chris Ringrose

Thirty Years in the Making

What is it that keeps a writer writing? Three decades in the making for Nikolai the Perfect. Williamstown entity Jim McIntyre’s debut novel was published in September 2020 – a COVID book. It had been scheduled to launch at Willy Lit Fest 2020, but COVID got in the Festival’s way...
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Bram Presser
Jim McIntyre

Heroes Next Door

However you spent lockdown, there is a good chance you discovered a new lens through which to observe you patch. Siblings Hilde Hinton and Samuel Johnson OAM published Heroes Next Door during COVID; the timing itself is a coincidence, but the result is an inspired curation of golden moments and...
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Hilde Hinton
Samuel Johnson
Jacinta Parsons