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Irvine Welsh, Grace Tame and Tim Winton Headline Brisbane Writers Festival's Packed 2023 Lineup

The 'Trainspotting' author returns to the River City as part of a stacked program filled with 150-plus live literary events.
By Sarah Ward
March 30, 2023
By Sarah Ward
March 30, 2023

Feeling a lust for life, literature fans of Brisbane? If you're not already, you might be when this year's Brisbane Writers Festival rolls around. No stranger to visiting the River City for this book-loving fest, Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh headlines BWF's 2023 lineup. He has a new release, The Long Knives, to talk about; however, given that this year marks a whopping three decades since his Scotland-set debut novel hit shelves, the book that then sparked a Ewan McGregor (Obi-Wan Kenobi)-starring cult-hit movie is also getting its own anniversary session.

BWF has plenty more in its catalogue, too, when it unleashes its annual celebration of words and the tales they help tell from Wednesday, May 10–Sunday, May 14 at various venues around Brisbane — and at 150-plus live literary events. The first festival under new Artistic Director Jackie Ryan, this feast for bookworms and literature lovers also spans Booker Prize-winner Shehan Karunatilaka, who emerged victorious in 2022 for The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida. Plus, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow's Gabrielle Zevin will be on hand to explore the New York Times bestseller.

Bianca Holderness

Among local names, Stan Grant, Grace Tame, Tim Winton and Kate Morton all feature. Grant has new tome The Queen Is Dead to chat about, Tame will dive into her memoir The Ninth Life of a Diamond Miner, Winton's TV series Love Letter to Ningaloo is in the spotlight and The Shifting Fog's Morton will explore her latest, Homecoming.

Other highlights from the full lineup span First Nations authors such as Lionel Fogarty, Brooke Blurton, Alexis Wright and Lystra Rose — and a big focus on South Korean authors including Bora Chung, Park Sang Young, Krys Lee and Kim Min Jeong.

Grace Tame by Kishka Jensen

In a deeply Brisbane inclusion, Regurgitator's Ben Ely also has a 30th anniversary to reflect upon — because that's how long it has been since the Brissie band got together, which he'll dive into with writers Tony Wellington and Andrew Stafford.

Elsewhere on the bill, the Blockbuster Crime panel will see Welsh team up with crime-fiction names Tracey Lien, Candice Fox and Garry Disher; Boy Swallows Universe's Trent Dalton will turn his attention to romances; Nat's What I Reckon has a session about being a YouTube hit; and the Literary Death Match, aka a writers' battle royale, returns.

Josef Ruckli

Sessions on democracy, YA, refugee and migrant stories, whodunnits, zines, making the leap from the page to screen, rom-coms, heroes and villains, poetry, Australian gothic, sporting books — they're all on the roster as well, in what's set to be a dazzling five days for word nerds no matter what kind of text you like to devour.

Morgan Roberts

The 2023 Brisbane Writers Festival runs from Wednesday, May 10–Sunday, May 14. To check out the full program and purchase tickets, check out the festival's website.

Images: Bianca Holderness, Josef Ruckli and Morgan Roberts.

Published on March 30, 2023 by Sarah Ward
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