Brisbane Writers Festival

This book-worshipping festival's 2024 lineup will get you loving literature with Trent Dalton and Michael Connelly.
Sarah Ward
Published on March 21, 2024


If you devoured Boy Swallows Universe when it hit Netflix, then got excited Love Stories coming to the stage — and if you're a big fan of Harry Bosch and Mickey Haller, too — then you'll want to make a date with the 2024 Brisbane Writers Festival. Two of the lineup's biggest names speak volumes about the event this year, with the program adoring and celebrating local talent, and also welcoming in international writers. Prepare to be busy, literature lovers: more than 150 live sessions are on the full bill.

When BWF takes place from Thursday, May 30–Sunday, June 2 at the State Library of Queensland and other venues around Brisbane, Trent Dalton will dive into Lola in the Mirror. As for American author Michael Connelly, he has his crime sagas that started with The Black Echo and The Lincoln Lawyer to discuss — plus 2023's Resurrection Walk, which features both Bosch and Haller.

From there, the usual applies at Brisbane's annual ode to storytelling and publishing: if it involves words, it's probably covered. Among the book-centric buffet, other highlights include keynote addresses by Melissa Lucashenko and Louise Doughty, Prima Facie's Suzie Miller talking about her hit play, Fourth Wing and Iron Flame's Rebecca Yarros taking her first trip Down Under, Naomi Novik chatting about her Scholomance series and Tokyo Vice writer Jake Adelstein digging into his experiences. Or, there's also the Booker Prize-shortlisted Paul Murray, fantasy author Samantha Shannon and The Dictionary People's Sarah Ogilvie — and the fact that Melanie Saward and Lenora Thaker are both guest curators.

Bryan Brown, Kate Ceberano, Ed Le Brocq and Stuart Coupe are on the program as well, each with a new tome to discuss. Julia Baird, Chris Hammer, Daniel Browning, Jackie Huggins, William McInnes, Anna McGahan, Samuel Wagan-Watson, Matthew Condon, Anita Heiss and Hedley Thomas are also flying the flag for Australian, and sometimes Queensland, scribes. Brisbane writers are particularly well-represented, with more than 60 taking part.

If you want to hear Connelly examine his chosen genre with Doughty, Brown, Dann McDorman and Dinuka McKenzie, you're in luck there, too. Historical fiction is in the spotlight via Heather Morris, Mirandi Riwoe, Melissa Ashley and Christine Wells — and Sing Lit Station is bringing Singaporean authors Brisbane's way.

A day celebrating YA fiction, exploring the response to the Matildas over the past year, the intersection of music and books, gothic fiction, short stories, the history of Aussie cinema, supernatural thrills, the murder-mystery genre, how to write about art: they all earn some attention, because that's how jam-packed the lineup is.

Morgan Roberts

Images: Josef Ruckli, Markus Ravik and Morgan Roberts.


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