Word For Word National Non-Fiction Festival

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Word For Word National Non-Fiction Festival

Back for its fourth year, Word for Word National Non-Fiction Festival is Australia’s only literary festival to showcase non-fiction literature, writing and ideas. The festival features an array of well-known authors speaking and holding discussions on various topics, ranging from history to health; love and grief; economics and politics; art and food; sport, technology and much more. We chat to director of the festival Maryanne Vagg ahead of the festival.

Hi Maryanne, thanks for chatting! What new things can we expect from this year’s festival?

This year we have added poetry and song-writing to the program and we are featuring some of Australia’s most talented poets and musicians in addition to our usual program of panel discussions, key-note speakers and in conversation sessions.

What can we expect to be some of the highlights?

The Great Debate on the Saturday evening is a real festival highlight and features two teams of very clever and very funny speakers who will engage in lightning fast repartee. Also on the Saturday evening is Word for Word Up Late – an exclusive salon session featuring Rob Snarski and Charles Jenkins, two very talented songwriters who also happen to be wonderful musicians and will play an acoustic set each from 8.30 – 10pm.

What makes the Word for Word festival unique?

The unique factor of Word for Word is that our program focusses primarily on non-fiction writing in all its forms. This year we are looking at the intersection of fiction and non-fiction and where that blurry line may be and that’s is what will make some of the conversations at this year’s event particularly intriguing.

How does it feel knowing that this is the largest national event to showcase non-fiction writing?

We are incredibly proud that this event takes place in Geelong, a clever and creative city and it was our aim in establishing the festival to encourage a culture of big ideas and thinking outside the square and a festival such as Word for Word encourages these conversations at a community level.

What kind of topics can we expect to be discussed at the festival this year?

The program this year covers topics from climate change to racism, politics to sport, history, memoir, indigenous culture and identity, feminism and ethics and that is just the start.

Ideally what do you hope for people to take away from the festival?

Our hope is that our audiences can enjoy the experience of listening to some of Australia’s most interesting and provocative thinkers and writers and that they get the chance to think about and discuss topics that are of interest and consequence.

Why do you think it’s important to learn about non-fiction writing?

In a post-truth world, it is hard to know who and what to believe. By bringing some of the best non-fiction writers from across Australia together in one place for one special weekend, our audiences can hear first-hand the real-life experiences and thought provoking ideas from experts in their fields and meet and hear ‘ordinary’ people who have experienced extraordinary lives. That’s important to celebrate we think.

When & Where: Geelong Library and Heritage Centre, Geelong – November 17 – 19

Tickets for the Word for Word Non-Fiction Festival are now on sale via the website.