Events, News

Our picks for the 2014 Melbourne Writers Festival

by Marika , August 18, 2014Leave a comment

KYD Drinks @ MWF

We at Kill Your Darlings are getting very excited about the upcoming Melbourne Writers Festival, which begins this Thursday 21 August and runs until Sunday 31 August.

Every year MWF brings together an impressive range of local and international writers, speakers and thinkers to share and discuss literature, writing and ideas. We’ve collected our picks for the best of the fest – the must-see events and writers we’re most looking forward to over the coming weeks. We’ll also be bringing you coverage of MWF events throughout the festival.

We’re holding a special KYD event for our writers, contributors, readers and friends, and we’d love to see you there. Find us at the Festival Club on the last night of MWF, and get yourself warmed up for the closing night party with a few cheeky drinks.

Kill Your Darlings MWF Drinks
Sunday August 31st, 4.30pm
Optic Kitchen + Bar (MWF Festival Club)
Level 1 ACMI, Federation Square

Our Festival Picks

Brigid Mullane, Editor

Chris Hadfield: An Astronaut’s Guide to Life
Chris Hadfield has been to space. That’s pretty cool and would be enough for me to be weak-kneed over this event. But, not only has he been to space, he also sang ‘Space Oddity’ in space, and made a tortilla sandwich in space and (my favourite) squeezed out a washcloth in space. He’s my hero.

What I Learned About Sex From Reading
Alissa Nutting’s book Tampa was a harrowing read and, initially, I was sure that I loathed it. But it’s a book that has stayed with me, and I am interested to hear from the writer behind such a provocative and visceral book. Also, knowing Beth Blanchard’s interviewing skills, and her passion for this book, I think the audience will be getting a real insight into Nutting and her work.

The Rereaders Live Podcast
Our very own pop culture columnist, Steph Van Schilt, will be hitting the stage with Dion Kagan and Sam Twyford-Moore for a live recording of the Rereaders podcast. I am a voracious listener of podcasts and this one is now high in my rotation (along with the KYD podcast, of course!). They’ll be joined by special guest author Willy Vlautin.

Veronica Sullivan, Online Editor

Opening Night Address: Helen Garner
 is the Australian Janet Malcolm, gifted with a gimlet eye and an ability to dissect the flaws and foibles of real lives in all their mess and glory. Her new book, This House of Grief, explores the circumstances and ramifications of the Father’s Day murder of three young boys by their father in 2005. Like her writing, Garner the woman is warm and confidential, but sharp and fierce. She will no doubt bring her usual surgical precision and ruthless honesty to bear on this devastating story and in her MWF opening night address.

Pussy Riot: A True History
For years, erudite and softly-spoken journalist and LGBT activist Masha Gessen has been quietly and tirelessly warning the world of the dangers of Putin’s anti-democratic government. And, whoopsy, we’re just figuring out she’s been right all along! I can’t wait to hear Gessen speaking about her new book Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot, which explores the political and social significance of the mini-revolution sparked by feminist punk-protest group Pussy Riot.

Meaghan Dew, Editorial Assistant

Creativity, Childhood and Reading
Earlier this year I convinced a friend to attend a signing halfway across the world in my place so he could carry a (now signed) copy of A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius safely home to me. So you can imagine how excited I am that Dave Eggers will be attending three different events at MWF this year. If you’re already familiar with his writing (and his work at McSweeney’s) then I’d recommend this session. It seems likely to focus on his work with 826 Valencia, an organisation dedicated to supporting students with their writing skills and getting them excited about the literary arts. He’ll be in conversation with Lachlann Carter, whose 100 Story Building pursues similar goals.

Nostalgiarama: Revisiting Buffy the Vampire Slayer
If like most of us you need to match every paid session with a freebie you can’t go past Buffy. I would say that regardless of the writers involved (did you see the word Buffy in the title?) but with Estelle Tang and Stephanie Van Schilt at the helm it’s sure to be an entertaining, insightful start to the first festival weekend.



Nathan Smith

Letting the Essays Do The Talking: Meghan Daum’s My Misspent Youth

In the introduction to her essay collection My Misspent Youth, Meghan Daum writes that as frank as her essays are, they ‘are not confessions’. The personal essay may have long defined Daum, but she is far from a ‘confessional writer’, a title she has long resisted. Read more »


Ilona Wallace

Between You & Me: The New Yorker’s Mary Norris on publishing, editing and insecurity

Mary Norris begins her chatty grammar guide and memoir, Between You & Me, by chronicling the odd jobs she held before she began working at the New Yorker in 1978. She delivered milk – awkwardly calling ‘Milkwoman!’ when she left bottles at each stop – and crashed the dairy truck. Read more »


Chad Parkhill

On judging the Most Underrated Book Award

The chair of the judging panel for the Most Underrated Book Award shares his observations on the award, what it means to be ‘underrated’, and the current landscape of Australian literary prizes. Read more »

ROSEANNE - On set in New York - 10/16/93 
Sara Gilbert (Darlene) on the ABC Television Network comedy "Roseanne". "Roseanne" is the story of a working class family struggling with life's essential problems.

Rebecca Shaw

Out of the Imaginary Closet: Fictional characters who should have been gay

When you are part of a group that isn’t portrayed in the same way (or only negatively, or not at all) you become desperate for that glimmer of recognition. Here are several characters that I loved as a young person, who became stand-ins for the openly lesbian characters I wanted to see so much. Read more »



Isn’t It Obvious: Queer representation in children’s television

For a non-binary gendered person, characters with diverse sexualities and genders are validating and rewarding. As a child, they could have offered integral touchstones for understanding my own gender, and provided context and validation for the ways in which I could exist in the world. Read more »


Rebecca Varcoe

In defence of professional cheerleading

My name is Rebecca and I’m a 26-year-old woman with a shameful secret, for which I refuse to be ashamed any longer. Today I want to confess my obsession and one true love, the subject of many rants and late-night tweeting frenzies: Cheerleading. American, All-Star Cheerleading. Read more »


James Tierney

Bodily Limits: An interview with Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Dario Argento’s 1977 horror film Suspiria suffered from a critical eclipse and a variety of censored prints, and was largely cherished in its original form by aficionados of the field. A reassessment has been building, something sure to be aided by the forthcoming publication of Alexandra Heller-Nicholas’ perceptive and elegantly written monograph. Read more »

je tu il elle 2

Eloise Ross

Existence as Minimalism: Remembering Chantal Akerman

Images of a young woman, emptying her small flat of furniture, blocking the window and sitting in the dark, still. Sitting on a mattress in a bare room, furiously writing letters with a pencil and watching the snow through the window. Meeting with a past lover and reuniting on-screen. I think about Chantal Akerman’s films more often than I can say. Read more »


Anwen Crawford

Throne Of Blood: Justin Kurzel’s Macbeth

For more than four centuries, we have found versions of ourselves in Shakespeare’s plays precisely because his characters are so human in their flaws and follies. At the same time, the arc of these characters’ stories unfolds somewhere above and beyond us, in the realm of grand tragedy or grand comedy, or both. Read more »


Matilda Dixon-Smith

Family Matters: Please Like Me and the Aussie TV family

In a recent episode of Josh Thomas’s Please Like Me, the bouncy titles run over three little scenarios: Josh cooks dinner for his mate Tom and his boyfriend Arnold; his Mum cooks for her new housemate Hannah; and his Dad cooks for his wife, Mae. The three of them stir, sip wine and dance daggily around their kitchens in a neat metaphor for this season’s fantastic, cohesive new trajectory. Read more »



Isn’t It Obvious: Queer representation in children’s television

For a non-binary gendered person, characters with diverse sexualities and genders are validating and rewarding. As a child, they could have offered integral touchstones for understanding my own gender, and provided context and validation for the ways in which I could exist in the world. Read more »


Alexis Drevikovsky

Have You Ever Felt Like This: Going Round the Twist again

Working from home one day, I took my lunchbreak away from my laptop and flicked idly through the TV channels, hoping for a midday movie with Reese Witherspoon or, even better, an old episode of Cheers. What I found was beyond my wildest dreams. I excitedly texted my mate Alison: Round the Twist is on ABC3! Read more »


Katie Williams

The More Things Change: Choice and consequence in Life is Strange

You can either be a benevolent hero or a monster, but few games deal with the multitudes contained by actual people. And what does it matter, anyway? There’s no such thing as regret when it comes to in-game decision-making – not when you can so easily restart the game to see what outcome will result from choosing Option B instead. Read more »

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Katie Williams

Silicon Valley Fashion Week?: Fashion, technology, and wearability

Last week saw the inaugural Silicon Valley Fashion Week? (yes, with a question mark) unfold in San Francisco. The show promised ‘drones, robots, and mad inventions’, and tickets sold out swiftly; attendees were clearly eager to see more inventive clothing in this heartland of nerds. Read more »

AnimalCrossing copy

Katie Williams

Digging For Meaning in Utopia: Storytelling in Animal Crossing

Animal Crossing is a series of games in which – as my partner once remarked incredulously – ‘nothing ever happens.’ In its latest incarnation, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, you become the unwitting mayor of a town populated by anthropomorphic, bipedal animals. Read more »

Tom Conroy and Colin Friels in Mortido. Photo credit: Shane Reid

Jane Howard

A Shining Nightmare: Mortido‘s Sydney

Sydney is a city of shine and reflective surfaces. The glint of the harbour follows through to city high-rises clad in polished glass, bouncing off the wide windows of the mansions hugging the undulating land before it gives way to the impossibly deep and wide water. But this beauty that can betray the darkness of the city and its people. Read more »


Angela Meyer

Outrageous Fortune: Seeing Hamlet as a Cumberbitch

Jazz swells, hushing the audience, and the solid black gate of the theatre curtain opens. It reveals the lounging figure of Hamlet, playing a record, sniffing his father’s old jumper. But what I see first is not Hamlet: it is Benedict Cumberbatch. Read more »

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Jane Howard

Great Aspirations: In the shadow of Patrick White

The text of The Aspirations of Daise Morrow is lifted directly from Patrick White’s short story ‘Down at the Dump’. It’s a wonderful thing to hear White’s judicious use of language; to understand the eyes through which he saw Australia; and to see an entire world of his creation brought to life in the theatre. Read more »