Interview: Festival Director Nikki Anderson talks ahead of the Feminist Writers Festival in Sydney

Next month, some of Australia’s leading feminist writers and thinkers will be heading to Sydney for the Feminist Writers Festival. Held in conjunction with the UTS Centre for Social Justice and Incusion, it will be the first time the festival has been held in Sydney.

Over three days, thirteen sessions, and featuring over forty speakers, the festival will cover a range of topics, including violence against women, media representation, mentoring, race and #metoo. Anne Summers, Anita Heiss, Tracey Spicer and Shirleene Robinson are just a handful of the writers, thinkers and activists who will be in attendance. 

The Feminist Writers Festival was established in 2016 to support and promote feminist writers in Australia. Ahead of the Sydney festival we caught up with Festival Director Nikki Anderson to find out more about next month’s event, the challenges facing feminist writers and the festival’s goals. 

Why is an event like the Feminist Writers Festival so important?

The Feminist Writers Festival came out of a desire to connect some of the amazing feminist writing and reading communities across the country, and two years on we find this connection and community really invigorating. To be able to consolidate existing networks, and connect feminist writers and readers to one another, is something we think can help create change at an individual and societal level.

With so many amazing writers out there, how did you go about selecting the line up?

This was exceedingly tough, and the program did keep growing and growing! Over the past year, a lot of themes kept coming up again and again for us at FWF HQ. Themes such as #metoo and violence against women as well as Indigenous voices and activism. So we started from those concepts and developed wish lists of writers who could share a diversity of voice and experience around those topics across a variety of sessions. We are so pleased that so many wonderful writers, thinkers and speakers want to join us.

Is there any talk or workshop that you’re particularly looking forward to?

An impossibly tough choice! But, I can’t wait to hear from the “Writing and Speaking Indigenous Lives” panel, and “Legacy Books” should be a good chance to get some top reading tips from a bunch of well read feminists.

What do you think is the greatest challenge facing feminist writers?

Finding safe spaces to write, create and publish is challenging for anyone with a voice which goes against the mainstream, and despite many advances, feminist ideas are still too often howled down.

We hope that offering a sense of community, skilling up writers, offering spaces to talk, debate and publish feminist ideas helps fight against this.

What do you hope to achieve through festivals like this?

We hope that we can connect and amplify feminist voices; nurture the next generation of feminist writers – and readers; create and strengthen Australia’s writing and feminist communities, and provide a space for feminist conversation and ideas.

 

The Feminist Writers Festival runs from Thursday November 1st to Saturday November 3rd in Sydney. For more information and to see the full program click HERE. Tickets for the festival can be purchased HERE. You can also keep up to date with future announcements about the festival on Facebook and Twitter. You can also follow all the action via #FWF18

Header Image: Feminist Writers Festival Flickr page

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