Last year's Melbourne Writers Festival opened with a talk by Miles Franklin-winning novelist Kim Scott. This year things will be very different.
American musician, singer-songwriter and existentialist self-help guide Andrew WK will set the festival on its course under new artistic director Marieke Hardy, who says the program will expand "our concept of the way words are traditionally interrogated at a literary festival". Andrew WK will deliver a toast to survival, joy, resilience and existence.
Other names featuring in an early announcement of some international guests at Hardy's first festival include the acclaimed American journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of Between the World and Me, the Black Panther comics, and most recently We Were Eight Years in Power; David Neiwert, author of Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump; Ed Husain, author of The Islamist, a memoir of his time involved with radical Islamism, and The House of Islam: A Global History; Marwa al-Sabouni, the Syrian architect and author of The Battle for Home; and American young-adult writer Juno Dawson, whose work explores gender, sexuality and mental health.
Previously announced names include New Yorker writers Ronan Farrow and Emily Nussbaum.
The full program will be launched on July 17 and feature in The Age on July 21. The box office opens on July 20 and the festival runs August 24-September 2.
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‘Extended run’ of heat set to last all week
The heat that has plagued Australia’s south and west is set to linger. But when the mercury does finally drop, it looks like rain will replace the warmth – at least in the country’s south east.
Both Perth and Melbourne have both been solidly in heatwaves.
On Sunday, Perth recorded an extraordinary six days in a row surpassing 40C. That’s a heat feat not seen since a string of scorching days in Adelaide in 2009.
Some blessed relief from the unbearable heat in Perth is due for the coming days – it’s now just going to be moderately baking. But another 40C day is expected soon enough.
Melbourne hit 32.6C on Sunday following a 32.3C high on Saturday. The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has said the city is set for an “extended run” of heat this week.
Most of Victoria and Tasmania will be in low intensity heatwave week with highs in Melbourne of 34C on multiple days.
But the monsoon is getting stronger in the country’s north and that’s sending rain towards the south and east as the week progresses.
Sky News Weather meteorologist Rob Sharpe said a low pressure system forming around northern Australia could deliver 100mm or more of rain over the Top End and had the potential to form into a cyclone.
“Tropical moisture is well and truly in the mix and is aiding the heavy falls we’ve been seeing in many parts of the country.
“That wet weather is generally edging slightly eastwards. So there’s potential for south eastern Australia to see a lot of rainfall towards the back end of the week, with heavy falls a threat,” he said.
But that’s not for a few days yet. Up until at least Thursday, Melbourne should be dry with 33-34C maximums most days and nights only dipping down to 21C or so.
The BOM has warned it will be humid and there is the chance of storms.
Temperatures could come down from Thursday with the possibility of some substantial rain leading into the weekend.
Across the Bass Strait and Tasmania is in the same heatwave, but the maximums will be far lower than Victoria.
Hobart is looking at a week of temperatures in the mid-twenties and dawn lows of 16C. Just like Victoria, the Apple Isle will be dry until the end of the week when some showers are likely.
Perth set to cool down … finally
On the tail end of the systems that’s caused so much rain in the centre of South Australia, Adelaide has seen some decent falls this weekend with 23mm of rain falling on Saturday and almost another 20mm on Sunday.
There will be some warmth and humidity to begin the week in Adelaide with a high of 29C on Monday rising to 31C by Wednesday before a few days in the mid-twenties. Minimums will be around 20C.
There could be some showers on Tuesday.
Monday could still a storm or two and some rain in areas most affected by the rain this weekend including Whyalla, Port August and Port Lincoln. Floods remain a risk in the mod north, Flinders Ranges, west coast and Eyre and Yorke peninsulas.
There is the possibility of up to 120mm of rain falling into Monday n some areas.
Across the Nullarbor and the low intensity heatwave should move away from Perth on Monday but could continue around the Gascoyne.
Monday to Thursday should see highs of between 31C and 33C in Perth with mid teen minimums. That’s far cooler than the last week. But come Friday and the mercury is set to rise once again with a possibility of 40C on Sunday.
Summery and settled in east
Wet in Darwin to begin the week with 10-35mm falling on Monday and a further 8-20mm on Tuesday. Thunderstorms could crop up most days. Warm with highs of 31-33C this week and 25C lows.
The east coast should be relatively settled and summery. This week will see a run of 30C plus days in Brisbane with 31C the norm. Overnight, it should dip down to 20C. Some showers are possible on Wednesday.
A possible shower or two in Sydney on Monday but nothing too heavy. The rest of the week is looking dry.
Maximum temperatures on the Harbour City of 26C on Monday rising to 28C on Wednesday and then as much as 30C on Friday. Lows overnight of around 19C.
Dry in Canberra with highs of 27-29C but potentially up to 31C on Friday. Temperatures should fall to the mid-teens after dark.
So, we guess this means Beyonce and Jay-Z are OK then
The first couple of pop music took the world by surprise by dropping their first album together last..
The first couple of pop music took the world by surprise by dropping their first album together last weekend. As you'd expect, it's a statement.
There is arguably no couple better at controlling their own press than Beyonce and Jay-Z. When a video surfaced in 2014 showing Bey's younger sister Solange attacking her brother-in-law in an elevator, rumours of a strained marriage proliferated.
Rather than battle the tabloids, the spouses used the gossip to fuel the creation of two critically beloved, commercially successful records: Beyonce's Lemonade and Jay-Z's 4:44. And, in them, they offered just as many details about their private lives as they chose.
Now the couple have continued their domination of pop music, surprising the world last Saturday by releasing their joint album Everything Is Love, which is something of a sequel to those two solo records. Though they have collaborated for at least 15 years, this marks their first joint album, which they dropped under the name The Carters.
The record is a victory lap from a couple who have mined their relationship for universal truths and then presented them as art. It's a fierce love letter to success, to family, to blackness – but, most of all, to each other.
Lyrically, it primarily focuses on two aspects of the Carters' lives: their marriage and their success. (more…)
Rachel Griffiths: female characters are finally getting real on screen
Almost a year into the #MeToo era, Rachel Griffiths believes the likes of Mystery Road, Wentworth, P..
Almost a year into the #MeToo era, Rachel Griffiths believes the likes of Mystery Road, Wentworth, Picnic at Hanging Rock and Top of the Lake show that female characters are finally coming of age on Australian screens.
In a spirited speech at the launch of a new state government scheme to support more women directors in television, the actor-turned-director said it was exciting to see female characters move beyond "the typical tropes of 'likable, f—able, adorable'" to "more complex depictions of female experience" recently.
While she acknowledged there were male directors who created fresh and compelling women characters, Griffiths said the "male gaze" often reduced them to colouring the characters of their male counterparts.
"[They are created to] make him hot, make him authentic, make him empathetic, make him fatherly, make him conflicted, make him grieve," she said. "In the male gaze, we are so often not the gatekeepers; we're not the ferryman. Sometimes the mentor but usually only ironically, like Judi Dench's M…
"Under-written and under-observed, brought into our sexual awareness precociously and prepubescent in order to accommodate the male libido.
"Often in television we're used by lazy writers and producers who can think of nothing more interesting this week than 'let's have her have sex with X' or 'discover she's a lesbian – for an episode'."
Griffiths, who is about to begin editing the Melbourne Cup drama Ride Like A Girl after finishing the shoot, endorsed Hollywood star Sandra Bullock's recent comment that it was time for women to "stop being polite" about gender equality. (more…)
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