When we blog about love
Nayuka Gorrie and Benjamin Law 🙂

Hey cHEwY gum gums

Yes, my blog is a day late (they normally drop on Chewsday), but I wanted to fully take in the whole of Melbourne Writers Festival. I’m at the airport, ready to board a plane to Brisbane (the first time I’m doing the Melb-Bris route). I’m doing the Melbourne/Brisbane Writers Festival double, so this is a nice way to divide up one of the longest weeks of the year.

This is my third time to MWF, and it’s in a new venue! The State Library ended being a perfect place to host a festival. What grabbed me was the shiny program guide…and its theme. When we talk about love. It’s more than a cheesy line. MWF have embraced love and literature, covering everything from love letters to the past/future to how to handle divorce. The venues have been inspired by a love scene, the bedroom oh la la!

I landed on Sunday morning, and began my festival with a fun family day session at the Wheeler Centre. Speaking of what we love, I got my geek on and went to check out the Melbourne Esports Open, where I saw gamers and cosplayers mix together. Nerdy heaven! After a few rounds of watching competitive Overwatch, I walked to the Capitol Theatre to see YA uber-cool author Becky Albertalli, who loves teenage romance and writing kissing scenes.

Thanks to the classic Melbourne weather, the cold blast of wind and rain on Sunday afternoon gave me a chesty cold and I woke up on Monday, feeling a bit gingerly with a raw, sore throat. I was able to give my guts to my session on schools day, where I was interviewed by one of the Inky Judges. Normally I would take over the show and do my usual thing, but I wanted the challenge to handle answers from my hosts, mixing in my routine jokes.

As a surprise bonus, slam poet EZB (Emelie Zoey Baker) invited to be a guest guide for the Junior Eco!Slam finals. Wowee, the future of slam poetry is bright!

Honestly, the love is strong at this festival with a vibrant writing community coming out in force. I got to briefly catch up with Puffin pals like Felice Arena and Andrew Daddo. There a few of us, like Benjamin Law and Will Kostakis, who are doing the Melb/Bris double so it was good to see them before we do it all over again up north (where it’s going to be double the temperature…really).

Photo Bomb!

Yesterday was my day off from the festival, so I got to be a punter and watch other authors do their thang. I briefly met Sasha Beckman, a Thai-born Picture Book author and Mat Larkin who wrote The Orchard Underground. I bought four books….eeek! I got to briefly meet Nayuka Gorrie, one of the cool writers in the latest Growing Up anthology, Growing Up Queer in Australia. Then I went to Yarraville’s The Younger Sun bookshop, where their kids club was reading Don’t Follow Vee. It was a nice afternoon chatting about Vee’s adventures. Then I finished up at Tazio Pizzeria for a Penguin Pizza night, where I caught up with the Melbourne PRH crew.

Pizza was divine btw

Today was the same program as Monday, so I felt more comfortable (I also felt a lot better with bedrest and games haha) and I left MWF on a dazzling high. I was itching to sign the theme of MWF. When we talk about love sounds like a Ed Sheeran or John Legend song, so yeah I did my best to sing it out! Why not? It’s been recorded and up on Twitter somewhere…so yeah, something weird and spontaneous…check!

Always a chance for a crowd shot 🙂

Thanks for the love, Melbourne 🙂

Next stop, Brisbane! This way humanity…


About the author

I'm an author, stand-up comedian and teacher. My books include Thai-riffic!, Con-nerd, Punchlines and The Other Christy. I'm a massive Nintendo fan and love eating burgers. Follow me on Twitter or Instagram @oliverwinfree

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