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An impressive list of Australian writers, including Tim Winton, Helen Garner, Anna Funder and Anita Heiss, will share their words, ideas and stories with audiences in London next week at the inaugural Australia & New Zealand Festival of Literature & Arts.

The four-day festival will be held from 29 May to 1 June at Kings College.

The Australia Council for the Arts is providing support to establish this exciting new initiative and to assist writers attend the event.

The aim of this festival is to provide opportunities for Australian and New Zealand writers to engage with publishers, industry and the public to increase readership of their work.

Australia Council Chief Executive Officer Tony Grybowski said the investment in the festival would provide valuable exposure for Australian writers, attract new audiences and should ultimately increase sales in international markets.

Australia is located in a region that is making some of the world’s most daring and diverse art, Mr Grybowski said.

The Australia Council is committed to increasing the profile of Australian arts through strategic partnerships and by delivering a range of initiatives, which enable artists to present their work overseas and collaborate with other artists internationally.

The Australia Council already offers support to writers to enter the international market through the Frankfurt Book Fair and overseas writers’ festivals.

A festival showcasing Australian writers in London has been discussed for a number of years and the Australia Council is delighted to see this idea realised.

Australia Council Director Literature Jill Eddington said the event had attracted a list of eminent, emerging and new Australian writers, who will represent the exciting Australian contemporary writing scene.

The festival will be opened by Tim Winton, which will be followed by a program packed with panels and events, Ms Eddington said.

I will also be chairing two discussions, including one on lost classics from Australia and New Zealand.

The lost classics discussion is particularly topical at the moment, as several Australian publishers, including Text Publishing, have recently reprinted a number of books that have been out of print for many years.

Carmen Callil, Anita Heiss, Stephen Romei and Stephanie Johnson will be on the panel and they will discuss what makes a classic, who makes that decision and how do we stop them from being lost again?

Griffith Review founding editor Prof Julianne Schultz AM will attend the festival and chair three sessions.

In the global market it is easy for the loudest voices to prevail, so this is a great opportunity to showcase wonderful Australian and New Zealand writers to readers, expats and publishers in one of the great centres for ideas and publishing, Ms Schultz said.

I have no doubt that the freshness, originality and excellence of the writers will stimulate great interest in the unique perspective that has flourished in the southern hemisphere.

For more information on the festival, go to:

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