The Australia Council is supporting the second Australia & New Zealand Festival of Literature & Arts to enable Australian writers to share their words, ideas and stories with a UK audience.
The four-day festival will again be held at Kings College in London from 28 to 31 May.
Australia Council Director Literature Jill Eddington said the Council was pleased to be able to support the initiative for a second year and to assist Australian writers attend the event.
“Australia has a vibrant literary culture with a strong international reputation for quality contemporary writing and we want the world to know,” Ms Eddington said.
“The aim of this festival is to provide opportunities for Australian and New Zealand writers to engage with international publishers, industry and the public to increase readership of their work.
“This festival will provide a valuable platform for our writers to connect directly with readers and reach new audiencesin the UK and beyond.”
Ms Eddington said the Council had provided funding to the festival as well as to Australian writers to attend, including Kate Grenville, Omar Musa, Melissa Lucashenko and Tony Birch.
Ms Lucashenko will also give a lecture at the British Museum on 22 May called Black, White and Brindle: Aboriginality in the Age of Unreason.
Ms Lucashenko said the festival was important to showcase Aboriginal ideas, art and contemporary issues and to remind UK audiences that Aboriginal people and their arts are a vital part of 21st century Australia.
“We are here, we are still Aboriginal, we are writing, painting, talking, making films, making waves, and not going away anytime soon,” Ms Lucashenko said.
Australia Council Deputy Chair Robyn Archer AO will be on the panel, Inspiring Women Reflect, with journalist and broadcaster Geraldine Doogue AO and UK Imperial War Museums Director-General Diane Lees CBE. They will discuss their career paths and lessons learned.
Adult and children’s author Kate Forsyth attended last year’s festival and said it was important to raise the profile of Australian authors in the UK and elsewhere.
“Literary festivals are a proven way of raising visibility and boosting sales, particularly if they have a large audience which is active on social media,” Ms Forsyth said.
“Literary festivals are also an important way of adding lustre to a writers’ reputation and usually lead to more work – in other festivals or conferences, in schools or libraries, or in smaller venues, such as bookshops and book clubs.
“I therefore think that any initiative which helps put Australian authors firmly on the international stage is very important, particularly in the US and the UK.”
Other Australian writers attending the festival include Peter Carey, Don Watson, Helen Trinca, Jaya Savige, Jessie Blackadder, Kathy Lette and Alicia Sometimes.