At the very heart of what it means to be human is story. For 57 years Brisbane Writers Festival has celebrated humans who render theirs and the stories of those around them in words.
The art of compelling a reader to sit with a text requires so much more than a mastery of language, though that is key. It is our writers who deeply contemplate our condition and experiences, and connect us to others through marking the page. Queensland has produced some of our country’s most talented authors: Jessica Anderson, Thea Astley, John Birmingham, Nick Earls, Melissa Lucashenko, David Malouf, Andrew McGahan, and Alexis Wright is to name but a few of the great literary voices that have emerged from this state. But in Australia the written word has not always been the primary way of conveying a story. Well before ink and paper entered the fray, Australia's traditional custodians were yarning, weaving, painting, singing and dancing the stories of this land. So many of these stories have been lost with the languages that carried them. But not all. And here in Maiwar, Yuggera and Turrbal land, the stories endure and evolve.
We need stories to connect to one another, to understand perspectives and experiences that are not our own and to adapt to the world as it changes around us. It is our ability to evolve that is humanity’s strength. At this year’s Festival you will see that reflected. The way we tell and hear stories is changing. But at its heart are people writing down their thoughts, knowledge and imaginings. We live in challenging times and face big issues, in our inner and outer worlds. Climate. Gender. Race. Digital. There are many movements and forces that are reshaping our world at a rapid pace. Writers, by nature of their work, pause. They contemplate our world,spend hours, days, months, even years with their topics and become experts in what they choose to discover on the page.
This Festival celebrates and champions that work. I look forward to welcoming you this September when we pause, reflect, and take the time to enjoy what writers have to offer the world.
CEO and Artistic Director
Brisbane Writers Festival