Friday the 18th of July sees the launch of the Melbourne Writer's Festival Program with a free supplement in The Age newspaper. For those who prefer not to buy the paper the full program is online here.
I think the Melbourne Writers Festival has been fairly low key outside of the Arts Community but it can actually be quite rewarding to attend, especially for non professionals.
On offer is a range of activities from Author lectures to literary walks and writing workshops, interactive events and entertainment at the festival club. If you have an interest in books or in any form of writing you may well find something that will stimulate and it's all here in the city. Bookings can be made online or at the Festival box office in Federation Square.
For those with a mild obsession with things foodie, there are a few offerings of that nature, and if you are interested in enjoying some food and wine along with the banter of authors, some of these events may appeal:
Food and Wine There being no finer marriage than food and literature, the festival offers some delectable events.
No Country for Old PMs – An Evening with Max Gillies
Grossi Florentino Restaurant
Event 2596 Monday, August 25 at 7:00PM
Event 2897 Thursday, August 28 at 7:00PM
Australia’s foremost political satirist Max Gillies in a wicked evening of reminiscence of the statesmen, the roosters, and the feather dusters he has portrayed. In a tribute to the writers Don Watson and Guy Rundle who have provided much of his material, Max brings Menzies, Fraser, Whitlam, Hawke, Keating and Howard back to life from their political graveyards in a hilarious dinner show.
Max revisits some of his razor-sharp scripts and totally unmasked, injects a fresh perspective to create a performance that cuts to the funny bone of the body politic. No Country for Old PMs is a must-see for those in need of a laugh!
More than an evening with Max Gillies you will also dine at Grossi Florentino, a Melbourne icon thatinspires, exhilarates and seduces with a 3 course set menu, 3 glasses of wine and coffee. Tickets: $185pp
22 & 23, 29 & 30 August 2008, 5.15pm - 10.30pm
Events 2292 : 2393 : 2992 : 3093
Remember the pleasure of being read to as a child? The magic that was created? Over 4 evenings, some of Australia’s finest actors - Jane Clifton, Paul English, Reg Evans, Frank Gallacher, Julie Nihill, Suzanne Shubart and David Tredinnick will give us dramatic readings from popular Australian and international literature followed by a sublime three-course meal at Bottega Restaurant.
Bottega Restaurant, 74 Bourke Street, Melbourne City
Cost: $130pp, including wine
Modern Greek at The Press Club
Monday 25 August, 7.15pm for a 7.30pm dinner
George Calombaris, Chef of the Year, will speak to each course and the recipes he has chosen from his first book, The Press Club: Modern Greek Cookery. The Press Club was named the Best New Restaurant and George was named the Chef of the Year in the 2008 Age Good Food Guide Awards.
To follow will be fine cheeses selected by Will Studd, as he talks on his latest book Cheese Slices– a comprehensive, richly illustrated guide to cheese which offers a unique glimpse into the skills and traditions behind the world’s best-known varieties.
Matching wines chosen by leading wine writer Max Allen will offset each course. 4 course set-menu including wines.
The Press Club, 72 Flinders St, Melbourne
Cost: $155 per person including wine. No on-the-door bookings.
Bookings: 03 9677 9677
Dietary Requirements: we cater for all dietary requirements upon request. We will confirm this with guests when they make their reservation.
MoVida Bar de Tapas y Vino
Tuesday 26 August 2008, 12.00pm
With his award-winning cookbook based on the menu at MoVida recently released, MoVida: Spanish Culinary Adventures, Frank Camorra shares his passion for Spanish food and its history over a set-menu lunch.
MoVida - Bar de Tapas y Vino, 1 Hosier Lane, Melbourne City
Cost: $45.00pp, includes two glasses of wine
Fragrant Rice at Seamstress
Wedneday 6 August 2008, 12.00pm
Visiting chef and author Janet de Neefe gives an overview of Balinese food and takes you through the menu, plate by plate, explaining the provenance of each dish. A set-price menu based on Janet’s acclaimed Fragrant Rice. Seamstress is Melbourne’s hot newest Asian restaurant which “melds the DIY sensibility of a laneway bar with serious culinary intent.” The Age
Seamstress, 113 Lonsdale St, Melbourne
Cost: $70.00pp, does not include wine
An afternoon of Big Reds
Thursday 28 August 2008, 4.00pm - 5.00pm
Join award-winning wine writer Campbell Mattinson for an afternoon of red wine at Beer Deluxe, Federation Square. Campbell, the author of The Big Red Wine Book, will offer a taste of his expert wine knowledge along with some of Australia’s finest red wines.
Beer Deluxe, Federation Square
Cost: $20/$18 You must be 18+
No food involved here outside of the theme, but it should be a pleasant and informative stroll:
A taste of Melbourne a literary walk
24 & 25 August, 2.00pm - 4.00pm
Work up an appetite on this walking tour of Melbourne’s culinary history. Join Charmaine O’Brien as she retells anecdotes and brings characters to life from the city’s fragrant and mouth-watering past. Beginning with a virtual taste of the pre-European pantry at Birrarung Marr, each era of the city’s development and its contribution to the way we eat now will be explored while you traverse Melbourne’s famous grid.
Along the way you will encounter the spirit and legacy of entrepreneurs, statesmen, confectioners, restaurateurs, chefs, cooks, politicians, butchers, bakers, bohemians, fishmongers, journalists, immigrants and everyday folk. And after all the talk of food and drink, real refreshment – accompanied by a little more story telling – awaits you at the end of our journey at Von House in Crossley Lane.
Venue: Walk, beginning at Birrarung Marr and ending at Von House, Crossley Lane, Melbourne
Speed Book Club Dating
Thursday 28 August 2008, 6.00pm - 8.00pm
Event 2892 at Beer de Luxe
Don’t choke on your coffee; the festival isn’t going into the dating business. But, what we do want to match up are more book club members. We know that there are a lot of people in Melbourne who want to join a book club but don’t know where to start. We are waving a flag and saying “Start here at the festival”.
Come along on Thursday evening, register, and fill out your preferences for when and where you want to meet. And then we’ll introduce you, in a structured way, to a wide-range of other people also wanting to join a book club. At the end of the evening, return your list of list of those with whom you wouldn’t mind talking books and we feed all the data into the MWF computer and hope it doesn’t say ‘no’. The festival match-makes all the new clubs into being and oversees the first meeting to make sure everything is hunky dory.
It couldn’t be easier.
Beer Deluxe, outside in the beer garden, Federation Square
Cost: $10.00pp, includes a drink voucher at the door, with nibbles supplied to start you off!
In the Professional Development section one of my favourite cook book authors Lucy Malouf hosts a session:
Taste, aroma and mouth-feel
Sunday 31 August 2008, 10.00 am - 1.00 pm
Taste and smell are elusive sensations and hard to get into words.
Lucy Malouf and Charmaine O’Brien will help you evoke past and place through reclaiming your memories of food.
Cost: $55 full, $50 concession