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Introducing 2024 Adelaide Writers' Week content

A Message from Louise Adler AM, Director

A storm is blowing from Paradise; it got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. This storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress."

Walter Benjamin wrote the above about one of his most treasured possessions, Paul Klee’s Angelus Novus. A century later, we are still confronted by this paradox – that progress is not a story of continuity, of community, of improvement, or even of unalloyed collective joy. 

Our theme this year is The Past is Not Another Country. Contrary to the L.P. Hartley aperçu that “the past is a foreign country”, the past is very much with us, shaping both our collective experience and our most intimate relationships. Novelists, poets and writers from across the world once again join us to reflect on the lessons of history, make sense of the present moment and imagine a future that just might hold the promise of hope

The issues writers lay bare for us are both universal and specific to this time and place. Explorations of the personal and the private are inescapably also political and public. While poets like Madison Godfrey wrestle with the politics of emotion, post-colonial novelists like Meena Kandasamy probe the problems posed by caste, sex and religion. From the Ancient Rome conjured up by Mary Beard to the simulacrum of humanity in Ted Chiang’s stories, writers pose the fundamental question: what does it mean to be human? 

These perennial questions have no easy answers and perhaps offer little solace. However, the privilege of listening to the best of contemporary writers will surely confirm our shared conviction that reading continues to matter. 

Find out more about some of the writers who will be joining us in 2024 on the Writers' Week page.

Thank you

Thank you to the following people and groups for their support, enthusiasm and contributions: Vice Chancellor Prof Peter Høj, Vice Chancellor Prof Mark Scott, The Literati donor circle and book club, the Special Women who know who they are, Sue Dillon, Richard Denniss, Anna Chang, Maxine McKew, Prof Glyn Davis, Ann Mossop, Chip Rolley, Veronica Sullivan, Jackie Ryan, Alice Marklew, Rebecca Batties, Tara Prowse, Claire Mabey, Roanna Gonsalves, Jessica Alice, Anna Taylor and the talent bank at the ABC.

Adelaide Festival and Adelaide Writers’ Week acknowledge the rights of individuals to hold different and divergent views.  Views held by our writers are not necessarily the views of the organisation. We respect freedom of speech and the respectful exchange of ideas.  We will not tolerate any behaviour that is insulting, against the law, or racist in any form, and we have a zero-tolerance policy regarding racism towards our staff, artists, audiences, and the communities we serve. We will not permit commentary during our festival that is insulting or racist.