Open Letter From The Adelaide Writers' Week Director

Published in Arts  
Laura Kroetsch Laura Kroetsch Image © Shane Reid
Adelaide Writers' Week is a celebration.

It welcomes an extensive group of poets, pedants, historians, novelists, biographers, journalists, feminists and more.

The idea of 'borders' has made its way into the 2017 programme.

Director Laura Kroetsch pens an open letter to the book lovers of Adelaide, about what they might enjoy during the week.

“Dear Adelaide Book Lovers, As the 2017 Writers’ Week programme makes its way out into the world, it feels a bit like putting a message in a bottle, and my main hope is that you like what you find inside. In an effort to ensure you get what you will enjoy, I’m making a few suggestions about what writers and sessions may best suit particular types of readers.

If you’re a fan of historical fiction you are spoiled for choice this year! Among the must-see sessions are Adelaide author Hannah Kent talking to Graeme Macrae Burnet about creating fictional histories. Ian Mcguire will take you to the Arctic on a 19th century whaling expedition and the wonderful Armando Lucas Correa will transport you to Cuba at the start of the Second World War.

A writer I hope you 'discover' this year is Peter Geye, whose novels are set in the wilds of Minnesota and explore the complex relationships between men and nature. Or for something more urban, seek out Nathan Hill and his terrific novel about a man’s troubled relationship with his long lost mother.

Madeleine Thien returns to Writers’ Week with her multi-award-winning novel about Revolutionary China, and Yuri Herrera takes us into the dark heart of the Mexican drug trade. For those interested in the history of the book, must-see writers are Alberto Manguel and Keith Houston. Manguel comes to Adelaide with a history of curiosity and Houston with a history of all the components that make up a book.

Biography lovers should flock to see Julia Baird on Queen Victoria and Paula Byrne on John F Kennedy’s youngest sister, Kick Kennedy. Stephen Dando-Collins brings his fascinating biography of the man behind the war drama 'The Dam Busters' and 'The Great Escape', while the often hilarious David Hunt continues his off-beat history of Australia with 'True Grit'.

For political junkies, we have a stellar line-up of first rate journalists including Mei Fong on China’s one-child policy, Thomas Frank of the failure of the left in the US and Jeff Sparrow reflecting on the life of singer and activist Paul Robeson, as well as Peter Mares exploring the implications of migration in today’s Australia.

The ongoing strife in the Middle East will be a strong theme, with Ben Ehrenreich on the Palestinians living on the West Bank, Janine de Giovanni on Syria and Patrick Cockburn on the rise of Islamic State.

And finally, for the crime lovers we have DCI Banks creator Peter Robinson, along with the hard-boiled talent that is Adrian McKinty and newcomer Ben Sanders. My personal pick is Jock Serong’s 'The Rules of Backyard Cricket' – and that’s saying something, because I don’t know a thing about cricket!

I could go on and on, but ultimately the most sage advice is to simply come and see us in the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden and be surprised.”

- Laura Kroetsch


Adelaide Writers' Week takes place at Pioneer Women's Memorial Garden from 4-9 March.

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