Melbourne is set to become the literary capital of the world during the 11-day Melbourne Writers Festival, kicking off today. With 350 writers at over 300 events, there's something for every type of reader. From talks by Booker Prize-winning authors, to a literary bicycle tour, here are the top 10 events of Melbourne Writers Festival (that you can still get tickets to!). Buy a ticket pack to save on multiple events, and follow along on social media with the hashtag #MWF14.
Hannah Kent: In Conversation
Bursting onto the scene with Burial Rites, Hannah Kent's 2013 debut novel started an international bidding war. Melbourne's literary darling will discuss her career – she's also the editor of literary journal Kill Your Darlings – and how moving to Iceland as a teen was the impetus for her book.
Friday 22nd August, 4pm | Deakin Edge, $22
Ride: Pedal-Powered Essay
Who said you had to sit still to talk about books? In the Pedal-Powered Essay, author Greg Foyster gets ticket-holders on their bicycles. Pedal around town as he talks all things bikes – including his book Changing Gears, on how he rode from Queensland through Tasmania to Victoria.
Sunday 24th August, 1pm | Fed Square box office, $40
An Audience with Salman Rushdie
Salman Rushdie has seen it all. He's been the winner of the Booker Prize for Midnight's Children; subject of a fatw? (a bounty for his death) by the Supreme Leader of Iran after the publication of The Satanic Verses; and he was knighted by the Queen for his services to literature. Listen and learn from this literary giant.
Friday 29th August, 12.30pm | Sofitel Melbourne on Collins, $130
Part scavenger hunt, part Choose Your Own Adventure, part walking/tram tour: this is Lit Hop. You'll travel all over the CBD and beyond: pub Young and Jackson's, historical building The Mission to Seafarers – and learn about books along the way. There's a spelling bee, Literary Karaoke, and more.
Sunday 31st August, 1pm | Fed Square box office, $22
Women of Influence
Australian heavyweights, Louise Adler and Geraldine Doogue, present at Melbourne Writers Festival's Women of Influence. They'll be discussing the book The Climb: Conversations with Australian Women of Power, which delves in to 14 Australian women's beliefs on the shifting attitudes in the country.
Sunday 24th August, 2.30pm | Deakin Edge, $22
Slavery Inc. with Lydia Cacho
Famous in her home country of Mexico for standing up for human rights, Lydia Cacho is a journalist, activist, author, and all-around badass. Her books have been translated into 15 languages – and her life has been threatened repeatedly as she stands up against sex traffickers and child pornographers. Hear about her fascinating work at two events – the other is Media Makers: Freedom Fighters.
Saturday 30th August, 1pm | Deakin Edge, $22
Have you seen the YouTube sensation 'Northcote (So Hungover)'? (If not, go watch it. We'll wait.) Creator/author/musician Justin Heazlewood – aka The Bedroom Philosopher – discusses his new book, Funemployed, alongside other artists and writers.
Sunday 25th August, 6pm | Deakin Edge, $22
Maria Popova: Brain Pickings
You'll be smarter just by going to this. Maria Popova, founder of Brain Pickings, talks about how she curates the unique combination of ideas. Alongside Esther Anatolitis, she'll discuss what goes into creating one of the unique corners of the web, with hundreds of millions of readers – providing content that engages and transforms.
Thursday 28th August, 8.30pm | Dallas Brooks Centre, $45
If you're going to have a writing festival, you've gotta include the Bard. Melbourne Writers Festival does not disappoint with Shakespeare's Secret – a rollicking night of live readings, music, poetry, songs. It's hosted by Lindy Burns from 774 ABC, and includes the cast from The Bell Shakespeare Company alongside musicians and actors. Other Melbourne luminaries will ensure you never think about Shakespeare the same way again.
Saturday 23rd August, 7pm | Bella Union, $30
Stop checking Facebook on your phone. Put it back in your bag or pocket. Just do it. Instead, take out your Kindle or a book. (You can get books for free from the library, y'know…). Instead of bumping along on a boring commute, you'll be transported to another time or place through the magic of the written word. Check in with #onboardbookclub to see what everyone else is reading.
Daily until Saturday 31st August | On Yarra Trams everywhere, Free
Main image credit: Pinterest