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This week Arts Margaret River have made the inevitable but nonetheless devastating decision to cancel this year’s Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival which was scheduled to run from 15-17 May 2020.

In light of current public health advice regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19), and non-essential indoor public gatherings of more than 100 people, there is not a feasible way for the event to proceed given the current situation.

We are immensely proud of this year’s program, for which tickets were released just two weeks ago. While we are deeply saddened that we will not have the opportunity to deliver the festival to our reading & writing community, we must put the health and safety of our patrons, staff and guests above all else.

This is an unprecedented and challenging time for everyone and we recognise that the cancellation of this year’s festival will have a significant impact on the writers who were going to be a part of it, as well as our sponsors, many who are local businesses who so generously lend their support to our not-for-profit event each year.

We encourage our community and audiences to support the authors whose books were to be featured – head to the Margaret River Bookshop to buy them, and please support the local businesses who so generously support us. Treat yourself to some Voyager Estate and Vasse Felix Wines, head out to Cape Lodge for a scrumptious dinner, or to Morries for a yummy cocktail. The list goes on – check out our full list of 2020 Partners on our website. If you have booked accommodation, consider keeping it. Margaret River is still open for businesses and we are surrounded by so much natural beauty to enjoy.

The 2020 festival now provides a wide-ranging reading list featuring some of the country’s most ambitious and successful writers. Please follow our social media pages as we highlight, support and celebrate the work of these writers over the coming months.

Customers who purchased tickets for the 2020 Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival are currently being reimbursed for their tickets via their original payment method.

If you would like to make a tax deductible donation to the festival, you can to do so from our website, or call us on 08 9758 7316 (Mon-Fri, 10am-4pm) and you will receive a receipt as well as our heartfelt thanks. Funds received will help to assist Arts Margaret River to get through this tumultuous period after which we will again bring you engaging, inspiring and accessible arts events such as the Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival.

We are very grateful for the loyalty and understanding of the arts & literature community – and most importantly to the readers who make this event what it is – a fabulous celebration of storytelling and ideas. We wish you well during this time and look forward to seeing you at the festival in 2021.

From the Festival Team & Arts Margaret River 

For further information, please contact Arts Margaret River on 9758 7316 or visit the festival website www.mrrwfestival.com

The State Government is proud to support the Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival as part of its Regional Events Scheme.  

The project is also supported by the Australian Governments regional arts program, the Regional Arts Fund, which gives all Australians better access to opportunities to practice and experience the arts. The Regional Arts Fund is administered in Western Australia by Regional Arts WA.



Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival (MRRWF), presented by Arts Margaret River, is geared up for an inspiring, intriguing and thought-provoking 3-day event from 15-17 May 2020, featuring Los Angeles-based Australian author Matthew Reilly.

The author who has given his readers dragons, hovering cars and ancient wonders, will visit Margaret River to talk about his latest book The Secret Runners of New York, a riveting time travel story centred on rumours of a coming global apocalypse – in sync with this year’s festival theme Future Tense.

The festival’s line up of literary talent also includes Walkley Award winning Australian columnist, author, broadcaster and social commentator Jane Caro who will speak about her latest book Accidental Feminists. Jane Caro will be joined by author and journalist Tracey Spicer AM and Russian-born, Israeli-Australian writer Dr Lee Kofman for a glimpse into the future from a female perspective and the power of the hashtag in creating social change.

Lifelong activist, acclaimed author and former leader of the Australian Greens, Bob Brown will share his inspirations and thoughts as told in Planet Earth, at a breakfast event to be held at Voyager Estate. He will also be taking the stage at the Margaret River HEART with his partner Paul Thomas, to give festival-goers the chance to see the spectacular Australian landscape through the eyes of two of our environment’s greatest activists.

Fellow Tasmanian, Heather Rose, the Australian author of eight novels including The Museum of Modern Love which won the 2017 Stella Prize, will also join the line-up to speak about her latest book Bruny. Bruny is a fictional near-future novel about family, love, loyalty and the new world order and prompts you to ask yourself what you would do to protect the place you love.

Hong Kong-based Australian writer and lawyer Antony Dapiran will share his insights on the Hong Kong riots as told in his latest book City on Fire, and Professor of Artificial Intelligence Toby Walsh will speak about 2062: The World that A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) Made.

Claire G. Coleman who wrote her black&write! fellowship-winning book Terra Nullius while travelling around Australia in a caravan will talk about her second novel The Old Lie which is set in a futuristic fictional world, where Indigenous Australian characters have one desire: to return to their home, to country.

Festival Creative Director Tanya Perdue said the program reflects on the current concerns and aspirations of many Australians with writers set to speak on a range of topics from climate change to consumerism, artificial intelligence, equality and political affairs. “This festival is a fabulously intriguing blend of fiction, fact and fiction based on fact,” she said.

“Literature and the arts has such a huge role to play in the way we look at and tackle the future and I’m thrilled that we have so many fabulous writers coming to the region to bring their books to life,” she said. “Rest assured though, if future-gazing is not your thing we have lots of exciting sessions on everything from the origin of fairy tales to crime fiction, women’s fiction and more.”

“With writers from overseas and across Australia, including top WA and local talents, this year’s program is sure to spark curiosity and ignite debate,” she said. “We look forward to welcoming festival-goers to the newly opened Margaret River HEART as well as holding feature events at much-loved venues across the region including Voyager Estate, Swings Taphouse, Morries, Riversmith Café and more.

Tickets to the 2020 Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival will be available for purchase online from 10am on Tuesday 3 March at www.mrrwfestival.com, by phone 08 9758 7316, or from the Arts Margaret River Box Office, Margaret River Community Centre, Tunbridge Street, Margaret River.

The State Government is proud to support the Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival as part of its Regional Events Scheme.  

The project is also supported by the Australian Governments regional arts program, the Regional Arts Fund, which gives all Australians better access to opportunities to practice and experience the arts. The Regional Arts Fund is administered in Western Australia by Regional Arts WA.




Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival (MRRWF) is pleased to announce the Governor of Western Australia, the Honourable Kim Beazley AC as the new patron of the annual literary festival which is set to take place again from 15-17 May next year.

The Honourable Kim Beazley AC succeeds long-time festival patron Barry House AM who was the President of the Legislative Council before retiring in 2017.

The Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival, which in 2020 will celebrate its twelfth year, is Arts Margaret River’s flagship annual literary event which aims to foster a love of literature, spark debate and ignite conversations amongst its audience of locals and guests from WA, interstate and overseas.

MRRWF Creative Director Tanya Perdue says it is an exciting time for the festival as the profile of the event continues to grow. “Barry House has made an outstanding contribution to the festival and has been with us the whole way, as we’ve changed the focus and direction of the event to appeal to a wider audience of arts and culture enthusiasts,” she said.

“The festival is delighted to officially welcome the Honourable Kim Beazley AC as Patron of the event going forward. We look forward to his contribution in this advocacy role, as he helps the festival to attract larger audiences from Perth and beyond, to experience Margaret River as a destination for literature and the arts.”

As an arts and culture advocate, the Governor said he was honoured to be selected as Patron for the festival, an important event that contributes significantly to the arts scene in regional WA.

“Advocating for the State as a rich and vibrant arts, cultural, educational and tourism destination is one of my priorities as Governor.  I am delighted to support the Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival which makes an important contribution in enabling access to literature and the arts in South West WA,” he said.

“The festival has grown from a grass-roots initiative to one which plays an important role in the promotion of new ideas, debate and discussion and the sharing of Western Australian stories within that.  The cultural, economic and social benefits that flow on from the Festival continue to increase”.

This week, the festival has also unveiled its theme for next year’s event which will be Future Tense, showcasing stories which look at both possible and highly imagined futures through a literary lens to explore and share visions for the future from some of Australia’s most renowned writers, speakers and thinkers. The Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival will be held from 15-17 May 2020 at the Margaret River HEART. To find out more visit www.mrrwfestival.com




Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival (MRRWF) is excited to announce that ARIA Award-winning singer Clare Bowditch will appear in Margaret River on 9 November 2019 as part of a national tour for her new memoir Your Own Kind of Girl.

The event, which is being run as a fundraiser for the 2020 Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival will see Clare Bowditch discuss her new memoir with Margaret River based writer & blogger Constance Hall and perform her music live. The talk and performance will be held at the Margaret HEART, in the newly opened main auditorium.

Clare Bowditch has always had a knack for telling stories and through her music and performing, has touched hundreds of thousands of lives. Your Own Kind of Girl reveals a childhood punctuated by grief, anxiety and compulsion, and tells how these forces shaped Clare’s life for better and for worse. In her book, Clare lays bare her truth in the hope that doing so will inspire anyone who’s ever done battle with their inner critic.

Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival’s Creative Director, Tanya Perdue said the event is touring the country with the likes of Berry Liberman (Byron Bay), Myf Warhurst (Brisbane), Sarah Wilson (Sydney), Yumi Stynes (Sydney), and in Melbourne Dr Susan Carland and Jamila Rizvi.

“To have the supremely talented, funny and honest Clare Bowditch speaking with Constance Hall here in Margaret River is certainly something special,” she said. “With Clare set to perform some of her music as part of the gig, it’s guaranteed to make for a really memorable evening. We’re thrilled that Margaret River is part of the national tour and to have this as an out-of-season event for the festival.”

Ms Perdue said the special event would resonate with adults and older teens and proceeds would go towards the 2020 Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival, which is set to take place from 15-17 May 2020.

Tickets are $15 (adults) or $10 (concession) and are available now from www.mrrwfestival.com, by phone 08 9758 7316 or in person from Arts Margaret River at the Community Centre on Tunbridge Street. Doors open at 7.30pm for an 8pm start. The bar will be open with wine available for purchase and the Margaret River Bookshop will be there with opportunities to buy Your Own Kind of Girl and have it signed by the author herself.




The 2019 Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival has wrapped up after an overwhelmingly popular response to its program of ‘wild, weird and wonderful’ stories.

The 11th annual festival started spectacularly as former broadcaster and radio personality Verity James MC’d the festival launch which was headlined by writer, contrarian, activist and feminist, Professor Germaine Greer. Wadandi Cultural Custodian Iszaac Webb had the audience enthralled – as well as many of the headline guests it seemed – as he welcomed festival guests to Wadandi Boodja.

The festival drew sell-out crowds to most events on Saturday and Sunday, including those of Professor Greer and Australian icon Michael Leunig, with people coming from Perth and other parts of WA to experience the event, as well as a strong cohort of locals.

Festival Creative Director Tanya Perdue said she and Event Manager Michelle Wright enjoyed staging the event and seeing it all come together. “There were fits of laughter from the crowd any time William McInnes took the stage and perhaps more laughter than may have been expected in some of Germaine Greer’s sessions – along with a dose of controversy of course,” Ms Perdue said. “There was admiration for Michael Leunig’s uncanny ability to change the emotion of a character with a single stroke of his pen and tears as local writer Tom de Souza and Dr Gregory Peel Smith from NSW, shared their deeply personal stories and their aspirations for the future.”

‘We have been fortunate to retain local support while also garnering a bigger and better reputation further afield, putting the event firmly on the literary festival circuit. There was a fabulous buzz – and there is already huge anticipation for next year’s festival,” she said.

The festival continues this week as the Young Readers & Writers Program tours authors to schools in the Shire of Augusta Margaret River and the City of Busselton to inspire a love of reading and writing in young people. Children’s authors Cristy Burne and Kylie Howarth will also appear for a free book signing event at the Margaret River Bookshop after school on Wednesday 15th May at 3.30pm – all are welcome.


Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival is proudly presented by Arts Margaret River Inc.

Image credit: Michelle Troop