Black Panther Writer Ta-Nehisi Coates and Party Guru Andrew WK to Join Melbourne Writers Festival 2018

Melbourne Writers Festival (MWF18) today unveiled some of the key international guests that will shape discussions in 2018. 

Heavy metal musician and existentialist self-help guide Andrew WK will launch the Festival on Opening Night. The American singer-songwriter will kick off the festivities with a toast to survival, joy, resilience and pure existence in his only Australian speaking engagement. 

Other newly announced guests include acclaimed author, journalist and Black Panther comic book writer Ta-Nehisi Coates (We Were Eight Years in Power, The Beautiful Struggle, Between the World and Me) whose work ranges across culture and history to reveal the devastating personal and political impact of racism in the US. A national correspondent for The Atlantic, Coates’s best known essays include ‘The Case for Reparations’ and ‘I’m Not Black, I’m Kanye’. At MWF18 he will speak on Writing Yourself into History and making representative art. 

In addition, MWF18 will welcome:

  •  David Neiwart, the American freelance journalist and political commentator who described the growing influence of extreme US conservatism in Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump.
  •  Ed Husain, author of House of Islam, described as a revelatory exploration of the intricacies of Islam and the inner psyche of the Muslim world. In it, Husain recounts his youthful attraction to fundamentalism and the role of moderate Muslims in combating extremism.
  •  Marwa al-Sabouni, the architect who wrote The Battle for Home while living under siege in Syria, talking about how city design can contribute to conflict and the role of architecture in Syria’s peaceful redevelopment. 
  •  Juno Dawson, the award-winning author whose eleven young adult novels and two LGBTI ‘guides to life’ explore sexuality, gender and mental health in writing for younger readers. 

The newly announced guests join Pulitzer Prize–winning journalists for The New Yorker Ronan Farrow (on Power, Abuse and Facing Facts) and television critic Emily Nussbaum (on Culture, Criticism and TV Today), who will appear as part of the MEL&NYC program in partnership with the Wheeler Centre. 

MWF Artistic Director, Marieke Hardy said: “On July 17th we will launch our full program into the world, expanding our concept of the way words are traditionally interrogated at a literary festival. We invite all audiences, new friends and old, to be part of a bigger conversation about writing in all its forms.” 

The festival will run from 24 August to 2 September with a full event listing available on 17 July.

Tickets are on sale 20 July at


Event starts
Friday 24 August, 2018
Event Ends
Sunday 2 September, 2018

Victoria, Melbourne

View website (opens in new window)
Festivals & Programs