Putting literary audiences first

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Lisa Dempster

In the literary world, we regularly talk about writers, publishing, events and festivals, bookselling, critics and criticism, and the media when we discuss our industry. But where does the reader fit in?

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Image: via www.mwf.com.au

A core focus of my work as Director of Melbourne Writers Festival (MWF) has been bringing readers to the forefront of our thinking, about everything from programming to marketing. It may seem strange to note that MWF is putting its audience first; haven’t audiences always been important? The answer, I think, is both yes and no.

About the author

Lisa Dempster is the Festival Director at Melbourne Writers Festival. Previously she was the Director of Emerging Writers’ Festival (2010 – 2012), and founder of its innovative online programming arm, EWFdigital (now Digital Writers’ Festival).

In 2012 she curated an exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, Future Bookshop, which explored how Australians will be reading, writing and publishing in the future, and undertook an Asialink residency with the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival in Bali. Lisa is a professional writer and editor, and formerly worked as a small press publisher, running indie outfit Vignette Press for five years before selling it in 2011. Lisa has been a lifelong bookworm, and has travelled widely in search of literary and other adventures.