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A weekend characterised by fiesty discussion - Gary Dunne



Thursday 4 November 2021

07:00 pm - 08:00 pm


A night of memoir, poetry, activism and pure passion, our Opening Night brings together prominent queer Australians to acknowledge and celebrate writing and experience. We look forward to you joining us virtually for our first ever opening night - of many more to come.

Featuring: Courtney Act, Benjamin Law, Kate Lilley & Alex Greenwich MP



Thursday 4 November 2021

08:30 pm - 09:30 pm


This panel will try to dig a little deeper in understanding the aesthetics, writing and humour of camp. Especially now with the mainstreaming of camp, has true camp been lost, and if so, can it be reclaimed? Even worse, is queer camp being censored as more vanilla variants become prominent?

Moderator: Tim Spencer

Panellists: Michael Sun, Jes Layton, Patrick Lenton & Lewis Treston



Friday 5 November 2021

10:00 am - 11:00 am


Known from the start of his career as “sweet master Shakespeare”, the famous playwright had an early reputation for writing about love and desire more than about anything else. Elizabethan University students slept with his poems under their pillows, whilst he wrote plays with plots that featured characters like Antonio the pirate, abandoned by the man that he loves. Shakespeare should definitely be thought of as a writer who generated a thousand queer narratives. Huw will guide you through some of these stories in a talk that will give you a fresh and decidedly queer perspective on Shakespeare and his writing.

Speaker: Dr Huw Griffiths

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Friday 5 November 2021

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Notions concerning gender have become some of the most important literary themes of the early 21st century. But how exactly do gender concepts play into literature? This panel seeks to explore writing about the trans experience, including who exactly gets to write these stories and the stories for trans audiences compared to trans experiences for cis gendered readers. What does it mean to write personal experience vs simply being the writer? What does it look like to write about trans and non-binary characters without the tragedy? What comes next?

Moderator: Axel Nathaniel-Rose

Panellists: Cadance Bell, Jo Bragg, Sam Elkin & Mika Benesh

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Friday 5 November 2021

05:30 pm - 06:30 pm


What is queer writing? This panel will explore the tension in being a writer who is queer versus a writer who is involved in queer writing - do writers who are queer enjoy the label or are they uncomfortable with it? Does it limit opportunities? Can non-queer writers write queer characters, if we want more representation? Should we free queer writers from this representation? 

Moderator: Benjamin Law

Panellists: Mark Mariano,Joshua Badge, Laura McPhee-Browne & Jesse Oliver

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Friday 5 November 2021

7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


This panel will explore what young audiences want from queer stories in an industry that appears fixated on trauma / coming out, and rarely spotlights what comes after. Does the current young adult fiction landscape reflect its audience? In such a fast-growing area of literature, how are young adult fiction writers going about creating work that young queer readers want?

Moderator: Will Kostakis

Panellists: Gary Lonesborough, Michael Earp, Alice Boyle, Alison Evans



Friday 5 November 2021

08:30 pm - 09:30 pm


Queer coding stems from the Hays Code developed in the 1930s, a standard that prohibited the portrayal of “perverse” subjects, including homosexuality. Characters were developed who had the hallmarks of a queer person but were not ever overtly referred to. This was particularly prominent in science fiction and fantasy, where queer people were portrayed as villains and monsters. This panel seeks to explore science fiction, fantasy and horror through the lens 21st century lens - where there are queer characters all around us. Does queer coding still exist? Where does this leave queer subtext? How can queer characters be given authentic representation and still be more than simply the queer character?

Moderator: Adrik Kemp

Panellists: Flick Martin, Andi C. Buchanan, Rem Wigmore & J-L Heylen



Saturday 6 November 2021

10:00 am - 11:00 am


This panel seeks to explore the challenges in writing about the body, understanding the body narrative and the Curse of the Ambassador. What happens when the body becomes a mental narrative phenomenon and do we fear exposure to the part that we’re most conscious about? What bodies are currently included in current literature and what bodies need greater representation?

Moderator: Ally Garrett

Panellists: Kaya Wilson, Emma Barnes, Jennifer Mills & Charlotte Charleston 

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Saturday 6 November 2021

11:30 am - 12:30 pm


Being in Sydney, where culture and politics are beginning to operate in a progressive and inclusive manner, it is easy to think that all Australians are onboard with the shifts in perspective. This panel seeks to explore the prevalence of homophobia in small town Australia, the gaps that need to be filled between metropolitan and regional areas for the LGBTQIA+ community and their resilience and the right to belong. 

Moderator: Michael Burge

Panellists: Shayne De Groot, Peter Mitchell, Cal More & Josh Langley



Saturday 6 November 2021

01:00 pm - 02:00 pm


This panel seeks to explore whether this concept of decolonising narratives is rooted in the colonial experience only and how geographies affect such narratives. What is it in the emotional, historical and social sense? Are there tensions in the contemporary first-world queer experience and decolonising the predominantly white narrative?

Moderator: Hayden Moon

Panellists: Ellen Van Neerven, Priyanka Bromhead, Gok-Lim Finch & James Elazzi

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Saturday 6 November 2021

2:30 pm - 3:30 pm


Living through a pandemic has generated many conversations about resilience, however, queer writers have needed to harness this quality, long before COVID-19. This panel seeks to explore how writers can continue to create work and be creative during difficult times. Artistic work, including writing, is informed by vulnerability. Is this exploitative, or simply an occupational hazard? How do writers begin to set boundaries in a world that constantly demands more? And how to they do so, while still telling the stories that are imperative for the queer community to learn and thrive?

Moderator: Nevo Zisin

Panellists: Beau Newham, Rosie Bogumil, Roz Bellamy & Shruti Krishna Sareen

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Saturday 6 November 2021

04:00 pm - 05:00 pm


In a culture obsessed with binaries, this panel seeks to explore that which exists outside of those realms; bisexuality. Often ostracised by both the queer community and heterosexual community, those who identify as bisexual feel invisible, not here nor there. Does queer literature hinder or help bisexual visibility? How do we integrate bisexual characters into writing? And can we do this without sexualising them?

Moderator: Krissy Kneen

Panellists: Anna Kochetkova, Emily James, Margaret Thanos & Angela Meyer



Saturday 6 November 2021

05:30 pm - 06:30 pm


The modern, first-world queer experience is very different to what is used to be. We have brought together a panel of treasured writers and journalists to speak about their experiences of being queer, chronicling and expressing themselves through the decades. This panel will explore how writing about the queer experience has changed over time, and how has it shaped them as writers?

Moderator: Chris Tse

Panellists: Stephen House, Barbarella Karpinski, Liz Breslin & Jesse Jones

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Saturday 6 November 2021

07:00 pm - 08:00 pm


With the rise of lesbian TikTok and the vast number of lesbian meme accounts on Instagram, these digital spaces appear to have provided a safe space for queer women to express their identities. Lesbians have seldom had the platform to tell their own story in their own words - what impact does this have on lesbian visibility and positive representation of lesbian lives? Has social media succeeded where more traditional platforms have failed?

Moderator: Joanna Lamb

Panellists: Rebecca Jessen, Laura McPhee-Browne, Sophia Davidson Gluyas & Rima Martens



04-06 November 2021

Throughout the festival


We are thrilled to feature 12 poets across the festival. The recordings will be available via our social media and through our events. You will view readings from Kate Lilley, Dylan Barrett, Hester Rook, Raynen Bajette Amos, Dion Fibishenko, Jesse Oliver, Margaret Thanos, Michael Louis Kennedy, Elisabeth Hansen, Angelita Biscotti, Maddie Godfrey and Quentin Brown.

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