Heart-warming tales and thrilling page-turners – the Brisbane Writers Festival authors who should be on your radar

Heart-warming tales and thrilling page-turners – the Brisbane Writers Festival authors who should be on your radar

Our city’s seminal literary event celebrating the written word, Brisbane Writers Festival, is returning to State Library of Queensland this year with an exciting hybrid program of more than 100 live and virtual events from May 7–9. Most importantly, this exciting event provides us with a bucket list of authors to discover and books to leaf through. So you know what to add to your bookshelf, we have rounded up a few noteworthy additions authored by literary luminaries who are about to descend on Brisbane for the festival. Here are some reading suggestions that will surely bewitch your brain …

When you want a good laugh …
Being Black ‘n Chicken, & Chips by Matt Okine
A household name who has acting, writing and presenting abilities under his belt, Matt Okine is one of Australia’s favourite funny men. Now, Matt can add author to his jam-packed resume with the release of his book Being Black ‘n Chicken, & Chips, a heart-warming coming-of-age novel that’s based on his 2012 live show. Soon, Matt will be able to add Hollywood icon to his CV, as he’s currently working on a film adaptation of his novel with an Oscar-nominated production team. See, we told you he’s made it big time! Matt will discuss his book at Brisbane Writers Festival on Saturday May 8. Tickets are currently sold out, but you can join the waitlist here.

When you want to reminisce on first love …
The Boy From the Mish by Gary Lonesborough
Yuin writer Gary Lonesborough grew up on the Far South Coast of New South Wales as a massive Kylie Minogue and North Queensland Cowboys fan. An author from the very beginning, Gary continued his creative journey when he moved to Sydney to study at film school. His debut novel The Boy From the Mish is a hilarious and heart-warming queer Indigenous YA novel that’s set in a rural Australian community. You can catch Gary at Love is Love is Love at Brisbane Writer’s Festival on Saturday May 8, where he will join a panel of writing talent who will discuss their stories – from coming of age to coming out. Psst … you can also buy his book when you nab yourself a free ticket! 

When you want to be transported to another world …
Gunk Baby by Jamie Marina Lau
Emerging from Melbourne, Jamie Marina Lau is a multidisciplinary artist and author of Pink Mountain on Locust Island, which was shortlisted for the 2019 Stella Prize. Jamie’s second book, Gunk Baby, which drops on April 28, follows protagonist Leen, who decides to open a healing studio in her local shopping complex. Jamie will be joining Brisbane Writers Festival for the Stranger Things event available online from Friday May 7, where she will join three other authors as they discuss tales of the uncanny and unexpected.

When you want to be kept guessing until the very end …
The Wife and the Widow by Christian White
Set against the backdrop of an eerie island town in the dead of winter, The Wife and the Widow is a mystery told from two perspectives – Kate, a widow who has just learnt about her dead husband’s secret life, and Abby, an island local whose world is turned upside down when she’s forced to confront the evidence that her husband is a murderer. This book is Australian author and screenwriter Christian White’s second novel, whose credits also include co-writing horror film Relic (currently streaming on Stan. Fair warning – this one is creepy!) and upcoming Netflix series Clickbait (which is set to star Zoe Kazan and Adrian Grenier). In this online event available from Friday May 7, Christian will discuss Australian crime fiction set in small towns at the Brisbane Writers Festival Chased by Your Past event.

When you want to learn some fun facts …
Flight Lines by Andrew Darby
Have you heard that bird is the word? Well, nature writer Andrew Darby has and he has written a whole book about them! Flight Lines is a captivating non-fiction read and a well-researched reflection on the wonders of our natural world. Formerly a journalist for The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and AAP, Andrew is a nature writer who focuses on the polar regions and their wildlife. Andrew will attend the Brisbane Writers Festival for the Loss of Species event (available online from Friday May 7) to chat about the beauty of wildlife and our connection to nature.

When you’re after a coming-of-age story for adults …
Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason
Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason is a dazzling novel that has been compared to Sally Rooney’s Normal People. It’s been such a hit that’s it’s also been whispered that the production company behind movies such as 12 Years a Slave, Gone Girl and Bohemian Rhapsody has snapped up the film and TV rights! Meg will discuss how she used sharp wit, dark humour and sadness to create a deeply moving story at her Brisbane Writers Festival event on Sunday May 9.

When you want to read local …
The Emporium of Imagination by Tabitha Bird
Southeast Queensland local Tabitha Bird is a fiction writer who weaves stories of magical realism. The Emporium of Imagination is Tabatha’s second novel (her first, A Lifetime of Impossible Days was the winner of the Courier-Mail People’s Choice Queensland Book of the Year Award) and is an uplifting story that will have you smiling from ear to ear – and maybe shed a few tears too. For Magic and Myth, Tabitha will join an enlightening discussion of how a good fairytale can help us live in the real world at Brisbane Writers Festival on Saturday May 8.

This article was written in partnership with our friends at Brisbane Writers Festival. To peep the entire program and score tickets, head to the BWF website


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