What’s on at the 2017 Perth Writers Festival


Ben Rawlence spent four years in Dadaab Refugee Camp which has been in Northern Kenya for 25 years. At the University of WA’s Octagon Theatre on Thursday 25 February, he will talk about his book City of Thorns and open the 2017 Perth Writers Festival.

The PIAF Writers Festival brings over 100 celebrated writers from around the world to UWA in a hugely diverse program of events from Friday 23 Feb to Sunday 25 Feb. This celebration of stories from contemporary writers will inspire, provoke and offer unique insights with big picture stories played out through personal experiences.

Festival program manager Katherine Dorrington says “Whether we want to change areas of our own life or how we think about the world we want to live in, the 2017 Perth Writers Festival that will make you think differently with a weekend of big ideas and engaging debate.”

The program of talks and panel discussions is huge – with international writers, Australian writers and writers of children’s fiction who have been selected by a group of young readers and feature at the Family Day on Sunday.

One writer to look out for is Chinelo Okparanta (pictured) who was born in Nigeria and whose story Under the Udala Tree exposes the horrific treatment of LGBTI people in Nigeria. Her main character explores the connection between sexuality and spirituality as she comes of age during the Nigerian Civil War in the highly religious country which has severe punishments for not conforming.

Chinelo Okparanta will talk at Out of the Ruins (exploring real life moments through fiction) and Dark Mirror (three writers talk about the intersection of fiction and politics) on Friday 24 Feb and Love Language (talking about love in all its forms) on Sunday 26 Feb.

In the closing address, Syrian architect and memoirist Marwa al-Sabouni (The Battle for Home) talks about how architecture can help reconstruct a civil society from carnage after watching her home city of Homs torn apart by war.

Grab a program or go to perthfestival.com.au for all the details. Some sessions are free and some need to be purchased ahead of time.

Lezly Herbert

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