Melbourne Writers Festival: You’re Too Old To Be Young Enough To Be Old

The written word is dead.

Which means, of course, if you want to get with the hip young people, you must cover yourself in its corpse.

We don’t know exactly what it is about the intellectual, cultural and artistic black hole into which we’re slowly fading, but the young people just can’t help but aggressively consume dead things.

So dust off your mixtapes, polish your lps, rub your jeans in samples of Victorian-era mud and ink your quills, for the Melbourne Writers Festival is here and if you don’t know how to load ribbon into a typewriter, you’re screwed.

The theme of this year’s festival is ‘When We Talk About Love’, with sessions that ‘interrogate our love for people, sex, politics and country through conversations, new writing, music and immersive events’.

International guests include Tayari Jones, author of the Women’s Prize–winning novel An American Marriage, Canadian novelist Patrick deWitt, American author, editor and podcast host Daniel Mallory Ortberg, Mexican novelist and journalist Emiliano Monge, genre writers Val McDermid and John Connolly and Indian author and poet Tishani Doshi. They join Sonic Youth co-founder and author of the memoir Girl in a Band (Faber) Kim Gordon, Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt, and Black Lives Matter activist and author DeRay Mckesson.

Other highlights include a load of brilliant musical guests, including Ben Folds, Don Walker, Paul Kelly, Tina Arena and Shayne Carter, the book club series, featuring guests including Brian Nankervis, Judith Lucy and Julian Burnside and a full-day of romance programming, with authors including Clare Connelly, Toni Jordan, Anne Gracie, Melanie Milburne and C S Pacat.

…You’re looking tense, old boy.

Is the sucking mass of disdainful youth somewhat of a threatening image?

Relax. If there’s an upshot to the pop-cultural necrophilia of today’s youth it’s that they somehow know how to source pre-1900s liquor. The green fairy in the bottle they’re affectedly clutching isn’t just the name of a colourant that barely passed FDA regulations.

Just lie and say Kurt Vonnegut once spat on you.

You’ll be flying with them in no time.

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