Text and images are owned or used under licence by RMIT University. Marbled artwork is sourced from Unsplash.com.


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The 2019 Odyssey Literary Festival will commence with an introduction from our MC, Ruby Hillsmith, and a Welcome to Country ceremony performed by an Elder, Traditional Custodian or recognised spokesperson of the Boon Wurrung people.

Location: The Capitol Theatre


Keynote Address by
Ali Cobby Eckermann

Acclaimed Indigenous poet and writer Ali Cobby Eckermann will deliver the keynote address at the 4th annual Odyssey Literary Festival, to be held at the landmark Capitol theatre.  

Eckermann, the recipient of the 2018 Australia Council New Literary Fellowship and the 2017 winner of the prestigious Yale University Windham-Campbell Prize for Poetry, will speak to this year’s festival title, Raze / Rekindle, exploring the themes of endings and beginnings, change and resilience, destruction and renewal. 

Location: The Capitol Theatre

Photo credit: Adrian Cook


Raze: Confronting The End

Raze: Confronting The End will explore what endings mean to writers. Three Melbourne authors will share the ending of one of their pieces and discuss their approach to crafting an ending, their experiences of letting go of a piece into the world, and the place of writing in dire times.

Guests: Rajith Savanadasa, Laura Elizabeth Woollett, Sian Prior and Ilka Tampke (moderator)

Location: The Capitol Theatre


Reads Like Teen Spirit: Writing Readers Through Trying Times

YA writers tackle the hard issues, from mental health and relationships to dystopian worlds. With great writing comes great responsibility, but in a brave new world, what does that responsibility look like? Is it a YA writer’s job to spread hopefulness? Three writers share their thoughts.

Speakers: Alison Evans, Astrid Scholte, Nina Kenwood and Danielle Binks (moderator)

Location: The Capitol Theatre


Sense and Sensitivity: Who's Doing the Diversity?

Are we giving voice to the voiceless, or taking it away? Is sensitivity reading censorship? Or is it a necessary service that helps writers fill in the gaps of the unlived experiences they want to write about?

Sense and Sensitivity is a discussion about ethics, diversity and controversy within the contemporary literary landscape. This panel will give a platform to three sensitivity readers, who will share their experiences of vetting manuscripts for problematic language and stereotypes and air their thoughts about the mixed opinions of their services.

Panel: Bridget Caldwell, Jinghua Qian, Marisa Wikramanayake and Jo Pugh (moderator)

Location: The Capitol Theatre


Rekindle: Igniting Action

Writing about climate, land and power is hard. It can take a writer to unsettling statistics, confronting research and ideological pushback. Can climate stories shift our worldview? Lead us to action? Gather momentum for change? Three writers discuss their approach to climate writing.

Guests include Alice Bishop, Alice RobinsonTyson Yunkaporta and Melissa Cranenburgh (moderator)

Location: The Capitol Theatre


Person or Persons Unknown
featuring Ania Walwicz

Person or Persons Unknown is a free improvisational musical group from Melbourne, based on the core duo of Roman Tucker (piano) and Simon Grounds (tenor sax). Roman is the vocalist, lyricist, organ and theremin player in internationally known rock band Rocket Science. He also writes music for performance and theatre and is the lead musician in Kerensa Diball’s autobiographical work The Kick Inside. Simon is an experimental multi-instrumentalist as well as a recording producer, and led the innovative post-punk electropop group The Shower Scene from Psycho in the 80's and 90's.  He played tenor sax for years in ‘lounge music’ interpreters The Rococopops.

Ania Walwicz is a critically acclaimed poet who received the Victorian Premier’s Award for her collection Boat (1989) and the Alfred Deakin Medal for Horse (2018), with works in over 200 anthologies, numerous recordings, theatre and music performances.

Location: The Capitol Theatre


This Word Must Burn

Not all words are created equal. Words can hurt and all some words do is hurt.

Odyssey gives you the opportunity to get your own back. Visit our symbolic word burner in the foyer, and write down something you need to be destroyed - it can be anything you want, a word, a phrase, or an injurious idea. Then watch it burn for real on our socials the next day.
Get your own back with This Word Must Burn.

Location: The Capitol Foyer


Famous Last Words

Why wait until the last minute for that cool quote you’ve been sitting on?

Odyssey explores the world of post-mortal cool with the finest quips, quotes and put-downs made by those about to die who just couldn’t keep their mouths shut. Our installation will show you some of the best lines around, giving you an idea of what the competition is. We also give you the chance to express your own Famous Last Words via the fine art of competition.

Location: The Capitol Foyer


Visible Ink Launch

Do life’s unceasing rhythms soothe or stress you? What moment, idea, or image are you still stuck on after all this time? Have you ever found yourself caught in an echo chamber, a hall of mirrors, or an unexpected menage a trois?

Join us in the Salon of the Capitol Theatre from 5 to 6.30pm to celebrate the launch of the 31st annual edition of Visible Ink: Again! Again! Again! Come along for food, drinks and to hear readings from some of the incredible writers included in this year’s journal. In true Again! Again! Again! style, we implore you to bring along your doppelgänger, your ex-boyfriend’s dad, or that charming goblin from your recurring childhood nightmares. Drinks will be available for purchase on the night, but a sense of nostalgia for Britney Spears’ Oops…I Did it Again era MUST be brought from home.

Location: The Capitol Salon

Tickets to this event are booking fast


Suspiria Anthology Launch

Breathe and exhale; begin and end. Join final-year students of RMIT's professional writing and editing progam for the launch of their 2019 anthology, Suspiria, at Odyssey's closing night party. The anthology will be available to buy on the night and promises an exhalation of memoir, fiction and poetry.

Location: The Oxford Scholar Hotel

427 Swanston St, Melbourne

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