Highlights from Digital Writers’ Festival 2017

When books become obsolete, where then will we record our stories? The Digital Writers’ Festival is a response to that question, encouraging innovation amongst writers of today by demonstrating how stories are fluid and persistent and how they have the ability to transcend the medium they were created in.

The Digital Writers’ Festival is an online-first festival, which means you will be able to experience the entirety of the festival anywhere at all with a WiFi connection! Unique in the world of festivals, the DWF understands and harnesses the unprecedented power of technology that allows people to connect with anyone from all around the globe instantly.

The festival aims to nurture the storytellers of the future, connect writers from around Australia, and support those who ordinarily would experience barriers to accessing such festivals. These include writers and audiences that are regionally-based or are living with a disability.

“I grew up between rural Australia (Alice Springs) and Footscray in Melbourne’s Western suburbs, and there are points in my writing practice that have felt very isolating,” shared artistic director Izzy Roberts-Orr. “Community is one of the strongest possible modes I’ve found to ensure that you keep working, and keep innovating.”

“Access to professional development, community and connection should be for everyone, wherever you are, and the Digital Writers’ Festival is here to help facilitate that,” Izzy further commented.

As a project of the Emerging Writers’ Festival, the Digital Writers’ Festival is geared towards emerging and establishing writers. The festival will consist of events, activities and discussions either live-streamed or pre-recorded that both provide a larger platform for up-and-coming writers to share their work and support aspiring writers to improve their craft.

“The selection of artists presenting at the Digital Writers’ Festival shows a genuine commitment to diversity in literature,” Shirley Le of the DWF event ‘West Meets West’ informed Meld. “Audiences will be able to hear stories that will not only challenge stereotypes but provide complex and profound representations of culture, gender and experiences.”

“I am especially excited to see so many women of colour telling their stories on this year’s program,” Shirley said.

Also from ‘West Meets West’, Sumudu Samarawickrama and Khalid Warsame both agree how there is an “ethos of openness” woven through the program of the Digital Writers’ Festival, and that the “conversations that DWF sparks are interesting, inclusive, and absolutely vital” respectively.

Some of the festival’s key events include looking into ‘The Future of Storytelling’ with the emergence of technology, discovering the best of the West through back and forth live-readings with ‘West Meets West’, and exploring how digital spaces can foster communication and connection for Indigenous artists in ‘Decolonising Online Spaces’.

And for the first time since its birth four years ago, this year the Festival will also feature a handful of live events held in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Brisbane where audiences will have the opportunity to attend in person. Never fear though! They will still be live-streamed online for everyone else.

There will also be some exciting festival-long projects running, including your chance to win $1000 from the ‘Microfiction Challenge’ presented by Swinburne University, receiving daily ‘Missives from the Future’, and participating in the massive DWF Book Club.

So if you are an aspiring writer, or if you are curious about the novel world that is created when the digital realm fuses with modern literature, be sure to have your WiFi turned on between October 24 to November 3!

For now though, pop along to the Digital Writers’ Festival website to explore the exciting range of events on offer and to purchase tickets for a handful of them.

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