Okay, okay, it’s still only a whisper and a rumour. But Addi Road Writers’ Festival 2022 is coming. Put down Saturday 14 May in your social diary and vote with your presence here in Marrickville for a more interesting and open conversation about literature, art and society. 

We will have poets, graphic novelists, memoirists, translators, novelists, journalists, musicians and other word magicians happening on the day. Talking about their work and performing. 

To put an event of that scale together requires a team – and these two work demons pictured are right at the heart of it: Addi Road Administration and Venues Manager Gurwinder Kaur; and sound mixer and sonic engineer for the day, Ted Rudduck (“Make sure you get the spelling right; no relation to that immigration minister!”).

We spend a few hours looking at the two venues we will be using across the day at the centre in Marrickville. What kind of sound system is needed; how we can ZOOM a writer in from Indonesia without causing stress; talk of also managing a hook up with poets in Belfast; an Aboriginal storyteller by a fire outside who will need a headset mic to work out in the open; a panel with cartoonists who will speak to a slideshow of their work; a small operatic weave built out of improvised voices sampled from the audience on the day. 

And a lot of very talented people in conversation, sharing their processes and their vision at a time when the country will be poised to vote it’s way forward in all manner of ways.

Gurwinder and Ted are two of the hardest workers going. Dawn till dusk – and on to midnight if required. Having them on board and taking care of organisational issues and technical challenges is an honour. What you’re really seeing in the photo is two people deep inside our creative engine room; two people without whom we would not fly. They’re pretty funny too. Always a bonus under the pump!

Behind them Is a painting by Rodney Arujo. You can see an important story in it: bad development swamping the city, crowding communities out of the picture. We all know this ominous feeling of things too big for us and out of control. 

Arts festivals, local gatherings, the solidarity of simply working together pushes back against that disempowerment and claustrophobia. Opening spaces in the mind and spirit; sustaining ground-level identity and grassroots values.

It’s just a few people at a round table planning a festival for writers, performers and social justice activists. Two big hearts helping make the ideas and dreams behind the event physically possible. 

* Addi Road Writers’ Festival 2022 will take place on Saturday 14 May, starting at high noon. Full details and program announcements coming soon. Special thanks to Inner West Council for funding support.