No one can escape the reality of how strange and difficult these times have been. War, Covid, climate change. And that persistent feeling our digital communications are polarising attitudes to everything from politics to telling a joke. Claustrophobia and oppression can seem the order of the day. Pulling the masks (actual and virtual) from our faces, we might well wonder when it was safe to breathe again versus a need to scream, ‘We just can’t take it anymore!’
Awash in this mental static and bad news, it was art, music and literature that raised our spirits and sustained possibilities. Though the practitioners, of course, have been hammered too. But as surely as sunlight after months of rain, coming together at a community arts event is a tonic, a fine way to refresh our well-being and re-energise our world view. Most especially with an election looming and the future of the country on the line.
So it is that Addi Road Writers’ Festival 2022 returns on Saturday 14 May. Starting at midday and rolling on through till dusk, when we hope to end the day with something very special.
Birthed last year as a literary and storytelling event, we’re nailing it down as an annual festival on the Inner West’s calendar. We’re back bigger and bolder this year, expanding from Gumbramorra Hall into the Greek Theatre, and maximising the use of the green space between those two venues at the centre in Marrickville.
Our theme this year is ‘New Lines’. New lines of conversation and inquiry. New lines in how we might live better, from responding to inequality to answering existential and aesthetic hungers within us, not all of them easy to pin down. New lines, literally, from authors, poets, musicians, journalists and social justice activists. New lines, too, that might separate us from all the bullshit and division we’ve been wading through. New lines in what storytelling can be – and what it can do for us.
By its very nature as a community development organisation, Addi Road has a commitment to social justice, environmental action, and grassroots culture. Over the last two years, more people have come to know of us through our food justice programs: from Addi Road Food Pantry operations through to our bushfire and flood relief work, and the civil society organisations we partnered with across the lockdowns. We supplied hampers to those in need through our Food Relief Hub (AKA Gumbramorra Hall), the one-time arts and performing space we repurposed to feed the community.
When we gather again at Addi Road Writers’ Festival 2022, we will see the palettes of food and hampers moved to one side: the walk that goes with the talk.
Mark Mordue and Sheila Ngoc Pham
Addi Road Writers’ Festival 2022
There will be twelve panels as well as poets, live music, and spoken word artists performing.
Two venues will be operating on site simultaneously: Gumbramorra Hall and the Greek Theatre.
Our address is Addison Road Community Centre, 142 Addison Road, Marrickville.
Transport: We are only 12 minutes walk from Stanmore Railway Station. The 428 Canterbury-Newtown-Martin Place bus route stops immediately outside the centre. There is also disabled access and regular parking available on site.
Koshari Corner, a stall serving delicious vegan Egyptian street-food and coffee, is right beside Gumbramorra Hall.
Our centre is a family-friendly and pet-friendly environment.
Please join us from 12pm, Saturday 14 May.
Entry $20 donation at door. Free for students and unemployed.
Here’s a taste of what will be happening on the day, with news of much more to come over the next week…
Drawing Your Own Bed and Lying In It – ‘Autobiographical comics and the graphic art of self-determination’ with Jin Hien Lau; Meg O’Shea; and Safdar Ahmed.
Escape From the Land of Bad Dreams – ‘How poetry can decompose and remake your inner world’ with Prithvi Varatharajan; Robert Adamson; and James Jiang.
Intimate Latitudes – ‘Indonesian literature in translation’ with Norman Erikson Pasaribu; Tiffany Tsao; and Belinda Lopez.
Inside the Confession Machine – ‘Memoir writing in the age of identity politics’ with Eda Gunaydin: Miro Bilborough: and Sheila Ngoc Pham.
The Changing Man – ‘In search of male voices in books today’ with Tom Patterson; Jack Ellis; Luke Johnson; and Luke Carman.
We also welcome Uncle Wes Marne, an Indigenous storyteller and Bigambul Elder, celebrating his 100th birthday and the release of his poetry book, Through Old Eyes.
And other poets, artists and musicians including Ethan Bell, Felicity Plunkett, DC Cross and Locust Jones.
Full program with details of more panels and performances will be available soon at our website: www.addiroad.org.au