The Greenhouse Blog

Don’t Be Lonely at Melbourne International Comedy Festival


Don’t Be Lonely are proud to present seasons by two internationally renowned cult-theatre makers and two rising stars of Australian and New Zealand stand-up returning to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in 2015.

Trygve Wakenshaw, the multi-award winning maker of cult physical comedies Squidboy and Kraken (winner of Best Comedy at Perth Fringe World & Adelaide Festival Fringe nominated for Barry Award at MICF 2014), returns with his latest creation Nautilus.

Where: Tuxedo Cat, 17 Wills Street, Melbourne
When: Mar 25 – Apr 19
How Much: $15 – $25 here

Stuart Bowden’s Before Us is the triumphant follow-up to last year’s cult smash, She Was Probably Not a Robot. Featuring live music, surreal storytelling and a mad physicality, Before Us is as moving as it is funny, and features ‘Gorgeous notes of melancholia’ ★★★★ (Scotsman).

Where: Tuxedo Cat, 17 Wills Street, Melbourne
When: Mar 30 – Apr 5
How Much: $15 – $22 here

Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall, a rising star of Melbourne’s independent stand-up scene, is back with Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall and his Amazing Disappearing Enthusiasm, ‘Delightfully quirky stand-up that offers treats for every audience’ (Chortle).

Where: Forum Theatre, 154 Flinders St, Melbourne
When: Mar 26 - Apr 19
How Much: $15 – $20 here

New Zealand ‘Uber comedy whizkid.’ (Theatreview) and creator of cult festival favourite FanFiction, Heidi O’Loughlin, brings her show A Woman Talking to Melbourne. This is an hour of oddball stand-up featuring stowaways, unsung heroes and a woman talking.

Where: Tuxedo Cat, 17 Wills Street, Melbourne
When: Mar 27 – Apr 5
How Much: $15 – $20 here


We have three double passes to give away for each of these Don’t Be Lonely shows! Simply email with the subject ‘Don’t Be Lonely EWF’ and your name, the show you would like to attend and your contact details in the body of the email.

Digital Writers’ Festival 2015: A wrap



The second Digital Writers’ Festival — the EWF’s digital baby! — ran from 11–21 February this year. Festival director Connor Tomas O’Brien shares his highlights.


Around this time last year, we were breathing gigantic IRL sighs of relief over at the Emerging Writers’ Festival: the first Digital Writers’ Festival had just wrapped, and, with the exception of a few requisite video-chatty glitches, had provided a space for dozens of incredible digitally-mediated video chat conversations that were unlike any we’d seen at writers’ festivals before.

One of the themes of the first year of the DWF was enabling ‘impossible or improbable communication’. Through the potent (albeit still notoriously finicky) combo of a webcam, wireless broadband connection, Twitter account, and a tablet or PC, the DWF put a broad range of internationally-based artists face-to-face with one another, and in front of an invisible at-home audience, transcending tyrannies of distance and barriers to accessibility. As is the case with most writers’ festivals, of course, the events themselves were most often simply excuses to bring interesting people together and enjoy the fruits of wide-ranging, wonderfully discursive discussions. All that was different, fundamentally, was that we selected artists who would never be able to, for whatever reason, be in the same physical place at the same time.

Still, there is no doubt that the videochat format can be truly odd, if you run with it – and in 2015, the bumpy strangeness of the format was well and truly embraced. In 20 Minute Cities: Edinburgh, one of the first events of the Festival, we met Scottish writers Viccy Adams and Jemma Neville in Looking Glass Books, nestled in the middle of the city’s literary quarter. The pair sipped their tea and chatted about their city’s literary heritage before heading out the door, down Middle Meadow Walk in the footsteps of Muriel Spark’s Miss Jean Brodie, past Greyfriars Bobby, and toward The Elephant House, a point of pilgrimage for fans of the Boy Wizard.

Throughout the DWF, emerging writers armed with smartphones and mobile data connections led us on a range of short excursions: through the Iowa Writers’ Workshop’s Dey House (20 Minute Cities: Iowa), running into Pulitzer prizewinner Paul Harding (apparently entirely unaware of his involvement in the exercise); to the spot in New Zealand’s Dunedin where a bankrupted Mark Twain once praised the city in hope of a pay cheque (20 Minute Cities: Dunedin); to the path from London to Norwich that William Kempe Morris danced across centuries earlier (20 Minute Cities: Norwich); to a late-night bookstore in Reykjavik, where audience members across the planet were regaled by an intimate late night Icelandic-English poetry reading (20 Minute Cities: Reykjavik).

The Digital Dinner Parties event, similarly, was based on a desire to exploit another quirk of the video chat format: the ability to be in the same kind of space as a partner, while being somewhere else entirely. On the second Friday evening of the Festival, after setting their devices down on their kitchen benchtops, food writers Kylie Maslen and Rebecca Slater took to discussing food culture while audience members cooked along with the pair, tweeting and Instagramming their progress.

Bedroom Recordings — an event featuring songwriters Brendan Maclean and Will Cuming (LANKS) discussing their craft — had a similarly intimate feel to it, with the musicians performing (and dissecting) acoustic renditions of their work from their living rooms. Audiofiction Experiments, a Sunday evening live collaboration between writer Justin Wolfers and sound designer James Brown, took this kind of video chat performance to a new height of strangeness.

There is something inherently (though almost inexplicably) cosy about video chats — as writers face their webcams and begin spilling their secrets, it’s difficult not to feel as though they’re really staring out at you… especially so when events are running live. In any format, Presenting The Stella Prize Longlistwould have been incredible — nine of the year’s most esteemed and incredible women writers, reading snippets from their longlisted works. But there was something particularly delightful in being able to watch, say, Maxine Beneba Clarke delivering her story ‘Big Islan’ in her gentle, lilting patois, in a unique environment in which very little — beyond a screen and some distance — stood between reader and performer.

Events in which artists directly engaged with how we read and write online were especially popular at the DWF this year. How to Argue Better, featuring opinionated editors from The Saturday Paper, the Guardian’s Comment Is Free and The Lifted Brow, predictably generated a robust discussion on Twitter, as our culture of think-pieces and hot-take churnalism was variously dismantled, denounced, and defended. In Blogging as a Feminist Issue, the relationship between intellectual snobbery, gender and blogging was interrogated, with a panel of incredible female writers taking the unceasing Jonathan Franzen – Jennifer Weiner feud as grist for a broad discussion on how discrediting new media platforms can function as a means of stigmatising dissent.

As with the first DWF, there was a palpable sense this year that, as each event concluded and artists slowly stepped away from their webcams, the discussions generated throughout the festival would continue. At a traditional writers’ festival, audience members and artists part ways as events conclude. With the Digital Writers’ Festival, there is much less that sense of separation – the panels might end, but the tweets keep flowing.


You can find all free DWF 2015 events archived on the Digital Writers’ Festival website:

A Q&A with Lou Heinrich | Bali Emerging Writers’ Festival x Melbourne Emerging Writers’ Festival

Now in its third year, our exchange program with the Bali Emerging Writers’ Festival sees two Australian writers go to Bali and two Indonesian writers come to Melbourne for our Festival. There are many lessons to be learnt, relationships to forge and cultural ties to be strengthened. Australian writer, Lou Heinrich (Adelaide) will be travelling to Bali in late-April and we asked her a few questions about her writing and what she’s looking forward to.


Name: Lou Heinrich
Age: 26

What would you say you write about in a broad sense?

I write about women, pop culture and feminism. I’m interested in the deepest parts of what makes us human, and how power asserts itself in individual lives. I’m also a mad book nerd, so love to write about what I’m reading!

What are you most looking forward to in your exchange at the Bali Emerging Writers’ Festival?

I’m excited to meet writers in a different context. This is due to the nature of Australian culture and my own small worldview, but sometimes it feels as if the only important creators are in the West (which I know is a terrible, colonial-esque thing to say, and I also know it’s a lie). So I’m looking forward to getting to know the writers and their work at the festival – especially women writers.

What have you been reading lately?

In the past few months, I’ve been zoning in on Helen Garner’s non-fiction (she signed my copy of This House of Grief at Adelaide Writer’s Week!) I’ve also just finished Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, which is a joyful exploration of writing life, and I’m halfway through Christine Kenneally’s The Invisible History of the Human Race, which has been longlisted for the Stella Prize.

And – this is pretty special – I’ve gotten my hands on an early review copy of Rachel Hill’s The Sex Myth, due for release in August this year. It’s about the sexual expectations of young people, and how they are shaped and controlled by culture. So it’s sexual sociology in layman’s terms. I’ve been following Rachel’s blog for a few years now, so it’s exciting to finally get my teeth into her book!

What have you found thought provoking lately?

My beautiful, creative Nan passed away several weeks ago. And I didn’t fully comprehend it until her funeral, but despite leaving school at 14, she began a legacy of reading and love for words in my family, which contributed to so much of who I am today.

Anyway, the greatest gift she passed on to me was vision to see the beauty within the mundane. The magic of a flock of birds and their merry flutter in the trees above your window. The minute curlicues of an old house’s verandah. And it seems like a cliche, but the fragrance of a flower bursting over the fence of someone’s garden. Even as an old woman (‘Who are you calling old?’ she’d pout, if she were reading this), Nan had the ability to notice beauty.

Anne Lamott says that being reverent of the world, of retaining your sense of wonder and delight, is essential to being a writer. And Annie Dillard wrote about ‘the elusive art of seeing in our every day lives’. The vision to truly see is an important lesson, and so in moments of selfishness, hurry and irritation, and in my observations and wanderings, I do my best to live this out.

What are you looking forward to learning about in Indonesia?

I’d love to learn about feminists and women’s movements. How does the religious culture impact women’s rights? What does feminism look like in this context? Any Indonesian/Balinese feminists and movers and shakers, please get in touch!

What will you be listening to on the plane / in yr hotel room / while walking the streets?

When travelling, I’ll be catching up on podcasts (I love Chat10Looks3, and ReReaders), and listening to dramatic piano music or emotional indie stuff like Holy Holy, because these songs make my feelings seem very important. When I land, I hope to listen to the lives of people so different from my own.

Lou Heinrich is a stone cold bibliophile who writes about pop culture and women. She is the Books Editor at Lip, and has been published in Kill Your Darlings, Spook Mag, and The Big Issue. Every day she falls more in love with stories and with honesty and with life.


BEWF x EWF is supported by the Commonwealth through the Australia-Indonesia Institute of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

A Q&A with Omar Sakr | Bali Emerging Writers’ Festival x Melbourne Emerging Writers’ Festival

Now in its third year, our exchange program with the Bali Emerging Writers’ Festival sees two Australian writers go to Bali and two Indonesian writers come to Melbourne for our Festival. There are many lessons to be learnt, relationships to forge and cultural ties to be strengthened. Australian writer, Omar Sakr (Sydney) will be travelling to Bali in late-April and we asked him a few questions about his writing and what he’s looking forward to.


Name: Omar Jevdat Sakr

What would you say you write about in a broad sense?

This is an impossible question to answer; it implies a constancy I’ve yet to find. Each new work is about something different – in that sense, writing is always an act of discovery. Typically I don’t know what I’m writing about until I’ve finished writing it; it’s like reading in the dark, only to have the light switched on at the end. This is why every writer harps on endlessly about the value of editing, by the way – because without it, we’d only ever have gibberish to show for our efforts. On a practical level, I predominantly write short fiction and poetry, alongside articles and creative non-fiction.

What are you most looking forward to in your exchange at the Bali Emerging Writers’ Festival?

Being surprised. This won’t be difficult as I’ve never been to Indonesia and have no idea what to expect. On a serious note, I’m most looking forward to meeting my Indonesian counterparts, the young writers and poets and artists struggling to be heard in this madcap industry. I want to hear their songs, their voices; I want to know their pain, their joys, their love; I want to find the common ground between us. As any lover of travel knows, the best thing about going to a new country is meeting the people, so that’s what I’m most looking forward to.

What have you been reading lately?

I just finished reading Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness, which is an extraordinary novel I’m still reeling from. I’ve moved on to another of her books, the Dispossessed. I tend to flit from book to book like an addled butterfly, so I’m also making my way through Nabokov’s Lolita, Philip Levine’s beautiful collection of poetry What Work Is, and the Alan Moore comic Swamp Thing.

What have you found thought provoking lately?

I could spend all day answering this question, given my obsession with news, politics and pop culture, but I’ll keep it short: last night, the International Space Station was visible in the night sky above Sydney for six minutes. I stood outside my house in Ashfield with my housemate and a friend, our necks craned upward, fixated on the stars. It took us several minutes to determine which way was north-west (thank you Google Maps, both for destroying our capability to orient ourselves without you, and for orienting us anyway) but once we had, we waited, and it was not in vain.

There, in the sky, a bright dot – indistinguishable from the other stars –  began to arc in the dark. We cried out, and pointed, and cars drove by us ignorant of the man-made space station currently blazing a trail above them with incredible speed. The moon was full, a luminous white, and the three of us sat on the low brick wall outside my house and watched it go. I would say we did so for about three minutes before our phones came out, and pictures and videos were taken, and questions asked about whether the ISS had a Twitter account (it does) and if we should tweet at it (we did).

So to answer the question, I am thinking about the way technology intersects and dominates our lives; I am thinking about space, how far we’ve gone and how far we’ve yet to go; I am thinking about the astronauts in that station, for those six minutes last night at 8.22pm, and what they saw when they looked down as we looked up; I am thinking about my own smallness, my humbling limitations; I am thinking about how unbelievably lucky I am, how thankful I got to share that moment, or indeed any moment, with friends, with the world wide web of us. I imagine I’ll be thinking about all these things for a very long time to come.

What are you looking forward to learning about in Indonesia?

Everything! For a country so close to us, and for an education as broad as mine has been, I know embarrassingly little. I think this can be said about a lot of Australians (although I hope I’m wrong, I hope everyone knows more than me), so I’m very much looking forward to having my ignorance erased, to finding out everything I can about this large and incredibly diverse neighbour of ours. I’m especially interested in learning about their politics, how we influence them and they us (if at all in either respect), and the way in which asylum seekers and refugees are seen on a local level there.

What will you be listening to on the plane / in yr hotel room / while walking the streets?

On the plane, I will be watching movies with the laser-focus of the terrified; I will be doing my very best, that is, to sink so deeply into a fictional reality that I forget where I am at that moment and how very afraid I am.

In my hotel room, I will be listening, as ever, to my inner anxieties telling me what an incredible opportunity this is and not to screw it up; to my iPod drowning it out with a random selection of music; to the sound of the city outside.

While walking on the streets, I will be listening to the everyday music of the people; to the chatter of a language foreign to me, natural to them; to tourists loudly talking in whichever language is theirs, or perhaps some broken other; to the whisper and roar of cars and trucks, horns blaring or not; to the birds. Every city has its own unique soundtrack in which all of these things mix together, and I can’t wait to hear this one.

Omar J. Sakr is an Arab Australian poet whose poetry has appeared in Meanjin, Overland, Cordite Poetry Review, and Carve Magazine. His poetry has also been translated into Arabic and published in Al Arabi newspaper. He is the Fiction Editor for Verity La, and has been shortlisted for the Story Wine Prize as well as the Judith Wright Poetry Prize for New and Emerging Poets.

BEWF x EWF is supported by the Commonwealth through the Australia-Indonesia Institute of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

White Night: Magazine in a Night

White Night 2015 image

We challenged the talented team at The Lifted Brow to make a magazine in a night and, over twelve hours, during White Night Melbourne 2015, they delivered. Editors Alexander Bennetts, Annabel Brady-Brown, and Zoe Dzunko, and designer James Nunn, interacted with White Night audiences to come up with a thirty-two page, twelve hour effort called ‘Red Eye’. And with over 600 submissions across the night, it was a challenge to simply scan and select the best that the audience came up with (let us know if you see yourself in there!).

The end product is a beautiful evocation of just how much you can get done in twelve hours, that something can ultimately be produced in such a time frame. We congratulate and thank the team for giving us such a wonderful experience on the night. This is a talented team of emerging editors who you should keep your eye on!

You can now download the PDF of the magazine here for your reading pleasure (a quick warning that there is some mature content in there and the twelve hours may or may not have included proofreading). We hope you enjoyed White Night 2015 and hope to see you at the Emerging Writers’ Festival 2015!

Victorian Indigenous Literature Officer

We are thrilled to be be participating in the fantastic project for the newly created role of, Victorian Indigenous Literature Officer, working in partnership with the resident organisations of The Wheeler Centre (Australian Poetry, Emerging Writers’ Festival, Express Media, Melbourne Writers Festival, Small Press Network, The Wheeler Centre and Writers Victoria) and First Nations Australia Writers’ Network.

This role will have an impact on ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander artists and writers are engaged within Victoria’s literary programming. Each resident organisation has committed to at least one project with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, writers or audiences within their 2015 calendar of activities which will be developed and delivered in consultation with the Literature Officer. The major deliverable for the Literature Officer will be the first Victorian Indigenous Literary Festival in November/December 2015!

We are so excited to be accepting applications for this role, more details on the role and application details can be found here.

For further information please call Kate Callingham, Emerging Writers’ Festival, 03 90947877.

Applications close 5pm March 17 AEST.

Golden Tickets | Early Bird Tickets – The Writers’ Conference 2015 on sale now

EWF Writers Conference Mark Gambino

Time to save the date for the 2015 Writers’ Conference, which this year runs on Saturday 30 May – Sunday 31 May.

The cornerstone event of the Emerging Writers’ Festival, the two-day Writers’ Conference is programmed to inform and inspire writers of all genres and styles. From novels to poetry, memoir, biography, short stories, criticism, screenwriting, play-writing and everything in between.

Speakers range from the emerging to the established, and offer exciting and varied perspectives on their style or genre. Join the conversation as our writers share the ins and outs of their writing lives, deconstructing and discussing the art of being a writer.

This is a great opportunity to introduce yourself to your fellow writers to make new connections and share knowledge and resources.

Early bird tickets to the Writers’ Conference are currently on sale over here, and they’re only $70 or $55 concession. Golden Tickets, which give you full access to the festival (including this year’s conference, the Pitch, sweet writers’ parties and more) are on sale over here.

Get in quick before we announce this years Conference Ambassadors and tickets sell out!

The full program for this year’s Emerging Writers’ Festival will be launched on April 15 at the Wheeler Centre.

This year’s Emerging Writers’ Festival runs 26 May – June 5 2015.


2015 Festival applications closed

Photo: Alan Weedon

Photo: Alan Weedon

Thank you to all of you who sent in applications for this year’s Festival! We’re having a good time going through all of your submissions and will get back to applicants in the next few weeks. In the meantime, keep an eye on our Digital Writers’ Festival, running until Sunday Feb 22.

The Emerging Writers’ Festival runs 26 May – June 5 2015.

DWF’15 Program Preview

After an incredible first year in 2014, we’re truly excited to be bringing the Digital Writers’ Festival back in 2015

From 11 – 22 February, at, the Emerging Writers’ Festival (EWF) will host the second annual Digital Writers’ Festival (DWF), a dynamic program of 30 events set to challenge your perceptions of literary festivals.

Following the success of 2014’s debut digital festival, the DWF has developed an innovative and exciting twelve-day program of online events, featuring over 60 artists, for audiences everywhere.

The festival livestream’s events or projects that are playful and participatory, transmedia and transcontinental, to an audience armed only with an internet connection. , .

In 2015, the DWF is all about next-level livestreaming. From scripting YouTube videos to story-generation machines, writing Twitter poetry to constructing code, DWF ‘15 will feature an international roster of artists expanding our ideas of digital – and analogue – writing.

With the full program announced in a few short weeks,  we are excited to release a sneak-peek of some of the most anticipated events;

  • Digital Dinner Parties will create a cross-continental dining experience when audiences join food writers to discuss culinary culture over a meal – each from their own kitchens.
  • In our Go Play events, gaming writers and critics will come together to discuss videogame culture from inside the games they’ve written about and produced
  • New Show and Tell events will spotlight the most innovative digital work produced across the past year
  • Web and Flow will provide a space for bloggers and journalists to critically dissect the issues involved in writing for the web in 2015. DWF ‘15 has partnered with theUNESCO Cities of Literature via Melbourne’s new City of Literature office to take audience members on a literary tour of the globe And the Stella Prize will host a series of events celebrating emerging female writers.

EWF 2015 Creative Producer Call Out


                                                                                                                       We are looking for amazing individuals to undertake our unique internship program – our awesome Creative Producers!

As a valued member of the Emerging Writers’ Festival Festival team, you will take ownership of a key festival event, seeing it through from programming to production, and assist in the overall management of the Festival along the way.

As Artshub wrote of the Emerging Writers’ Festival: “If you’re an up-and-coming writer, this is the place to get your foot in the door… as you’ll make invaluable connections within Melbourne’s thriving emerging literary scene.”

We couldn’t agree more and our interns have used the Creative Producer role as an incredible launching pad. Success stories include; Fiona Dunne, Creative Producer at Express Media; Bethanie Blanchard, literary critic and writer for The Guardian; Brigid Mullane, Editor of Kill Your Darlings literary journal.

So, if you’re keen to get hands-on experience in literary event management, and work with a friendly, supportive organisation who will provide you with excellent professional development, download a job pack here.

This is a volunteer position, and would suit an arts management or communications student seeking a university-placement internship.

Applications close 5pm Monday 12 January 2015. The Emerging Writers’ Festival runs May 26 – June 5 2015.

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