Brisbane Writers Festival – 2011

One of my favourite annual Brisbane events is the Brisbane Writers Festival. In 2011 the festival runs from Wednesday 7 until Sunday 11 September with most of the events being held at the State Library of Queensland in the Cultural Precinct in South Brisbane (across the river from the CBD).

You can see the festival program here.

It’s more than just a festival about books, authors and writing. It’s also about ideas. Attend the Brisbane Writers Festival and you’ll be exposed to so many new ideas, I can guarantee that at some stage your brain will feel bigger.

Because you’re in the Cultural Precinct, there’s also the opportunity to have a look at the Gallery of Modern Art, the Queensland Art Gallery and Queensland Museum and Science Centre.


Some of the sessions are ticketed, but many are free. For free events, especially popular authors or topics, make sure you arrive at the venue early.  But don’t worry, it’s all very friendly and well organised. They give out tickets while you’re waiting in line so you know that you’ll have a seat. If you miss out, you can dash to another session.


There’s so much to see at the Brisbane Writers Festival that I often find I don’t have time to eat, so my tip is to pack some quick snacks. If you have a few minutes to spare you can buy drinks and food near the outside venues and there is a cafe on the ground level of the State Library. If it’s very busy, the nearby Gallery of Modern Art has two food outlets and the Queensland Art Gallery also has a cafe.


You can’t take large bags into the State Library venues, but there is a cloakroom on the ground floor.  Have a look at the guidelines here.


For some of the sessions, you might find that you’re part of a live-to-air ABC radio show.  Many of these programs can be later downloaded.


If you’re wondering about what you might hear at the Brisbane Writers Festival, have a listen to the following podcasts from previous festivals.

  • I was surprised at how funny and charming author Jeff Lindsay was – not at all like the serial killer character he created for the Dexter series of books (also made into TV series). You can hear him talking with the ABC’s Richard Fidler and Australian writer M J Hyland from the 2009 Brisbane Writers Festival.
  • Crime writer Val McDermid also spoke with Richard Fidler at last year’s Brisbane Writers Festival.
  • Norman Doidge, author of The Brain That Changes Itself discussed how ‘old dogs CAN learn new tricks’ at the 2010 Brisbane Writers Festival.
  • Susan Maushart convinced her teenagers to give up technology and then wrote a book about it. She’s a very entertaining speaker and you can listen to her on ABC Radio’s Australia Talks.

Visit the Brisbane Writers Festival website for more links to previous talks.

About Dianne McLay

Australian writer, author and photographer. Author of 3 guidebooks: Brisbane's Best Bush, Bay & City Walks -- Best of Brisbane guide book -- Best Village & Coastal Walks of the Sunshine Coast. Photographer for "Building Brisbane's History - the fascinating stories behind the city's most notable buildings and structures" Editor of
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1 Response to Brisbane Writers Festival – 2011

  1. jpmbooks says:

    Just out of the Melbourne Writers Festival – hope to make it to Brisbane’s next year – especially after this great rap!

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